If you have ever wondered why your home contents insurance premium is so expensive, you may be interested in looking at a controversial new website which is backed by the UK Government. The police.uk web site provides statistics on a street by street level enabling users to simply type in their post code and have a look at the number and types of crime committed in their area. At the present moment, the website lists all reported crimes for the month of December, detailing them by incident type and location. The website crashed within hours of it’s launch last week when five million users each hour tried to visit it. This proves, there is a great deal of interest in this subject helped of course by a good deal of media coverage.
The website has already drawn a good deal of criticism by people who are questioning, it’s level of accuracy, many people have pointed out that, this type of information, in the public domain could have an adverse effect on house prices, of course, what people have failed to mention, is that it could also have a positive effect on house prices, if people used crime or lack of it as a reason for purchasing a house. One of the problems with crime, to a certain extent is that it is dynamic and ever changing, crimes committed near your home this month, may not occur again for quite some time. Speaking from experience and information obtained from my local beat officer, the road that I live in, had no reported burglaries for four years and then had eight on the same evening. To be presented with an accurate picture, information needs to provided over a period of time, this will help to produce an accurate map and enable trends to be spotted.
Many homeowners may be worried that home insurance providers may look at this information and start re rating their policies upwards as a result of the information published. Well, most insurance companies simply wont have the time to carry out this exercise on such a micro level and the fact of the matter is, by providing them with your postcode, they already know a good deal about the area you live. Home insurers obtain information from a variety of sources, so they will already know whats occurring in your area, above and below ground. They will know the likelihood of a theft occurring and the chance of a flood happening even down to the approximate re- building cost of your property.
Home insurers also base their rates on their own experience, but accepting a large number of homogenous risks including many from your own post code, they will already have a clear idea of what to expect from you risk and will have priced their products accordingly. This personal experience and exposure to risk in certain areas is one of the reasons, you often see great variance in home insurance premiums being quoted.