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Home insurance and the effect of design and architecture
Whether your abode is a trendy waterside flat or a cosy suburban barn conversion, your home is something in which you will have invested both money and emotion. So it makes sense to protect that investment with the right home insurance policy.
Shopping around for home insurance is essential to finding the right deal and best cover for your home. Consider using a price comparison site to do the work for you – comparing a large number of home insurance quotes. Gocompare.com compares over 75 home insurance companies in one search.
Investing in Home insurance
Before making a decision about your policy, there are some considerations that are worth bearing in mind:
– Consider purchasing your buildings and contents insurances from different providers. There may be discounts for buying the two products together but equally you could find separate bargains.
– Get wise to what is and what isn’t covered by each policy. Read through the Policy Summary and Terms and Conditions, taking note of any exclusion. Broadly speaking, buildings insurance will typically cover damage to a property’s structure, fixtures and fittings caused by flood, fire, subsidence, theft, storms or malicious damage. Some policies cover outbuildings such as greenhouses, sheds and garages as well as underground pipes, cables, doors and windows. Conversely, contents insurance covers possessions and furniture within the property. A good policy should cover just about everything you would take with you if you were moving house. And if you’re not sure how much your contents are worth, look for a policy with set or unlimited contents cover.
– Consider whether you require any additional extras such as accidental damage cover, liability cover and home emergency cover.
Investing in home insurance could be a lifeline should you need to claim, but it would be even better if you can avoid making a claim at all. Preventative measures can be taken to help avoid damage to your home, potentially lowering your insurance premium in the process.
– Increase security – Approved locks, such as five-lever mortice locks on external doors and key operated locks on windows, can reduce the premium. Professionally installed and serviced burglar alarms can also lower the premium cost. These security devices must all be in use to validate a claim.
– Join your neighbourhood watch scheme. This can result in up to 5% discount on the price you pay.
– Prevent fire – Fire alarms should be installed on every floor.
Design and architectural influences on home insurance
You can also reduce the cost of your insurance premium by considering your home’s design and architecture:
– Type of dwelling
It’s not only the location of your home that has an effect on your home insurance premium. Whilst urban dwellers may pay more for their home insurance than country folk, you may not know that flats, maisonettes and detached houses can be more expensive to insure than terraced and semi-detached houses. For example, for a 45 year old male to insure his 3rd floor London flat, it would cost £407.84*. Alternatively, if he were to insure a semi-detached with the same number of rooms and same contents, it would cost him £280.14*.
– Number of rooms
If you’re looking to extend your home, this could have consequences on your insurance. The more rooms your home has, the more expensive it will be to insure. This is worth considering if you are planning an extension, building a conservatory or want to add an additional room above your garage. Whilst a one bed house may cost £211.44* to insure, a 4 bed house could cost £280.14*.
The use of alternative building materials may be pleasing to the eye, yet they may come at a cost when it comes to insurance. A brick construction may cost £280.14* to insure, whereas a timber construction will set you back £400*. Similarly, roof materials will affect premiums. Tile and slate roofs will cost £280.14* to insure, whilst a glass roof will cost £758.58* and thatching £1131.66*, the latter materials carrying more risk than the former.
Consider the architecture of your garden too. Large trees pose a threat to a property if they are not looked after and maintained. Insurers will require that trees are kept in good condition; whilst they will cover claims for tree damage to your property that occurs from healthy trees, claims resulting from damaged or rotting trees will not be valid. Large trees can also cause root damage such as subsidence in shrinkable clay soils as well as dislodging pipe joints and drains.
*Figures provided by gocompare.com, based on a fictional male, 45, living in SW London with a £500 voluntary excess, clear claims history, security locks and alarm in use. All data correct on 11/01/2011
Architecture in Edinburgh
photograph © Adrian Welch
photograph © Adrian Welch
Fettes Row terraces
photograph : Michael Wolchover
image from Richard Murphy Architects
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