Hundreds of holiday home owners type in the phrase ‘best holiday home insurance’ into search engines each month. The search engine results lead potential policy holders to click through onto insurers websites. Yet, will they necessarily find the ‘best’ holiday home insurance deal that meets their insurance needs? In the context of the insurance world, does the word ‘best’ necessarily mean the most most suitable, appropriate or cheapest holiday home insurance?.
As the property market has stalled, and reinsurance costs have risen, many more policyholders are shopping around using the Internet to find the best deal they can. The general increase in insurance premiums comes at a time when many squeezed holiday home owners are seeking to reduce their ongoing overheads for maintaining a second home or a holiday letting. However, most consumers are genuinely price sensitive and dislike rising insurance costs. Yet as no two holiday home insurance policies are quite the same, finding the best policy that meets their individual insurance can sometimes play second fiddle to cost.
Like many other financial products and services which can be quoted upon and purchased immediately online, holiday home insurance products are heavily advertised on the basis of the best price available. Despite the fact that there are fewer insurers providing this specialist type of insurance, (when compared to standard buildings and contents insurers), the general advertising mentality tends to revolve around the best financial deal for the holiday home owner.
Comparing the best holiday home quotes
If you are trying to compare a range of holiday home insurance policies, you may detect that many policy wordings have a similar range of perils. Which policy is ‘best’ largely depends on the interpretation of the consumer and their buying priorities. For example, some consumers may consider that insurance companies that provide excellent customer service and a superior claims procedure, are the best to deal with. Others may simply consider the best policy for them to mean the cheapest quote they find, without paying much attention to the small print of the key facts document or the policy wording. Yet for most policyholders, finding the best insurance policy may depend upon which policy wording contract most closely matches their buying criteria. In such a competitive price driven and price matching market, one of the key differentiators maybe the levels of cover, size of the excess or scope of the warranties and conditions.
Many consumers do not seek professional insurance advice from a qualified insurance broker. They are sometimes attracted by how quickly they can obtain an insurance quotation for their holiday home. Many prefer the convenience of the price comparison route, which allows them to quickly sort out the best holiday insurance policy by a range of criteria (not just by price). Others prefer a more personalised approach. In particular, the point at which a consumer speaks to an adviser on the phone or face to face, tends to focus the consumer’s mind on the level of training, education and knowledge of the advisor. If the advisor displays a broad range of knowledge when answering difficult questions, consumers confidence is boosted considerably. At the end of the telephone call, they may feel more comfortable with the provider they have contacted. Dealing with knowledgeable staff may convince many consumers the provider represents the ‘best’ option (when compared to going back to a different insurance company that has already provided a cheaper quote).
There are strict FSA regulatory and compliance rules governing the advertising and marketing or insurance products. Yet monitoring all website claims in real-time must be a challenging task to undertake. If the customer requests a quotation after replying to an online advertisement, it is up to the product provider to make sure their demands and meets are addressed and a suitable product is offered under the compliance regime. Yet the fast-moving nature of online advertising means that shoppers, visiting a range of different websites, can click through from ‘sponsored links’ headlines, and easily find themselves on a new webpage, without even realising how they got there. Lets naively assume for a moment, that all holiday home insurance policy wordings for all providers are exactly the same. Then of course it would be a simple task of choosing the cheapest. Of course most holiday homeowners realise that individual policy features of all the UK’s leading providers vary. It is these subtle differences which may make a huge impact on holiday home owners interpretation of what is ‘best’ for them. For example, some risk averse consumers may perceive the ‘best’ policy for them means they want to sign up for every extra feature and cover available. So let’s highlight a couple of key policy differences, that can be all too easily skimmed over, at the click of a mouse:-
- Excess Levels – there are different levels which can allow policyholders to decide how much cost they would like to bear themselves, in the first part of any future insurance claim. By setting a high level of excess, a cheaper quote may be be to be secured. But what if you have a couple of unfortunate claims in that year?, perhaps it would have been ‘better’ to be a bit more conservative for extra peace of mind?
- Sum Insured – it is possible to reduce contents sums insured if you feel you’re currently over insured. Many people accept combined buildings and contents policy with a maximum level of contents, which perhaps vastly outweighs the value of the fixtures and fittings in their home. Likewise, many people may not realise that they have not accurately valued all their possessions and may need to increase cover as a result. A slight ‘tweaking’ of the online quote wizards can result in a sharp increase in premiums. Regardless of what features and benefits you are offered by an online quote, you should have a clear understanding of the full replacement cost of the belongings at the holiday home. This is fundamental to making sure you are purchasing cover which is suitable for your needs.
- Number years claims/ % discount – if you’re savvy you may be able to find a better policy that offers risk related discounts, based on the number of claims free years you currently possess.
- Optional Extras – it’s easy to remove covers for optional extras you think you won’t really will need to save money. For example many second home owners have already got a warranty on their boiler, and so may not require a ‘home emergency breakdown’ type option to be included in the quote.
Ultimately these examples highlight an obvious difference in people’s attitudes to risk and reward. Everybody is different. If you pay close attention to what you read on the Internet – so are holiday home insurance policies!