Cheap isn’t a word that inspires much confidence – and as the saying goes – buy cheap, buy twice. While cheap might be ok in some situations, it’s really not ok in others – like with home insurance. And when it comes to home cover, you often don’t have the luxury of ‘buying twice’ if you suddenly realise your policy’s not fit for the job – you simply don’t get the cover you need – just when you need it most.

Home insurance is used to describe both buildings and contents cover. And whilst neither is compulsory by law, if you have a mortgage then most lenders will insist on having buildings cover at the very least. It’s up to you whether you insure your contents, but if all your worldly goods were destroyed by fire, flood or were stolen – could you afford to replace them without the help of insurance? Ultimately, your policy is there to protect your home and all your belongings, so in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not the best thing to start penny pinching over.

Getting value for money on the other hand, is not the same as cheap home insurance; it just means you’re getting the most for your money – which is a good thing. But knowing whether you’re actually getting value can be tricky – so what should you look out for?

Home insurance is as unique as you, your circumstances and your home so your policy should reflect that. For example, living in a ‘non-standard’ home might mean you have a thatched roof which can only be repaired or replaced by a skilled thatcher. Similarly, homes not made with brick, but built of stone or granite, will usually cost more to fix because of the materials and specialist labour needed.

You’ll also need to think outside of the box and consider external factors too, such as subsidence or whether your property’s in a flood risk area. Insurance providers need to know all of these things so they can properly assess your situation and give you the right cover. This will allow you to make a claim in the event that anything goes wrong as not knowing about these sorts of things could invalidate your policy.

The same goes for your contents too so it’s important to really think about what you own – don’t forget all the things we take for granted such as carpets, curtains and even pictures. And if you have any particularly expensive items such as an engagement ring or watch, then your insurance provider will want to know about them too.

Plus, there’s all the extras that you can bolt on, such as accidental damage cover; new for old, which replaces your old items for shiny new ones if a claim’s made; and trace and access cover which locates leaks and sorts out getting to them. Cheaper policies might not include some of these features and you could end up adding them on – which will bump up the advertised policy price, so that bargain might suddenly not seem like one. On the other hand, pricier policies may include ‘optional extras’ as standard – in which case you’re actually getting much better value for money as long as you need and want the cover that’s included.

But it’s not just what you get in a policy. If being treated like a proper human being is important to you, you might want to find out what an insurance provider’s customer service is like. And if you can’t stand listening to pan pipes greatest hits on a loop, then check out how long call waiting times are. In short – a policy should cover the things you need and are important to you as well as provide you with the type of service you expect.

Insurance isn’t about tempting fate, it’s there to protect the things you care about most, such as your home and your possessions. Which is why smart people do their homework and at comparethemarket.com, we can help you with that. Tell us about your home and search from dozens of trusted home insurance partners and see if the cheapest home insurance policy really is right for you, or if you’d be better with a few extras. We’ll display all the important stuff, like what’s included so you can see at a glance whether something’s going to work for you and your home. So, buy right first time and start your search today.

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