Home insurance premiums falling: Property news update

Plus, homeowners' safety, Irish estate, and heating bills

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The Independent Online

Around £20 has been wiped off the average premium for a combined buildings and contents insurance policy over the past year, according to AA Insurance.

Between July and October, premiums for a home buildings policy fell by 3.1 per cent to £112.56 amounting to a drop of just over 10 per cent over the last year. Contents policies have also fallen seven per cent in the last 12 months, and combined policies 11 per cent.

"The falls continue a long-term downward trend which suggests that there are home insurance deals to be done for those shopping around for their cover," said Janet Connor, managing director of AA Insurance who added that this year's flooding has had no impact on premiums.

"Overall, the weather has been relatively benign for the past couple of years, notwithstanding the February floods, which cost insurers around £450m compared with £3.3bn following the 2007 disaster. As a result, insurers’ claims costs have been lower than expected, meaning that business has continued to be profitable and has allowed reserves to be grown. This has translated into lower premiums although homes at greatest risk of flooding are likely to have seen large premium increases."

Great estate

Former owner of the Independent Sir Anthony O'Reilly has put his Castlemartin Stud Farm estate in Kilcullen, Ireland, on the market with Knight Frank (pictured above). The early classical Georgian mansion was built in the 1700s and the estate, which has produced numerous top class horses in recent years, stretches to 750 acres, including frontage on the River Liffey for salmon and trout fishing.

What makes homeowners feel safe?

Allianz Insurance asked 1,000 people and three quarters said 'lockable windows'. That was followed by smoke alarms (66 per cent), neighbours keeping an eye on the house when away (45 per cent) and burglar alarms (36 per cent). 

Nearly 90 per cent of people over 55 say that they have kept an eye on their neighbours' house while they've been away, compared to half of 18-24 year olds. Almost a quarter of those polled were also members of Neighbourhood Watch.

Unaffordable heating bills

One in five people plan to cut back on food this winter in order to pay for heating bills, says a new report from the Debt Advisory Centre.

Its survey shows nearly two thirds of the 2,000 people polled are worried about how they will afford their heating bill and one in seven are 'very worried'. Of those who are worried about how they will cover the cost of heating their home, a quarter think they will have to go without heating completely this year. 

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