Although it’s an easy way of making sure your cover doesn’t expire, letting your home insurance auto-renew can mean you’ll end up paying more.
Unless you tell your insurer not to auto-renew, most policies will automatically roll-over at the end of the policy.
If this happens it could mean you’re missing out on a better deal with a different provider.
Auto-renewal means that when your policy comes to an end your insurer automatically rolls it over to start again.
This usually happens around 12 months from when you first took out the policy.
Your insurer must contact you at least 21 days before your policy is due to end to tell you they’ll be renewing your contract.
When insurers auto-renew they’ll often increase your premium from the previous year - even if nothing’s changed on your policy.
In the same way that inflation rates can increase the cost of living, they can also impact the cost of your home insurance.
And if you’ve made a claim, added more expensive items to your policy, or extended your property since you last took out cover, this can also boost the cost.
Another factor that contributes to your premiums rising is insurers saving their best deals for new customers.
This is paid for by increasing the renewal prices for existing customers.
Our research found that two thirds (67%) of Brits let their home insurance automatically renew, which means potentially missing out on price savings or more suitable cover.
This can depend on your circumstances and how much cover you need. Any claims you’ve made in the previous year can also have an impact.
Making changes to your home that increase its rebuild cost, like adding an extension, and increasing the amount you need to cover, can lead to a bump in cost.
Even if you haven’t made any changes it’s likely that you’ll see a rise.
However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are putting a new law in place from 1 January 2022 which bans insurers from over-inflating home insurance premiums. This means that you’ll pay the same as new customers.
This should prevent big price hikes but in readiness for this insurers may increase premiums in the run-up.
This is a payment that some insurance providers automatically take from you as a deposit before the policy renewal.
The deposit amount is the same as a monthly premium and only applies to customers who pay for their insurance every month.
If you decide to renew with your current insurer, they’ll deduct this amount from the renewal price.
If you auto-renew your policy the process is automatic - it’s easy because you don’t need to do anything.
But there can also be major drawbacks to auto-renewal.
The price can be much higher and the amount of cover you need since you last took out a policy may have increased - simply auto-renewing might mean you’re not fully protected.
It’s quick and easy to compare insurance cover and prices from different providers.
Doing this in good time before your current policy ends can help to make sure you have the right cover at the right price.
It’s important to check the amount of cover you need hasn’t changed. It may have increased or decreased depending on your circumstances.
Find out whether any items of jewellery or antique furniture have increased in value since you last had them insured.
Remember that items over a certain value may take you over the single item limit and might need to be listed separately.
Plus, if you’ve made home improvements and done anything that would increase the rebuild value of your home, you’ll need to let your insurer know.
Even though you’re auto-renewing, it’s still a good idea to get comparison quotes so that you can negotiate the renewal price with your current provider or decide to switch.
If your insurance has already auto-renewed you’ll be given a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind.
During this time, you can contact your insurer to cancel your policy. To do this they’re likely to charge you an administration fee.
If you cancel after the cooling-off period the charges are likely to be higher.
If you’ve built up your no-claims discount (NCD) you should be able to transfer this to your new provider without any difficulty.
This is because there are records insurers can check to find out how long you’ve gone without claiming.
However, if there’s a break between policies it can be harder to move your NCD, as insurers usually want you to have had continuous cover.
Most home insurance policies last for 12 months, so you’ll need to renew your cover annually.
To get the best prices and quotes, it pays to start comparing policies from four weeks before your policy is due to end.
It doesn’t happen often, but insurers may refuse a renewal in certain circumstances.
For example, if you’ve made a lot of costly claims over the last 12 months or have been behind in paying your premiums.
If this happens your insurer may decide not to renew your policy for another year.
Speak to your insurer to find out why your renewal has been refused to see if you can resolve the issue. If they won’t renew your cover you can shop around for policies from other providers.
There are several ways to help keep your insurance premiums down:
Unless it’s a condition of your mortgage look around for cheaper alternatives
This reduces the amount of interest you pay and can reduce the cost of your home insurance
Use a contents calculator to make sure you’re not paying for more cover than you need
Improving your security with measures like burglar alarms and secure window and door locks can mean insurers offer a discount
Not making any claims on your home insurance can help to reduce your renewal premium
Buying contents and buildings cover together can sometimes be cheaper than buying two policies separately