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Which insurance should I get? A handy guide to the insurance you need for your lifestyle

·5-min read

In association with Compare The Market

Investing in an insurance policy can be daunting. Not only because terms and conditions are often dull and time-consuming to read through, but if you don’t understand the wording, you might later regret the purchase. Knowing the basics could help you get a better deal as hasty decisions could cost you dearly down the line.

Take your time, compare and contrast policies before committing and use comparison sites like Compare the Market.

Regardless of what kind of insurance you’re after, there are three things to check every time: price, cover level and whether the policy requires monthly or annual payments.

Things get a little complicated after that so to help you out, we have put together our top tips for four of the most common insurances: car, house, pet and travel. Don’t panic, we’ve got you.

What to think about when buying: car insurance

Consider the vehicle: what make and model is it? How old is the driver? Can you afford an annual plan to save on monthly payments?

Depending on your answers, it could affect the type of policy you need.

Overall however, there are three types of basic vehicle insurance: third party only; third party, fire and theft; and fully comprehensive.

The first type is the minimum cover legally required in the UK but, as an example, doesn’t include payments towards repairs if you’re in an accident. Read up on each one and decide what works best for you.

If you haven’t already bought a car, choose wisely as some models are cheaper to insure. As an example, the Vauxhall Mokka Exclusiv 2WD has an average premium of £366.28 versus the Volkswagen Up! Move Up, which is set at £426.64 according to research by Compare the Market from April-June 2021.

Other factors include the amount of excess you choose to pay (towards any claims you make on the insurance), mileage and no claims discounts.

What to think about when buying: home insurance

There are two types of home insurance available – buildings insurance and contents insurance – and which one you need mostly depends on whether you’re a renter or property owner.

Buildings insurance covers repairs to the structure of the property or permanent fittings and fixtures, such as a broken window, a leak in the roof, if there’s a fire etc. Contents insurance on the other hand refers to what’s inside the house; such as if a robber steals your TV or if the aforementioned fire damages your furniture. You can also get a combined cover, if you prefer.

Landlords usually have buildings insurance in place but it’s not a legal requirement, however it is often compulsory for property owners who require a mortgage – not having this insurance in place could hinder you from getting one. Renters on the other hand don’t need contents insurance, though it’s recommended, especially if you have valuable belongings in the home.

There are ways to reduce costs on home insurance, including adding a level of security (a burglar alarm and high-quality locks), paying annually instead of monthly – which often incurs interest on top – and, as with car insurance, building up the no claims discount.

Depending on the level of protection you’re after, there are also optional add-ons that you can buy, like cover for personal possessions including laptops and mobile phones, accidental damage cover – such as when a house guest spills red wine on your expensive rug – and more.

What to think about when buying: travel insurance

The pandemic has changed the travel insurance industry and many providers are offering Covid-19 cover as a result.

Travel insurance is also perhaps one of the trickiest types to buy because there are so many aspects to consider. Overall however, most will protect you against trip cancellations/delays, stolen or lost baggage, medical expenses and personal liability.

Be thorough before signing on the dotted line, especially with medical expenses and the type of activities you’ll be doing. Extreme sports, as an example, usually requires specialist cover.

Rules also change depending on which country you’re travelling to.

As a general rule, the longer the trip and the more extensive the cover, the more expensive it will be. Providers also take into account pre-existing medical conditions, which can see premiums rise.

What to think about when buying: pet insurance

Pets are part of the family and deserve the best possible protection.

When choosing a policy for your furry friend, take the following factors into consideration: age and existing health, how prone your pet is to illness (some breeds are more likely to have complications) and how much money can you set aside for monthly/annual cover and eventual premiums?

Pet insurances can vary greatly so ask questions and read the documents carefully. As an example, accident only insurance will cover vet bills in an accident but not for illnesses, while so-called lifetime pet insurance is usually more comprehensive.

If your pet is prone to illness and requires multiple vet visits per year, you may need to shop around as many policies have limits on how many claims you can make per year or per condition, or both.

Additionally, the majority don’t cover pre-existing conditions, which is something to take into account if you’re adopting an older pet.

Seeing your pet poorly can be very stressful so avoid adding to this by having the right protection in place from the get-go.

The Good Things hub is a great place to start planning all of your cover. Do your research, so you can rest easy.

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