Saving money with home contents insurance

I’ve had contents insurance for three years.

The first year, I set my contents to $35,000 (which they guided me towards, everything indicates I NEVER spent that much on all my belongings, but then I bought a lot second hand you can see my inventories in the Inventories tab at the top). My premium was $376.70.

When my annual renewal came, I noticed they’d increase my contents to $40k~!  The premium was now $400.32.  It wasn’t too much more, but still, I knew I hadn’t bought $5k more stuff (nor do my things cost more to replace – they are getting older, not newer!) I rang up and asked them to adjust it back to $35,000 and re-quote my premium.  They came back with $326.76.

Imagine that – year two, I saved $50 on the first year.  Small savings, but still, a bill that goes down?!  Awesome! I told the whole office…

Now we’re year three.  The premium was adjusted when I moved into cohab central, to $411.56 for the year (but pro rata’d).  The renewal came, for $37,500 of contents, at a cost of $426.35.  Again, not really a radical jump from $411.  Still, even with the BF paying half now, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to call up and see if my same tricks could work.

And they did!  She quoted me something like $320 for $37,100 of contents.  Trying to stick to my guns, I asked her to quote for $35,000 of stuff, and she assured me it’d make no difference.  It was $316.57.  Hey, that’s the cost of a coffee, so I asked her to leave it at $35,000 on the content.  But see that – year on year, my premium has *decreased*.

Here’s a rudimentary graph of quoted vs my negotiated premium!

Auto renewal of premium trends up, negoiated premium trends down
Look at those trends!

If you have spare time this holidays, think about spending some time pressing 1. for a call centre staff member reading a script, and see if you too can decrease your premiums!

Have you ever had year on year successes like this?  Is it worth it for $4, $10 or $50 per annum – where do you draw line between the effort and ‘bother time’?

16 Replies to “Saving money with home contents insurance”

  1. Holy crow! I'm not even a little bit surprised that they'd try to do that to get more premiums out of people, but it really gets my nose bent out of joint. Nicely done on reducing your premiums!

    1. I love that every call not only reduces the premium, but less than the past years! What is with that? Why can't they just automatically subtract the loyalty bonus? Surely they want to avoid people calling the call centre, right?

  2. I love reading about others having success lowering their premiums on any insurance. I would definitely give a call if there's any sort of increase, just to see their reasoning why. I keep bothering my boyfriend to call about his auto insurance, as it's at a rather crazy rate and I think he can get it lowered. If there's an easy way of saving money anywhere, count me in.

    1. It's great – I haven't had as much luck with car/bike insurance, but then again, I've been 'young' and some is set by law. It's great to lower it less every single year, I just can't believe it… It's pretty unlikely anything would happen, but I like to be covered in the event something horrible did happen.

  3. I've had the same thing happen on house (building) insurance! The price has been going down each year – I've begun to wonder if we were 'flagged' on the computer system for no increases. Perhaps they want to keep the business and apply different rules to those who phone up? We haven't had Contents Insurance for 4 years now. There is nothing valuable in our house of interest in a burglary. Fire is our biggest thread but even then….all the furniture is second-hand except our bed. Whitegoods (fridge and washing machine) would be the biggest replacement costs.

    1. You raise a really interesting point there – maybe this contents insurance isn't really worth it! In a strata building, most major damage (like water pipes bursting) are possibly/likely a strata issue. Although if a whole household possessions were lost in fire, it would take a long time to recover without contents insurance. That being said, I'm often skeptical of insurance, that whatever you claim under they'll find a loophole that means they don't need to pay! Definitely food for thought…

  4. It was when we were in the apartment that we first stopped insurance. We had bars on all the windows, security entrances and double-locked doors, so theft was not a big concern. Fire was our biggest threat but the danger in an apartment block was so serious that we had continual fire-alarm testing, sprinkler containment etc. When I tell people that we don't have contents insurance they are shocked, but I got used to the idea from living in the apartment (we do have excellent building coverage though.)

    1. I agree, we've had fire door and alarm inspections already in the new place. And the security being on the top floor is enhanced (I used to be on the ground floor). Admittedly, the new place is in a street with trees as high as the top (fourth) floor, which I know the insurance company asks about. I should really think long and hard about whether the expense is worth it.

  5. We pay for minimal contents cover – £10k for contents and then add in my engagement ring & bracelet as separate items (our only items of real value!). It keeps the premium low. We always get sent a higher quote at renewal time, so I swap insurers every year – hate that they do that. There must be so many people who just renew without questioning!
    My main worry is buildings insurance – have to make sure that covers a rebuild etc,

    Glad to hear you got a reduction!

    1. That's a great way to do it – minimal cover on contents, and add the big ticket items, of which we have none. The car is in it's own policy. This laptop will soon be in a museum, the TV is second hand and 'small' by a thief's standard… and there's no engagement ring here!

      Why do you swap insurers? You don't want to stick with any cause of their dirty practices? I agree, so many people would let the auto withdrawlas for renewal happen without looking at it, especially if they fall this time of year.

      Building insurance is compulsory here, but as I live in an apartment, I'm exempt from directly paying for it (the owners of apartments pay for it through their communal levies)

  6. While some landlords require insurance on your contents, my landlord doesn't. So looking around and realizing everything I have is mostly free, found stuff I dropped my insurance. It was only $9 a month here, but even that adds up. I made the decision when I gave up the car and could finally drop the insurance on that which cost me $25. Now I have an extra $408 a year.

    I am surprised your insurance company keeps increasing your contents value, do you have replacement value as your option? That could be why as it gets more expensive each year to buy new to replace everything we own. You might want to check that out and if you want to continue to carry insurance, by removing that option your costs could go down even further.

    1. Wow, I didn't know landlords could require contents insurance!

      You raise a good question, that might be why it increases, though this year was far more moderate than the last year. In any case, I'm seriously reconsidering the need for it now that I've heard other people's approaches to it. I love a blogging community, unlike my 'real life' I feel I get exposure to wider ranges of ages/stages and choices in life.

  7. My contents insurance is for replacement value and it is expensive – but then, my home inventory (coming soon) shows we own over $25,000 in electronics and $25,000 in music CDs! So I will not be reducing the coverage any time soon.

  8. I tried to do this with my car insurance, but they wouldn't budge 🙁 I don't have contents insurance (in fact car insurance is the only one I have), because I don't own enough that is valuable. My rationale is that if my flute, camera and computer were all stolen, I could afford to replace them, so I'd rather have savings instead of insurance.

    1. I know that there's no wriggle room with compulsory third party, but you'd hope for some reduction for loyalty or similar with the comprehensive cover.

      On the whole I agree with you – if you have cash reserves, there's less of a need for insurance. I used to use that idea with health insurance, but then so many other policies meant I ended up with private health cover anyhow.

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