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Home insurance discounts and neighbourhood watch schemes

Home Insurance Discounts and Neighbourhood Watch Schemes

Savvy consumers can find various ways to get discounted home insurance quotes. Joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme is one way to lower premiums.

Many UK home insurance companies will offer discounts to customers who can demonstrate that they are taking extra care to protect their properties. Some, for example, will cut premium costs if you are an active member of your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Why does this matter to insurers and how can you get money off your policies?

What is Neighbourhood Watch

These schemes are set up by groups of local residents with the aim of making their neighbourhoods safer and minimising incidents such as theft, vandalism and general crime. Working in partnership with the police and local councils, each group of volunteers will ‘look after’ a specific area. According to Neighbourhoodwatch.net, there are currently around 150,000 schemes in the UK.

Why do Home Insurers Offer Discounts for Neighbourhood Watch Members?

Communities that operate a scheme take active measures to reduce crime in their neighbourhoods. As far as insurance companies are concerned, this can minimise claim risk. If you and your neighbours take steps to increase home security, to reduce vandalism and to work against opportunistic theft, for example, then you may lower the chances that you will need to make an insurance claim. In return, many companies will give you a discount on your home cover.

Do Insurance Companies Give Automatic Discounts?

You may find, when you fill in an application form, that the company asks you if you are a Neighbourhood Watch member. It may then give you an automatic discount; some will also advertise specific percentage-off deals up-front. You may, however, have to ask an insurer whether they do consider this when they cost up premiums as some do not openly advertise that they do.

You can’t really join your local scheme and do nothing just to get reduced premium costs. Neighbourhood Watch does take some work. Plus, if you leave your local program or it closes down, then you need to tell your insurer as this affects your cover. They may then increase your premium in the future.

Other Advantages to Joining Neighbourhood Watch Schemes

According to a report by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, this type of prevention scheme can reduce crime in a protected street by up to 25%. This could make your local community and home safer. In itself, this could make it worth your while to join your local group. Any insurance discount you get could simply be an added bonus.

Bear in mind that reduced insurance costs are only a good deal if the base premium is competitive. Even if you are using your membership status to save money, you should still use insurance comparison sites, ideally at the start of your fact-finding process, to find those companies that offer the best deals before discounts are given. This could save you more money in the long run.

How to Cut the Costs of Car Insurance

  • All drivers know that getting car insurance is important. Most also realise that there are discounts and cost savings to be made. So, how can a driver cut policy costs?
  • Car insurance policies may all be designed to offer the same basic kinds of protection to drivers and vehicles but their costs can vary significantly. The charges made here may well depend on the driver, their track record, the vehicle and the insurance company itself. Keeping costs low, whilst still getting good coverage, can save considerable sums. So, how can drivers get the benefits of discount car insurance?

Factors That Save Money on Car Insurance Costs

In basic terms insurers assess the costs of a car insurance policy based on certain factors:

  • The driver(s) of the vehicle- how old they are, what their driving record is like and whether they have had any accidents or driving problems.
  • The vehicle itself- what kind of model is being insured, how old it is and how much it is worth.
  • The likelihood of claims being made – how the car is stored/protected and how it is used.
  • Insuring a driver and a car is all about cost and risk to the insurer. If a driver can take steps to potentially minimise these potential costs and to look like less of a risk then they may find that their premium costs are lowered.

How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance Quotes

There are various ways to cut the costs of car insurance. Those looking to save money can, for example, try:

  • Choosing a lower spec vehicle- a high cost, high maintenance car will cost more to insure than a standard model. Choosing smaller engined cars, for example, may work out cheaper than insuring high performance models.
  • Driving less- many insurers will cut car insurance premium costs for drivers who don’t use their cars that frequently.
  • Storing the car safely- drivers that can prove that they store their cars in a garage on on their drive will generally be given lower premiums than those that have to park on the street.
  • Keeping a clean record- a driver who has a clean sheet where accidents and incidents are concerned will build up a good no-claims bonus. The more years of no-claims a driver has, the cheaper a policy may be.
  • Protecting the car- having a good security system and a GPS tracking device fitted into the car can make it harder to steal and easier to recover which can cut costs.
  • Limiting the number of named drivers- insuring a car for one driver will be cheaper than insuring it for multiple drivers. Adding a young and inexperienced driver to a policy could see premium costs go through the roof.
  • Taking courses and training- there are a variety of advanced driving courses that drivers can take on a voluntary basis (e.g., the Pass Plus scheme). Many insurers will give discounts to drivers that have taken an accredited course to improve their driving skills.
  • Taking a higher excess- all policies will come with an excess (the amount the driver has to pay before the insurer kicks in). Taking a higher excess could cut costs for the insurer and they may offer lower premiums in return.
  • Shopping around- using a car insurance supermarket to find and compare a variety of quotes can save money.

Most drivers have the ability to get some form of discount car insurance. Many actually pay more than they need to for a car insurance policy simply because they don’t realise that savings can be made in this way. Given these savings it may well be worth thinking about what can be done to cut costs here.