Money: Insurers show mercy

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Premiums for insuring homes are still falling, at least three months after the industry expected rates to start rising again.

A survey by Premium Search, one of the 24 hour direct insurers, shows that 72 per cent of new quotations are lower than before, and only 15 per cent of quotes have risen, mainly in areas where subsidence is a problem. Even here insurance companies are defining risk areas more closely so that not eveyone is tarred with the same postcode brush.

Average savings between May and August this year were 8 per cent, bringing average reductions to 25 per cent over the last 18 months. Detailed quotes suggest that single people living in terrace houses in parts of east London may be asked for higher premiums, and Southwest London is also in danger of seeing renewal rates turn up.

In fact retired couples with bungalows in London SW19 are already experiencing an upturn. Exeter and Bristol also seem to be ready to turn higher, but some properties in places like Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton seem to be qualifying for significant savings, the survey shows.