Contrary to what some people think, not all home insurance is the same. So if you want to separate the wheat from the chaff, you need a lot of time and patience… or, like Erwin Miranda, you could just have a quick chat with your local financial adviser.
When Erwin decided to relocate from London to Lincolnshire, he arranged his mortgage through a local financial adviser in Grantham. What he didn’t realise at the time, was that she would be able to help him with other aspects of his finances – including his home insurance.
“I don’t have a lot of knowledge of financial products and I’m a bit nervous in this space”, he admits. “So I was pleasantly surprised when my adviser offered to help. It would have taken much longer if I’d had to go on the internet and find a policy myself. Without her assistance, I’m sure I would have ended up paying more money for a less substantial product.”
Since that first meeting in March 2017, his adviser has supported him with the renewal of his home insurance policy, as well as a number of other products. And yet a couple of years ago, he had no idea that free advice like this existed.
Like a lot of people, Erwin used to think that all home insurance products were broadly the same. He certainly wasn’t aware that benefits could be tailored to his individual needs and budget. But after speaking with his adviser, he felt much more in control of his options.
“It helped that it was a two-way process”, he explains. “She let me ask as many questions as I liked and I never felt rushed. This allowed me to improve my knowledge of different products, which gave me a lot of confidence. I particularly liked the fact that even though my adviser explained all my options, she left the decision up to me – I knew I always had a choice.”
In the end, he decided on a Paymentshield policy that ticked all the right boxes. The benefits were carefully considered and the price was very competitive. More importantly, he felt happy that his new home would be fully protected if anything went wrong.
“If I’d been left to my own devices, I would have probably got more benefits than I needed”, he says. “I’d have panicked and got the higher level of cover just in case. Being able to talk through my options with my adviser meant that I didn’t have to pay for anything I didn’t need.”
The real deal
The thing to remember about home insurance is that the cost of your policy shouldn’t really be judged on how much you pay in premiums, but on the benefits that those premiums give you. After all, the cheapest policy in the world is a waste of money if it doesn’t protect you.
Erwin agrees, “I can’t help but feel that the process would be much riskier without advice. For me, the most important thing about home insurance is the benefits. Thanks to my adviser, I know I have the right policy and that my house will be fully protected. Obviously, price matters, but the way I see it, premiums are rewarded when it comes to making a claim.”
Erwin is also aware that cost comes in different shapes and sizes. It’s all very well looking at the headline figures, but the time it takes to set up a policy is also important. As someone who works most evenings, he doesn’t want to be constantly searching the internet or hanging about on the phone. So a quick conversation with an adviser is the perfect solution.
“I don’t think everyone feels like they have time to speak to an adviser”, he reflects. “I suppose because most people are computer-friendly, they see the internet as an easy option, without realising the benefits an adviser can provide. But they’re missing the bigger picture. When you go online, you don’t always have the right knowledge to answer the questions. Plus there’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, so it isn’t as quick and easy as they think.”
It’s an astute observation. Although we live in a world of high-tech websites and real-time solutions, a quick chat with an expert must be a better option than an online product full of uncertainty. If anything, talking to a financial is the quicker of the two options and the advice is free. So it begs the question… do people really understand how advice works?
Likewise, Erwin suggests that awareness is a big part of the problem, “I think some people worry that they might get charged a fee or that advisers are too focused on commission. Others might be concerned about being pressured into purchasing certain products. But they don’t realise that you get a choice and that they’re fully regulated. It really helped talking through my options with an expert, and she left the decision totally up to me.”
Erwin is the first to admit that speaking to a financial adviser has changed the way he thinks about insurance. He recognises that it has made him more knowledgeable and sensible in his product choices. But more significantly, it’s helped him plan ahead with his finances.
“It’s not just about saving time and effort in the short-term”, he concludes. “It’s about planning your finances for the future, which a lot of people don’t think about. My adviser continues to support me in so many ways. She calls me whenever a policy is due to renew and talks me through my options in plenty of time. For example, I didn’t even know my mortgage rate was due to change when she called me up with a better deal. But all the work was done.
“When you’re busy, this kind of service makes a big difference. I can’t praise my financial adviser enough. She helps me so much and it doesn’t even cost me anything.”
Content provide by Paymentshield. For more information visit their website www.paymentshield.co.uk