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Worst Case Scenario: Will Your Home Buildings Insurance Cover You?

Aug 17, 2007
Nobody likes to consider the ramifications of a worst case scenario, least of all the financial consequence. However, did you know that if a major storm (of the likes we experienced in the UK in the late 1980s) struck the UK today, almost one-half of all homes in the UK would have inadequate home buildings insurance to cover the cost of repairs!

Valuation of your home buildings insurance - is it being done correctly?

Before you consider the value of your home, ask yourself a quick couple of questions:
- what is the principal reason why you have home buildings insurance?
- who assess the value of your home buildings insurance?

In most cases, the answer to the first question is you need to have home buildings insurance because it is a requirement under your mortgage agreement. The answer to your second question is also likely to be your home mortgage provider, because they feel they know the value of your home better than you do. So, what's the problem? Well, the problem is, each year your home mortgage is going down, but hopefully the value of your home is going up. As your insurance is principally to cover your outstanding mortgage, a disparity - between the value of your home and the outstanding mortgage amount - will rapidly arise. Therefore, it is vital that you keep control of valuing your home for home buildings insurance purposes and always ensure that the insurance relates to the actual value of your home, not the outstanding mortgage amount.

Improvements to your home - are they being included?

Likely as not, over time you are going to do some building work to your home. Maybe you'll add an extension. Put in a greenhouse. Add a conservatory. Etc. The question is - are all of these add-ons being included in the additional value they bring to your home, or are you only continuing to insure the main part of the home that was part of the original policy?

Increased costs - have you factored these in?

Nearly every insurance policy comes with an excess amount. Essentially what this means is that you have to pay a threshold amount before you can claim against the insurance company. Fine, let's take an example: say you bought your home in 1980 and set the threshold amount at 500. Would you get more or less in materials and labour today if you were still maintaining an excess sum of 500? Answer, far less and you'd be claiming on your insurance far sooner, which in turn means your premiums are likely to be higher.

As you can see then, home buildings insurance is not as simple as guessing what you think the value of your home is. It takes certain precision and year-on-year upkeep if you want to make sure you'll be sufficiently insured should the unfortunate worst case scenario occur.
About the Author
Joe Kenny writes for the Credit Card Guide, offering views on credit cards in the UK, visit them today for some great 0% balance transfer offers and start clearing credit card debt today.
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