Whilst most people understand that they need insurance, some don’t always know exactly what level of cover is necessary or even how much it should cost. This leads to millions of consumers purchasing policies that are either inadequate or excessive.

So how do you know if you’ve got the right insurance for your home? Well, first of all you need to secure buildings insurance. This is probably the most straightforward insurance to buy as it simply covers the physical ‘bricks and mortar’ elements of your home. So if a tremor or flooding caused structural damage which required urgent work, this policy would potentially cover the cost of repair – assuming it isn’t invalidated for any reason.

Your contents cover gets a bit more complicated

As the name contents insurance suggests, this makes sure that everything inside your home is fully covered too. Whilst buildings insurance is often mandatory, particularly for those people with mortgages, contents insurance is optional, which means some homeowners decide to either take the cheapest option or ignore it entirely. This can be risky though. Most insurers offer contents cover based on generic value bands. So, for instance, you might choose to just insure £40,000 of possessions, while others may go for a higher amount. A lot will depend on the insurer you use and whether you wish to take the time to create a more tailored contents policy to reflect your possessions and their true worth.

Review and protect your valuables

If you have items of particular value, including antiques, artwork or even some high-end electronics, it would be advisable to review your belongings and have in place cover that accurately reflected the cost of replacing them. Ideally, such a review should be carried out before you purchase any home insurance cover. That’s because if you do need to make amendments to a policy later it can cost a small administrative fee and will need to be completed before any claim will be possible. Which is why sorting out your cover correctly in the first place is so important.

If your insurance is coming up for renewal in the near future, you will have the perfect opportunity to review your existing policy and make any changes that you deem necessary. After all, with cover lasting a full year, sometimes even longer, a great deal can happen between renewal dates. For example, you may have built an extension or conservatory or you might even have invested in some new appliances for the kitchen. On the other hand, it’s possible that you’ve decided to bolster security, investing in tougher locks and an alarm system. Any such alterations should be noted, as they may impact the cost of insurance and may even invalidate or fall outside your existing policy leaving you unprotected.

Extra security brings its own benefits

Added security is one of the few ways that you can help to really reduce your risk and, as a result, your annual premiums. Insurers prefer customers who are lower risk; and by installing an alarm system, CCTV or more secure locks, you are making it difficult for intruders to gain entry, which reduces the chances of theft. Extra security also has the added benefit of providing extra peace of mind for you and your family.

So do take some time to review your policy or, if you’re about to purchase insurance for the first time, make sure that you know what it is that you’re actually covering. If you can’t afford to insure every single item in your home, it’s still worth getting some form of cover. Over time you may be able to build your insurance policy and cover more possessions to lower your personal risk. But always read the fine print and never be afraid to move from one insurer to another if you can get a better deal.