How to get the right home insurance cover
Home insurance protects your home and belongings should the worst happen. Here’s what you need to know about home insurance and getting the right cover.
Do you need home insurance?
Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the same way as car insurance, but it can offer valuable financial protection.
Some mortgage lenders also make it a condition of your mortgage offer to ensure you have appropriate house insurance in place.
What does it cover?
Home insurance protects the value of your property and belongings. A good policy will protect you against:
- Damage to your property, including fire, lightening strikes, wind and storms
- Theft of your belongings
For example, if there was a fire in your home a home insurance policy would pay to repair the damage to your property and replace your damaged belongings.
However, home insurance doesn’t protect you against every eventuality, it won’t usually cover:
- Damage caused by normal wear and tear
- Damage caused by terrorism or war
- Your property if it’s left unoccupied for long periods of time (often 30 days or longer)
You may also need to pay extra for insurance against flood, subsidence and other natural disasters.
Types of home insurance
There are two main types of home insurance cover, these are:
- Buildings cover: this covers the property itself, including the main building, your roof, windows and other permanent fixtures and fittings.
- Contents cover: this covers your belongings, including your furniture, valuables and furnishings like your carpets.
You can choose whether to get a quote for buildings or contents insurance separately or for a combined home insurance policy that covers both.
If you own your property you’ll probably need buildings cover, if you rent then this is something your landlord should have in place.
What extras are worth paying for?
There are lots of extras you can add to your home insurance policy, but each could make your premium more expensive. Extras you could consider include:
- Accidental damage: This adds protection should you accidentally damage something, for example breaking a window or spilling wine on the carpet.
- Bank card cover: This covers unauthorised use of your credit and debit cards, and can also cover your cash and chequebooks too.
- Emergency accommodation: This pays for alternative accommodation for you and your family if your home isn’t safe to stay in, for example after a flood or theft.
- Emergency repair: This will pay for emergency repairs and labour to your home, if for example your pipes were blocked or your roof was badly damaged.
- Fire brigade cover: This will pay for any charges you may incur from the fire brigade.
- New for old contents cover: This is where your insurer replaces any damaged or stolen items with brand new ones, rather than paying you their current value.
What affects the price?
The cost of your home insurance depends on many factors including:
- Where you live: If your home is in a low crime area for example your cover will be cheaper.
- How much your property is worth: The higher the value, the more your cover may cost.
- How much your belongings are worth: The higher the value, the more expensive your cover will be.
- The level of cover you choose: If you add extra cover options like accidental damage or emergency repairs then these will make your cover more expensive.
- The security measures you have: You can sometimes get a discount if you have an alarm or high security locks fitted to your property.
- The age of your property: If your property is very old this can make your cover more costly.
- The excess you choose: This is the amount you have to contribute if you need to make a claim. If you increase the excess, your premium will usually be cheaper, but it’ll be more expensive if you need to claim for something.
Compare quotes with a broker
There are plenty of insurers who offer home insurance in Ireland, but to save time you could use a broker to help you compare quotes. Some home insurance brokers you could try include:
- Chill - they get quotes from 13 leading insurers.
- Insuremyhouse.ie - they compare premiums from up to 20 insurance underwriters.
- Quoteme.ie - they get quotes from 12 Irish home insurers.
To get the best deal, try to use more than one broker. That way, you can be confident you’re not missing out on the cheapest home insurance quote.
Getting the right cover
To get the right cover for the cheapest possible price, follow these three steps:
- Work out what cover you need by considering the value of your home and belongings, and the extras that matter to you.
- Decide what excess you can afford and weigh this up against the cost of the policy. Paying a bit more now could save you money if you had to claim.
- Compare home insurance quotes from several different brokers to find the cheapest deal for your needs.
If you want to save even more money on insuring your home, read our 7 ways to save money on your home insurance which is packed with tips and ideas to protect your home for less.
Never just accept your renewal quote from your existing insurer, because it is likely you will save money by shopping around for cheaper cover.
Home insurance FAQs
Does home insurance cover damage by pets?
Damage caused by pets may not automatically be covered by your standard insurance policy.
It is likely you will need to opt into accidental damage to cover mishaps and damage because it won’t be covered by pet insurance either.
Do I need insurance if I'm renting a property?
If you are renting a property and you want to protect your belongings against theft or damage it’s a good idea to get contents or tenants insurance cover which is designed specifically for renters.
Do I need special cover if I’m a landlord?
Yes you’ll need landlord’s insurance, which covers properties that are going to be rented out to paying tenants.
Do I need to tell my insurer if I rent out a room?
Yes, if you choose to have a lodger you should notify your insurer and they may need to adjust your policy making your cover more expensive.
What does policy excess mean?
A policy or insurance excess is the amount of money you contribute towards the cost of a claim. For example, if your excess is €50, you will pay the first €50 towards the cost of the claim.
If you choose to pay a higher policy excess, your monthly or annual premium will be cheaper. If you opt to pay a lower voluntary excess, your premiums will be higher but you won’t have to pay so much upfront if you need to claim.
Find out other ways to keep the cost of your home insurance down in our guide 7 ways to to save on your home insurance.
What is accidental damage cover?
Accidental damage is normally defined as an unintentional, unexpected one-off incident that harms your property or its contents.
With many insurers, accidental damage is an optional extra, but some home insurance providers may include accidental damage cover as standard. Check your policy schedule carefully because there may be exclusions.
Many accidental damage claims come from people with young children or pets so it’s worth thinking about your living arrangement when deciding whether to opt in.