Home and car insurance costs fall due to fewer burglaries and anti-fraud measures
Home insurance premiums fell in the first quarter of 2013 thanks to a drop in burglaries, and in spite of the devastation caused by last year's floods.
Research by the AA's Shoparound index found the cost of a buildings insurance premium was down 2.6% over the first three months of this year, contents fell 1.7% and a combined policy fell 1.8%.
However, Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said the downward trend hides regional variations, particularly where homes suffered any of the £1.2 billion worth of damage caused by floods last year.
"Flood-affected homes will have seen big premium increases especially if they have suffered two or three flood claims," he said. "They are also likely to have seen the excess (that is the amount a homeowner must pay towards a claim) for flood claims rise sharply."
Similar research by MoneySupermarket found the cost of home insurance premiums had fallen as the rate of claims for theft has tailed off over the past three years.
Contents premiums dropped 21% from an average of £93.81 in 2010 to £74.20 now, the website said, while combined buildings and contents fell 11% from £173.70 to £155.14.
The research also highlighted the postcodes that have seen the largest fall in theft claims since 2010, with Newport in South Wales topping the chart with the number of claims falling from 7.9 per 1,000 quotes to 4.9 per 1,000 quotes.
Increased risk in the summer
Hannah Jones, a home insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "The analysis highlights an interesting trend in the fact thefts from the home actually increase in summer and autumn before dropping again in winter and spring.
"It is therefore important that people bear this in mind and take adequate measures to reduce the risk of theft during the summer months."
New figures from the insurance industry also show the cost of car insurance premiums fell by more than 1.4% over the same three months.
Douglas said action by the government to bring fraudulent car insurance claims under control is having a positive effect on customers' premiums. "I expect the downward trend to continue, which will be welcome news for consumers," he added.
To make sure you are getting the best deal for you insurance there are number of simple rules to follow.
- Shop around: Hit price comparison websites and weigh up what the different providers can offer you and for what price – rarely is the first premium you see going to be the best. But don't forget that not all insurers share their best deals with comparison sites so it's also worth calling around as well at companies such as Direct Line and Aviva.
- Reject your renewal: Shopping around is not just for your first insurance premium. When it comes to renewing your policy, have a look at what other providers could do for you rather than just accepting the renewal quote your current company offers.
Read Laura Staples' blog: Car insurance: The unfair game of cat and mouse
- Protect your no claims: Both car and home insurers offer discounts for those who have not claimed on their policies. The more years you are claim-free, the bigger your discount will be – remember this when considering claiming on something you could sort out easily and inexpensively yourself.
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.
This type of insurance covers the structure and fabric of your property – the bricks and mortar, not the contents (for which you need contents or home insurance). If you have a mortgage, the lender will insist you have a suitable buildings insurance policy in place. Many lenders offer their own building insurance policies, but you don’t have to buy it from your own lender but you have the option of shopping around. The insurance covers you for the rebuilding costs, not the market value of the property.