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Finance - Money Matters - Get the best home protection

Your questions answered by Ivan Ahern

Many people consider their home to be their most valuable asset. Whether you are a first time buyer, landlord, tenant or home owner, you should look to renew your home insurance cover with a policy that gives you peace of mind at a price that’s right for you.

With this in mind we’ve pulled together some tips on what to look out for and the ways you can save money without affecting the important types of benefits that home insurance provides.

Buildings versus contents costs
When you are buying a home insurance policy you must place a value on the buildings amount or the contents amount of your home.

The buildings amount is the cost of the physical structure of your home, and under this total, it is important to include outbuildings, sheds and greenhouses. This figure should also reflect the actual cost of rebuilding your property, which may be less than it was several years ago. Therefore it may be worthwhile to review this to reduce your premium.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors provides a free online rebuild cost calculator, which you can use to estimate the cost of a rebuild for your property (https://www.scsi.ie/)

Contents are classed as household goods and personal effects that belong to you (or for which you are legally responsible). They are items that you can take from the house, which are not part of the building structure. It can be useful to think of your contents as the items you own that you would bring with you if you moved house. These need to be insured under the contents amount.

Calculating your contents amount
When calculating the value of the contents of your home we recommend you set aside an hour of your day, grab a pen and notebook and work from the front door into your home. Room by room, taking note of the items contained within each and estimate the cost of replacing them. This will help you to calculate the cost of your contents. Remember to include the items you may have stored in the garden shed, garage or attic.

By doing a checklist, you are more likely to not under-insure your contents. At the same time, be careful not to over-insure these items, as this will only result in you paying a premium beyond your actual requirements. If you are unsure of how much an item would cost to replace, it may be worthwhile to use online shopping sites or catalogues to give you an idea of the cost of particular items.

Accidental damage
Accidental damage to buildings will protect your home against unforeseen occurrences around the home such as smashing a window when playing football with your children or bursting a pipe while drilling a wall to hang some new shelves.
Accidental damage for your contents covers you for misfortunes such as a scratch to your dining room table, as you move furniture about the house, or knocking a glass of red wine over the couch, as you settle down for some Saturday night television. Simply put, accidental damage is damage you cause to your buildings or contents, and having this cover on your policy gives you the peace of mind that you won’t be out of pocket.

What should you ask for when shopping around?
Remember that the policy offering the lowest premium is not always the best. Are you confident that this cheaper policy will cover you when you have to make a claim?

With so many different polices in the market it can be hard to keep track of the benefits and discounts being offered when you’re shopping around for your home insurance. Below is a list of all the main benefits you should look out for the next time you find yourself looking for home insurance.

  • Insurance company/broker
  • Accidental damage
  • Loss of oil
  • Home rescue
  • Freezer contents
  • Fire brigade cover
  • Door locks
  • Alarm discount
  • Smoke alarm discount
  • Christmas gifts
  • Wedding gifts
  • Alternative accommodation
  • Personal money
  • Contents in transit
  • Public liability
  • Unoccupancy period
  • Unspecified all risks cover
  • Policy excess
  • Satellite aerials.

Always ask for ways to save and ensure you are availing of any additional discounts you may be eligible for. For example: if you have had no previous claims or have been claims free within the past three years; if your house has an alarm; or if your house has smoke alarms.

Nurses and midwives can avail of two months free* cover when buying a new home insurance policy with Cornmarket up to June 30, 2014, subject to a minimum premium of €325. For more information, call 01 470 8042.

Ivan Ahern is director at Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd.

*Insurance/offer subject to underwriting criteria, terms and conditions. Two months free insurance in year 1 is based on a 16.7% discount off the normal year 1 Allianz premium and is only available to new customers taking out a new home insurance policy through Cornmarket & underwritten by Allianz. Any applicable discounts are applied at quotation stage, we are unable to issue discounts retrospectively. Allianz plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is an appointed intermediary of Allianz. This information is intended only as a general guide and has no legal standing. Members who have specific questions relating to their personal finances, Superannuation entitlements, etc. are advised to seek professional advice and can contact Cornmarket at (01) 408 4000. Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.

Finance - Money Matters - Get the best home protection


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