NFU Mutual has been named as the UK’s best home insurance provider in Which?’s annual home insurance satisfaction survey, while More Than finished last.
A survey of 1,284 policyholders ranked insurers on levels of satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the provider. Which? experts also examined the providers’ policies in detail – inspecting 85 policy elements. The resulting customer score and policy scores for buildings and contents cover were then combined to create a ‘total score’.
When it comes to cover, Which? found wild variations in the levels available from insurers. The top-scoring policy for contents cover – NatWest’s ‘Premier’ policy – earned a 90 per cent rating – while the lowest score, from Admiral’s ‘Admiral’ policy, was 43 per cent.
The consumer champion is advising home insurance customers to check carefully to ensure that a policy provides the level of cover they need. But, at a time when the cost of living crisis is putting huge pressure on budgets, it is also worth considering if there are unnecessary extras that could be dropped from existing policies, as small changes can lead to significant savings.
Overall, NFU Mutual fared best in Which?’s analysis. While its ‘Home and Lifestyle’ product was beaten by some other policies’ cover, the insurer received an impressive customer score of 87 per cent – propelling it to the top of the leaderboard. With a highly impressive total score of 79 per cent, it charges no admin fees and has a single item cover limit of £7,500 (many insurers cap this at £2,000 or less). NFU Mutual was also the only provider to receive full marks from its customers for how it deals with queries.
NFU Mutual, along with Lloyds Bank, LV, and Saga were all awarded Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status – an award that is based on Which?’s own assessment benchmarks, plus customer scores and star ratings gathered through its regular surveys.
Lloyds Bank was praised by customers for the clarity of its policies. Last year, it launched its ‘Home Insurance Select’ range which has three tiers of cover: ‘Bronze’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Gold’.
LV’s ‘Home Insurance’ and ‘Home Insurance Plus’ policies both performed strongly, impressing Which?’s experts, and the provider received a customer score of 71 per cent. Its Home Insurance policy includes some accidental damage cover as standard – though limited to specific types of damage, such as to cables, sanitary ware, fixed glass and home entertainment equipment (the ‘Plus’ policy has wider cover as standard). It also provides optional home emergency cover of £1,000 per call-out.
Saga (‘Plus’) pays up to £2,000 for home emergencies and will cover up to £10,000 of students’ contents when kept away from home. It received a customer score of 70 per cent.
More Than achieved a total score of 56 per cent – the only provider surveyed not to score over 60 per cent. Its policy scores were roughly mid-table among the 58 policies we analysed – however, it had the lowest customer score in our survey – a disappointing 49 per cent.
Some policies were not always as generous in providing cover as some customers might expect.
Accidental damage, for example, was the most common reason customers in the survey claimed. The cover was available in all but three (of 58) policies we examined. However, only a third of the policies covered it generally as standard.
In many cases, standard cover was restricted to specific breakages – such as to pipes, cables and windows. To receive full accidental damage cover, customers may find they have to add on additional extras to their policies for real peace of mind.
Since January, insurance companies have been prevented by the Financial Conduct Authority from offering new customers special discounted rates for home insurance, putting an end to the widespread practice of ‘price walking’. This meant customers were charged more the longer they stayed loyal to their insurer.
One consequence of this may be higher premiums for new policies. The consumer champion is therefore urging customers to shop around to make sure they find a deal that is right for them before committing.
Even if customers are happy with their current provider, haggling remains an effective option when it comes to trying to reduce bills.
Jenny Ross, Which? Money Editor, said:
“With different levels of cover aimed at different types of customers, home insurance can be tricky to navigate. But taking the time to find a policy that’s right for you could save you money.
“At a time when the cost of living crisis is affecting millions of households across the country, doing your research to strip out any extras you don’t need could save you precious pounds.”
Notes to Editors
Which? advice on choosing the right insurance policy
When it comes to choosing the right insurance policy, the key thing is not to assume most policies are similar – or that commonly claimed-on features come as standard. Providers are increasingly offering different levels of cover aimed at different types of customer – whether the property you’re protecting requires a specific type or amount of cover – or whether your intent is to spend as little money as possible on just the basics.
Taking the time to work out what you truly need from an insurance policy will ensure you don’t end up paying for things you don’t want, or only finding out when you come to claim that you don’t have the cover you assumed you did.
Itemise the key things you need and expect from your home insurance, and check the policy wording to see if these are addressed. If you can’t find clear evidence that the cover you want is provided, it’s safest to be cautious and call the insurer to confirm.
Which? Recommended Provider status
To achieve Which? Recommended Provider status, providers must meet certain conditions:
- be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- be available to the general public
- have received responses from 30 or more customers in our customer survey
- must achieve a high score in our customer satisfaction survey
- Its standard policy must also achieve average or higher policy scores for buildings and contents.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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