Unless you can afford to completely rebuild and refurnish your home in the event of a disaster, home insurance cover is essential.  However, insuring your home against loss can be extremely expensive.  Here are some top tips to help you to keep your premiums as low as possible, whilst still having all the cover you need.

Combine and cut out 'extras'

Insurance providers will often offer cheaper premiums if you combine both your home contents insurance and your buildings cover, so always be sure to ask for the best deal.  Don't be suckered into paying for extras that you don't really need.  For example, accidental damage cover can really push up your premiums, and this is something that very few people actually claim for.

Prevention is better than claiming

You can often negotiate cheaper home contents insurance premiums if you can demonstrate to an insurer that your home is secure from burglars.

If you don't already have one, think about installing a really good quality alarm system, and make sure all your windows have locks fitted.  External doors should have a professionally-fitted five-lever mortise lock fitted which bolts into the door frame.  Movement sensitive security lighting fitted near vulnerable areas of your property is also a great innovation that insurers love.

Another big reason for insurance claims is fire damage.  Your property should have smoke alarms fitted throughout, and you must check regularly that these are working properly.  Insurance companies will sometimes offer a small discount if you can prove that you have smoke alarms fitted.

Premiums, loyalty and excesses

When it comes to how you pay for your insurance cover, you can make some surprising savings.  For example, although it may appear cheaper in the short term to pay monthly by direct debit, are often credit and administration charges for this that will push up the annual fee.  You will also have to pay interest on the premiums as monthly payments are usually viewed as a 'loan'.  Pay your insurance premiums all in one go to save money on interest and credit charges.

Some insurance companies will be prepared to negotiate a deal whereby you agree to keep your cover with them for an agreed period, for example three years.  During this time, your premiums will remain frozen, provided you don't make a claim.  This can be a great way of saving money, as your premium won't automatically rise every year on the renewal date.

The excess is the amount that you have to pay towards a claim.  It can be tempting to choose the lowest policy excess figure, but this just means that your annual premium will be much higher.  Instead, agree to pay a higher excess amount, and watch the premiums fall!

In conclusion

With a little knowledge and the willingness to negotiate terms with your insurer, you can make considerable savings on your home insurance premiums.  Have a chat with your insurer today to see how much you could save.