How to review your home insurance this January with 2020 vision

Tara McCabe

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Ok, you’re probably tired of all the 2020 vision jokes already, but honestly they’ve been coming for the past five years. And regardless of whether or not you’ve suddenly gained perfect vision in the new year, January is a great time to review your home insurance policy.

Little girl dressed as a superhero bursts through a blue paper wall.

Why review your home insurance policy?

A good question. Why review your home insurance policy when you could just sit back and let it automatically renew itself? Well the answer is money of course. If you haven’t renewed your home insurance policy for a while, then you’re probably due for an overhaul and you want to make sure you don’t get lumped paying an insurance premium that is any more than you have to.

So letting your home insurance policy renew automatically is NOT necessarily a good idea.

How to start reviewing your current home insurance policy

The new year brings with it fresh eyes and the opportunity to reassess the level of cover you’re getting with your insurance. So you might want to start with scrutinising your current insurance plan and what you’re covered for right now.

For a thorough analysis it could even be a good idea to go back to basics and take a look at what you need to insure.

Let’s say you’ve got home and contents insurance. Home insurance refers to the actual physical structure of your home. So this usually covers your roof, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and so forth, you get the picture.

Now, depending on whether or not you’ve done any upgrades since last you reviewed your policy, your premium could go up or down. Or if you’ve got plans to do any upgrades or renovation work in the near future, you might want to call your insurer first and find out how it will affect your premium.

It may seem like a bit of downer if your shiny new kitchen results in a higher premium, but if anything were to happen to that flashy new food prep space, you’ll want to make sure you’re insured properly for its actual worth. Because if anything should happen, the last thing you want is to find out that you’re actually underinsured.

According to research conducted at the end of last year, a large number of Australian homes could be underinsured by as much as 66%. With that in mind, you might even want to consider adding underinsurance to your policy, to give yourself a better level of cover.

You can get a rough idea of what level of cover you need with a home insurance calculator, but it’s always a good idea to consult a professional to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Upgrades that could save you money on your home insurance in 2020

But of course not all renovations will hike up your premium. Here are a few renovations/upgrades that may actually lower the cost of your home insurance:

  • Home security. If you feel that it is necessary and you can front the cost, installing a home security system is one thing you could do to not only protect yourself from burglars, but also lower your home insurance premium. 
  • A roof upgrade. Your posh new roof might not just look good, but if it provides better protection from strong winds and storms than your last daggy one, then your premium might actually go down. That said, your insurer is under no obligation to lower your premium for this reason, especially if you live in an area prone to storms and extreme weather. 
  • Plumbing upgrades. If you’ve recently had or you’re planning to upgrade your plumbing then this may actually reduce your home insurance premium. A plumbing overhaul means less risk of leaks leading to water damage claims, a fact which your insurer may take into account when reviewing your premium.
  • Electrical upgrades. Upgrading your electricals in most cases means making them safer, ergo you should be at less risk of electrical fires. In insurer’s speak that means you’re less likely to claim and there’s a possibility that your premium might go down.

RELATED ARTICLE: The best home insurance in Australia for 2019

What about contents insurance?

If you’re currently paying for contents insurance and you haven’t reviewed it for a while, then there’s always a chance that things have changed. Usually when you choose a level cover for your contents, you start by working out how much you think the contents of your home are worth.

Contents is a pretty loose term but it usually refers to items such as furniture, soft furnishings, white goods, computers, jewellery etc. Although if you have any particularly priceless pieces of artwork or flashy jewellery, you may have to get it insured separately, if you want to make doubly sure that it’s covered.

Factors that can affect the cost of contents insurance include how many rooms there are in your house or flat, whether or not you have any children or teens, how much stuff you have and how swanky your stuff is. For example, if you’ve just acquired a fancy new table that’s worth a lot of money, your premium could go up. Or on the flipside, if you’ve just replaced your designer furniture with more budget-friendly items then your premium could go down.

Could you be getting a better deal?

So you’ve reviewed what you’re paying for, and you’ve just found out that your insurer is going to up your premium come renewal time. There are plenty of reasons why insurers will up your premium, some of which are out of your control, including an increased number of unsavoury characters in your area and more and more extreme weather events nearby.

Claiming in itself could even affect your premium. That’s right, the more you claim, the more likely your insurer is to raise your insurance premium! Regardless of how big or small your claim is, your insurer could choose to raise your premium by about 10% come renewal time, if you’ve claimed a lot in the last 12 months. So next time you have a small claim to make, you might want to think twice; it might be more worth your while to let it go and sweat the small stuff.

But if you’re convinced, with your 2020 vision, that you could be getting a better deal, then now might be the time to start shopping around. You could even begin by taking a look at the winners of the 2019 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Home Insurance^.

For these awards our team of experts compared pricing and cover for 62 different home insurance policies. So whether you’re after the full works, i.e. a policy that covers you for most eventualities or you’re on a tighter budget, it might be worth having a gander at what makes an award-winning policy.

Or if you want to start small, why not scroll down further and review the home and contents insurance deals below.

^ The Mozo Experts Choice Awards are conducted yearly, to highlight products in the Australian marketplace that actually live up to their fancy marketing campaigns. Year on year we have a team of data experts compare hundreds of products to determine which ones really are offering Aussies exceptional quality or exceptional value.

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