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This is probably more a piece of advice than a gripe. I learned the hard way that it is really not a good idea to be complacent when it comes to home contents insurance, actually it probably applies to any kind of insurance really. Basically, you should always shop around rather than just renewing your policy every year. You could save yourself quite a bit of money and it's better in you're pocket than in the hands of some insurance company.
I bought some Home Contents Insurance many years ago, with Norwich Union, now Aviva, underwritten by Lloyds TSB, and I remember, quite clearly being told by the sale rep that if I didn't make a claim, I'd be entitled to a no claims bonus by having my premiums reduced. That was the hook that got me to sign up with them. But after several years with them, my premiums have risen steadily instead, with no sign of any discount or a no claims bonus showing up on my annual statement.
Contents insurance premiums likely to rise further...
Recently, I rang up NU to make a claim for an MP3 player that cost me less than £200. I only bought it two months ago but I've dropped it down the loo and the motherboard it was completely useless. I didn't fancy forking out for a replacement so soon after having bought the original. I was entitled to claim under my policy under 'accidental damage' but I would have to pay the £50 excess. I was also told that my premiums were likely to rise further for making this claim. They wouldn't tell me how much they would rise by either. So I was left wondering whether it was worth pursuing this claim at all.
In the end I decided not to make the claim, which is probably what NU wanted me to do. The extra premium hikes and the loss of my 'apparent' no claims bonus (which have never been apparent on my statements in the first place) would probably amount to paying for this damaged item several times over in a fairly short space of time.
What I did decide to do was to ring up to get some new quotes for home contents insurance elsewhere. I went with Direct Line in the end. Not only was the cover a lot better and included items taken out of the home, but my premiums were a third of what I am currently paying with NU. In fact, my monthly premiums with DL with no apparent discount or no claims bonus, are less than the intial monthly premium I paid with NU when I first started with them back in the early 90s. So that just demonstrates just how worthwhile it is to shop around.
The saving I make with DL, in less than a year, will easily cover cost of replacing this item. So it won't feel that it's really costing me anything to replace it. After all, if I hadn't damaged this item and rung NU to enquire about claiming for it in the first place, I would have continued with them not realising that there were much better bargains to be had in the insurance market.
Always shop around for your home contents insurance.