Financial advice with Gráinne McGuinness
Our homes really have become our castles in recent months - even if at times we have identified most with fairytale characters who are trapped in them for what feels like all eternity. But social media and the queues outside DIY and homeware stores suggest we have put this time to good use - many of our homes are now better-decorated (and certainly in my case cleaner) than they have ever been.
After all that good work, now is the time to make sure that your home is insured and that you are getting the best possible protection at the best price.
Experts at Insuremyhouse.ie recently offered several tips for homeowners seeking cheaper premiums on home insurance.
First, secure your home as best you can.
“Most insurers will offer discounts for people with alarms and/or monitored alarm systems,” they say. “If you have one of these be sure to enquire whether any discounts apply. A monitored alarm could reduce premiums by up to 25%.
“While these may have been expensive a few years ago the cost of alarm monitoring has reduced significantly so may be worth looking into.” Experts also suggest check policy ‘add-ons’ – extras like accidental damage are often costly and not always necessary.
There’s little point in specifying valuable items such as iPads and bicycles if you opted for a higher excess, say €500.
Increasing the excesses on your policy will invariably reduce the cost of your premium but at the same time you need to ensure that you don’t end up having to pay out a fortune in the event of a claim.
However, as with so many other aspects of consumer finance, the most important nugget of advice I can offer is to shop around - don’t automatically renew your policy each year. This is one area where it may be worth consulting a broker rather than making multiple calls or getting online quotes yourself There are 15+ home insurers in Ireland and quotes from providers can vary hugely, with prices differentials ranging from anywhere between €100 - €700 on a typical home. That was a recent finding after market analysis undertaken by www.Insuremyhouse.ie.
“We took three typical home insurance cases, researched just how much each provider was quoting for each case and compared this with the optimum quote that we were able to get from the insurers we deal with,” Managing Director Jonathan Hehir explains. “Rather than just get a limited number of quotes, we were able to get quotes from 15 insurers and price differences we saw were staggering”.
In one case of insurance for a buy-to-let property, a particular insurer was charging over €700 more than the cheapest provider on the market. In a separate case of a typical family home, the most expensive premium quoted was three times greater than the least expensive.
“The best value insurer is likely to change each year, so for a homeowner to get the best deal they’d need to be looking at quotes from at least 80 – 90% of insurance providers.” Mr. Hehir believes home insurance is one of those areas where you can pay a lot or a little for the same product.
“It all depends on whether or not you shop the market,” he says. “Now more than ever households throughout the country are feeling financially stretched. The uncertainty of what lies ahead for the country economically is a concern for many and people are looking at every aspect of their spending to see where they can cut costs.
“This is one relatively easy way to save on a key household expense.” One other point for those working from home to remember - home insurance is one the expenses taxpayers can include when claiming tax relief for a portion of the costs incurred by home working. The WFH tax relief isn’t a huge amount, and a flat rate per day working from home would be much simpler for the taxpayer, but it will still be worth claiming what you can at the end of the year.
Deal of the week: No need to queue
Queuing has become part of the shopping experience now but it doesn't always have to be.
If you are working on home improvements or getting the garden summer ready, one option to consider is Woodies new click and collect service.
This free service allows you to shop online from home and have your items ready for collection on visiting the store.
Simply add items to your cart on woodies.ie and from the checkout choose the click and collect option. Enter your payment details on our one-page checkout and place your order.
You will receive an email confirming your order is being processed.
Once placed, your order will be ready within 24 hours subject to store opening times, order volumes and time order is placed. It can be collected from your chosen store. You will receive a second email when the item(s) are ready for collection.
Get full details and use the service at woodies.ie.