Your guide to switching home insurance

Changing home insurance provider is pretty straightforward, and with big variations in the price of premiums, it could save you money. Here’s what you need to know about how to switch provider.

Changing home insurance provider is pretty straightforward, and with big variations in the price of premiums, it could save you money. Here’s what you need to know about how to switch provider.

Helen Phipps
Insurance expert
7
minute read
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Last Updated 9 NOVEMBER 2022

What are the benefits of switching home insurance provider?

One of the main reasons to switch home insurance is the potential to save money. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to cut your premium costs if you switch home insurance provider, especially if you’ve been with the same provider for a while.

And by using Comparethemarket, it’s simple to check if you’re getting a good deal at renewal time or if it’s worth shopping around.

How to change your home insurance provider in five steps

As your renewal date approaches, it may be time to reassess your insurance needs. Give yourself a bit of time to do this as the best prices are likely to be found around three weeks before your existing policy is due to end. Luckily, it only takes five easy steps to switch home insurance:

Step 1: Consider the cover you need

Have your circumstances changed since you took out home insurance with your current provider? Do you need a more comprehensive level of cover or have you downsized? Perhaps you have more high-value items than you did before or you have a wedding dress to insure.

Step 2: Compare quotes

Use Comparethemarket’s comparison service to compare quotes from a wide range of trusted UK home insurance providers. Once you’ve worked out the right level of cover for you, you’ll quickly be able to see which providers offer quotes to suit your needs.

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Step 3: Do your research

Before accepting a quote, it’s a good idea to research the home insurance provider you’re interested in. Check out some reviews, see what optional extras they offer and be sure to read the policy fine print or at least be familiar with the cover you’re getting.

Step 4: Make the switch

If you’re happy with what you’ve found, there’s nothing to stop you from signing up with your new home insurance provider. Just be sure that your new policy starts when your old one ends, so you don’t go a few days without cover or double insure yourself, as having two policies could lead to problems if you need to claim.

Step 5: Notify your current home insurance provider

Several home insurance providers operate on an auto-renewal basis. So, if you don’t tell them not to renew your policy, they’ll do it automatically. Make sure you tell your insurance provider – by email or phone – that you want to end your insurance before your policy renews.

Top tip – get temporary cover for your new home

If you cancel your home insurance when moving house but haven’t yet moved into your new home, consider taking out a short-term policy. Temporary insurance tends to be more expensive than a standard home insurance policy, but it can be a useful stop-gap if you’re unable to move in straight away, for example, if you’re renovating your new home. That way, you’ll remain protected for the time it takes to finish the work and move in.

Does switching home insurance providers cost anything?

As long as you’re changing before your renewal date or within the 14-day cooling-off period after your renewal date, there shouldn’t be any additional costs. If you decide to switch early, you’ll need to cancel your old policy and this may come at a price.

The cancellation fee varies depending on the provider, so make sure you check what yours is. Often the charge will be higher if you cancel in the first year, as insurance providers will want to recoup the cost of setting the policy up. We’ll give you some information about cancellation costs when you view your quotes and click to find more details about the provider.

Unless your circumstances make an early cancellation fee worthwhile, it’s best to weigh up whether it makes sense to change mid-policy.

Will I get a refund?

By law, when you buy home insurance, you’ll be given a 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period to change your mind. If you cancel during this time, you should be offered a pro-rata refund by your insurance provider.

And if you’ve paid your home insurance upfront, then cancel at a later date, most providers will offer a part-refund based on how long the policy still has to run – less an administration fee.

However, if you decide to cancel your home insurance, but you’ve already made a claim against it, you might not be entitled to a refund at all.

Cancelling your home insurance policy

It’s easy to get stuck in an insurance rut renewing with your old insurance provider because you can’t find time to shop around. Switching could mean you get better cover for less.

Reasons why you might cancel your home insurance policy

There are a few reasons why it might make sense to cancel your current home insurance policy:

You’ve changed your mind

If you buy home insurance but soon change your mind, it’s easy to cancel your policy. Under consumer law, you’re allowed a 14-day ‘cooling off’ period. During this time, you can cancel your policy without quibble. The clock starts the day your insurance policy starts or when you receive your policy documents, whichever is the later.

You’re moving to a new house

If you’re moving house and prefer not to cancel your home insurance, you can simply move your policy to your new home. Be warned, though, there may be an admin fee and you might face an increase (or decrease) in your premium, depending on the size and location of your new home. It’s worth shopping around if your insurance premium increases as you may well be able to get a cheaper policy by comparing.

You’ve found a cheaper policy

If you shop around or use a comparison site like ours, you may well find a cheaper deal than the one you’re on. Check if there’s a cancellation fee before you switch, though, as the extra charges might cancel out any savings you could make.

You think you’re getting poor service

If you’re unhappy with your current insurance provider, you’re certainly within your rights to switch. But once again, you may incur a fee.

Planning to switch insurance providers? Here are our tips:

  • Let your insurance provider know – always tell your insurance provider that you’re planning to cancel. Give them a call and they’ll tell you if you need to contact them in writing. They can also tell you what – if any – fees will apply.
  • Don’t simply cancel your Direct Debit – this won’t automatically cancel your home insurance. Unless you and your insurance provider have mutually agreed to cancel your policy, your contract with them will still be binding. All it will mean is that you’ve stopped paying the premiums, which will leave you with an angry insurance provider on your case. You may also incur missed payment charges if you pay monthly by Direct Debit.
  • If possible, wait until renewal – the most practical way to cancel your policy without incurring fees is simply to wait until it expires. Make a note of your policy’s renewal date and start shopping around shortly before that.
  • Automate your home insurance – download our Meerkat app to receive automatic quote alerts before renewal. 

When is the best time to get a quote?

It’s worth getting a quote a few weeks before your current policy is due to end. Research shows the cost of your policy is likely to be higher the closer you are to your renewal date. When you take out new cover, you’ll be able to stipulate the date you want the new policy to start, so getting a quote locked in nice and early could help you save money. It also gives you time to get your new policy in place before the old one expires.

How to compare home insurance prices

Whether you’ve been with your insurance provider a while or are thinking of switching, it’s worth comparing prices before you reach a decision. We’ve made that simple by putting together a comprehensive comparison service. Try comparing home insurance quotes today to see if you could save.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to tell my mortgage lender if I switch my home insurance?

If you have buildings insurance as a condition of your mortgage, you’ll need to let your mortgage lender know you’ve switched home insurance providers. It’s likely they’ll ask for the name of your new provider, the policy number and any new cover limits.

Will I lose my no-claims discount if I cancel my home insurance?

No, any no-claims discount you’ve already built up shouldn’t be lost simply by cancelling your policy. However, it’s unlikely you’ll earn another year’s NCD, as you won’t have completed a full year of no claims.

Can I transfer my no-claims discount if I switch home insurance providers?

In most cases, yes, you should be able to transfer your no-claims discount to a new policy with another provider.

Can I cancel my home insurance if I choose auto-renew?

Yes, you can, but you’ll need to contact your insurance provider before your renewal date, to let them know you intend to cancel.

If your provider offers auto-renewal, they’ll usually send you a letter around three to four weeks before the renewal date. This gives you a window of opportunity to shop around for a cheaper quote and cancel your current policy free of charge.

Can a home insurance cancellation be backdated?

No, your home insurance cancellation request can’t be backdated just because you haven’t made a claim and didn’t feel you needed the cover. Your policy can only be cancelled once you have contacted your insurance provider.

Can I complain about a high cancellation fee?

Fees will vary depending on the insurance provider, but the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is clear that they must be ‘reasonable’. If you think you’re being charged over the odds, call your insurance provider to complain. If they still refuse to waive the fee, you could take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

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