The Best Home Insurance And How To Find It

Finding the best home insurance for you can be difficult.

Home insurance provides many different covers – buildings, contents, personal possessions, legal expenses, home emergency cover – and insurers will often treat these differently.

To help you, we’ve look at some of the popular home insurance companies in the UK based on various factors, including the quality of cover, hidden extra costs, as well as independent reviews that take into account customer satisfaction and complaints handling.

The Best Home Insurance? Our Top Picks

Emerald Home Insurance

So we’re a little biased here but do honestly believe our home insurance ranks highly, although plenty of these our top home insurance brands could be better for you depending on your circumstances so do shop around.

Why Use Emerald home insurance? We’re Feefo Five-Star Rated with FREE home emergency cover and legal expenses cover. The only home insurer in the UK to include discrimination cover as stardard.

At Emerald, we like insurers that provide a wide range of cover for various different circumstances.

For example, Emerald home insurance can offer cover for unusual home construction materials such as glass, fibreglass, or living rooves. 

Emerald will also consider difficult to insure properties, either those in a flood risk area, those where renovations are planned or where the insured has county court judgments or criminal convictions.

Other insurers also provide some of those more unusual covers. If you’ve been refused home insurance or had a renewal declined, you may be able to get a quote with specialist insurer like HomeProtect.

Other Top Home Insurance Companies

  • John Lewis Finance – Plus and Premier
  • LV= Home Insurance
  • Saga Essential, Tailormade and Premier

Other Highly-Rated Insurers

  • Churchill Home Insurance Plus
  • Tesco Bank Home Insurance
  • M&S Bank Standard and Premier
  • RIAS Home Insurance
  • Age Co Home Insurance 
  • Barclays Home Insurance

What other insurers might you consider?

It’s a crowded market for home insurance, so although we like us (of course!) and those we have listed above, there are several other home insurers that may suit you.

There are insurers such as Hiscox and a handful of other well-known companies such as More Than and Nationwide that are popular for quotes.

Doing a home quote can take some time, so it is worth understanding which insurer will cover which circumstances.

For example, Emerald can provide home insurance for UK holiday homes, buy-to-let and unoccupied (whether empty for probate or renovation purposes), whereas some more ‘high street’ brands often prefer more standard cover.

Our home insurance offers and deals

Emerald is making insurance more equitable by allowing its customers to donate part of their premium automatically to charities – use THT5 to donate 5% of your premium to Terrence Higgins Trust, or 50FUND to donate 5% of your premium to Emerald’s own 50 Fund, which helps LGBT+ and women’s grassroots organisations in Southern Africa.

You can also insure your personal possessions away from home, with global coverage. For items over £10,000 you will need to call us, but anything else can be done immediately online. We will also cover bicycles if you want to stay fit!

Are You Also Looking For Travel, Pet or Wedding Insurance?

Emerald also provides these – and if you buy Emerald’s wedding insurance we will give you 15% off your home insurance quote when it next comes around.

For a quote on our wedding insurance, with cover from £12,500 to £100,000, click here

For a quote on our pet insurance, with flexible cover up to £7,000 annually, click here

For a quote on our travel insurance, for individuals, couples, families or groups, with optional winter sports or cruise cover, click here

What makes these home insurance companies special?

The home insurance companies that we have mentioned have high levels of buildings and contents insurance cover and many have received recommendations or awards from trusted organisations such as Feefo.

What makes a good home insurance policy?

There are three main types of home insurance – buildings, contents, and buildings and contents combined.

If you live in a rented house or flat you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance, it is your landlord’s job to sort that out – and you should check that they have done this. Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility. Owner-occupiers are likely to need both buildings and contents insurance. If you own a flat there is usually a communal buildings policy, but again you will need contents cover.

It is worth reading the features of any policy before you buy. It is worth checking the amount of payouts, any sub-limits and the levels of any excess (which is the amount that you have to pay in any claim). You should also look at what flexibility the policy has:

  • Can you cover accidental damage?
  • Can you cover personal items away from home?
  • Is there home emergency cover? And do you have to pay for it?
  • Does your insurer cover unoccupied properties, or buy-to-let?
  • Does your insurer cover damage by pets?

The best home insurance policies also include alternative accommodation for you and the inhabitants of your home if it needs to be rebuilt. But check what is covered. Emerald offers up to 24 months of alternative accommodation if you need it. John Lewis Finance Premier offers unlimited alternative accommodation, while Direct Line offers up to £40,000 of cover.

When you are looking at contents insurance, it is important to make sure that you add up all the things that you own. You would be surprised how quickly it all adds up. Emerald can offer unlimited contents insurance, but you will need to all us if your contents value exceeds £150,000 as we will have a few more questions on security etc.

As for the other insurers,

  • John Lewis Finance Premier offers unlimited cover for contents and up to £40,000 for valuables.
  • Age Co Home Insurance (formerly Age UK) – Contents: up to £100,000; valuables: up to £50,000.

Comprehensive policies will also provide some level of accidental damage cover for anything you might break or damage in your home. Cover levels vary but the best policies have no limit on claims. However, if you do make a claim, be aware that your premium may go up in the following year.

Some insurers may also include home emergency policies, where they will send someone out to fix urgent problems such as a leak or a broken window. This is a valuable part of home insurance and it’s worth considering, even if it’s an optional extra. Emerald offers this for free on all main residential policies.

Other than policy features, some companies aim to attract customers with special offers such as cashback, vouchers and discounts. While it’s not a good idea to choose a policy based on this alone if you’re torn between two insurers with similar products it can help tip the scales.

It is important to know exactly what is covered by your policy and to choose the most suitable cover for your home. That might not be the most expensive cover but it doesn’t mean you should go straight for the cheapest. Often, the cheapest insurance has higher excesses, and some insurers are cheaper because they tend to dispute claims more often.

Pros And Cons Of Home Insurance Comparison Sites

There has been an enormous rise in the popularity of insurance comparison websites. Bear in mind that while these are convenient, they are PRICE comparison websites.

With a product as complicated as home insurance, often just looking at a price does not show the total scope of cover. Nevertheless, many people simply look for the cheapest price when choosing a home insurance company, believing it to be the best deal. That is often not the case.

Comparison sites, such as Confused.com and Go Compare have their advantages – they make home insurance reviews much more accessible and transparent and they encourage competition between insurance companies, which in turn pushes premiums down.

However, that can often be at the expense of cover, in cases where the insurer simply removes or reduces parts of the cover in order to lower the premium without suffering the loss, so it is worth checking the policy that an insurer offers on a comparison website against what is on the insurer’s own website.

What’s more, some of the best-known insurance companies, such as Emerald,  AvivaPlus Home Insurance and Direct Line Home Insurance, are not on comparison sites as a matter of principle.

How to Get The Right Level of Home Insurance Cover

Find Your Rebuild Value

When you are looking at buildings insurance, you need to insure your house for the amount it will cost to rebuild.

This is different from the market value. Mostly the rebuild value will be less than the market value but in some cases it may be higher (for example if the property is difficult to access or has a complicated construction).

You can use the free calculator provided by the independent Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) to work out the rough rebuild cost of your home.

However, you need to think whether your house has anything (such as expensive windows, decoration or materials) that may increase the rebuild value.

How Much Contents Cover Do I Need?

When looking for insurance, it is vital not to underinsure. In the event of a claim, the insurer will look at the value of the cover that you took out and may reduce a payout.

So, in a simple example, if you have £100,000 of contents but only take out £50,000 of contents insurance, then in the event of a claim for £40,000 the insurer may only pay out half, ie £20,000, as they consider that you only insured 50% of your possessions.

Bearing that in mind, it is important to get this right. Think about each room in the house or even go through it room by room.

People tend to forget about clothes, DVDs, crockery, glassware etc. All these things can quickly mount up and if you are underinsured, then you may find future problems in the case of a claim.

For particularly valuable items (often exceeding £2,000) you may need to list these specifically on the policy and keep receipts or have a valuation done. While there are separate policies specifically to cover high-value items, they can often be more expensive than adding any items onto your home policy, so it is always worth checking.

Empty homes – even if only temporarily empty – may not be covered by standard home insurance policies. Typically, if your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days it may invalidate your policy.

You can get a separate policy for unoccupied properties or holiday homes, but either way, be sure to tell your insurance company if no one will be living in your house for more than 30 days. Emerald can provide a quote for unoccupied properties, with an online quote service for most cases.