The best and worst home insurance providers for customer service 2011
Comparison sites have made it very easy to bag a deal on your home insurance but while a competitive price is important, you need to be able to trust your insurer if you need to make a claim.
MOST TRUSTED: NFU MUTUAL
Despite not making the shortlist last year, NFU Mutual has come out as this year's most trusted home insurance provider.
While some customers praise its comprehensive cover, others point to NFU Mutual's branch network as part of the reason they trust it more than other insurers. It has more than 300 branches throughout the UK, and although policyholders can deal with it by phone or online, many customers like the relationship they build up with staff in the branches.
"You deal with a real person, someone who knows your name," said one customer. "I made a claim on my home insurance and they dealt with it promptly and politely."
BEST HOME INSURANCE PROVIDER FOR SERVICE: NFU MUTUAL
One of the biggest problems with home insurance is getting the right level of cover and while some insurers tackle this by offering a blanket sum to ensure everyone's covered, good customer service can ensure that the right level and type of cover is taken out.
At NFU Mutual, which takes the title of best home insurance provider for service for the third year running, customers rate its service very highly. One customer said: "I'm extremely happy with the service. I have my car insurance with it too and NFU Mutual combines the direct debit and renewal dates to make it easier."
As well as giving its customers personal service through its branch network, it's also praised for dealing with more unusual properties that some insurers avoid. For instance, one customer says they and their neighbour both use NFU Mutual as it's the only insurer that can handle their unusual freehold situation.
BEST HOME INSURANCE PROVIDER FOR CLAIMS: NFU MUTUAL
Weather is a major headache for home insurers with problems such as flooding and last winter's pipe-bursting cold snap pushing up claims and testing an insurer's service. But while some insurers can go into meltdown as claims rise, customers praised the personal attention of this year's winner, NFU Mutual.
"I made a claim and it dealt with it promptly and politely. It makes a real difference when you deal with someone who knows your name," said one policyholder who had to make a claim on their home insurance.
It also has a handy claims contact tool on its website. This gives you the number of the claims department and a list of the details you'll need to start a claim, but also includes numbers for services such as replacement glass to help out in the event of a domestic emergency.
WORST HOME INSURANCE PROVIDER: SANTANDER
Santander's customer service fails to shine in this category too, with customers slating it for the way they were dealt with when they contacted the call centre. One customer summed up their feelings about the company with the simple line, "It let me down".
Permanent and absolute ownership and tenure of a property (residential or commercial) and/or land with freedom to dispose of it at will but with no time limit as to how long the property/land can be held (in perpetuity). Freehold is the opposite of leasehold.