Rule number 1 – Economies of Scale!
It might be common sense to most people, but it is often overlooked, you need to get all your properties on one policy to get the best deals.
At first you need to add all your properties to one policy as each one becomes due for renewal. Once they are all on the same policy, you have a more attractive proposition for underwriters, and they will literally fight over your business.
You will also find they give you better unoccupancy terms, as they have the better risks to offset the unoccupied properties.
This may mean you pay a little more in the short term, but pays dividends in the long term.
Rule number 2 – Shop smart!
I have lost count of the number of times I have been in a position to save a client some money, only to find another broker has got a quote from one of my favoured insurers and done a half arsed job. Why does this matter? Well once an insurer gives one broker a quote, they can’t give a lower quote elsewhere.
How do you avoid this happening to you? You pick your insurance broker carefully! You should only use a max of 3 brokers when getting a quote to prevent the same underwriters seeing your case from different brokers. The three brokers should also include the your current one. There are less insurers left these days, and their underwriters are snowed under, and don’t like seeing the same quote 6 times. Which means you may get left at the bottom of the underwriters pile.
Once you have decided on which insurance broker to use, ask them who they are approaching, and who they think out of those will give the best terms for your needs. A good insurance broker will already have a gut feeling who will be best for you, from their discussions with you. Compare the insurers who they are approaching, and if there is overlap don’t be afraid to ask them not to approach an insurer the other broker is suggesting. It will get you a better deal.
Rule number 3 – Information is king!
Don’t hide your light behind a bushel, tell your chosen insurance broker about the way you run your property portfolio. If you have a poor claims history, tell them your plan to reduce the number of claims/accidents/thefts.
If you have a great claims history, tell them why it’s so good i.e planned maintenance, regular inspections, security guards on unoccupied premises.
Rule number 4 – Buyer Beware!
Remember price isn’t everything. There are a number of things you needs to consider, but the most important thing is the quality of the insurer, it is one thing saving money on your property insurance and keeping the bank manager happy, but if you have a major fire, you want your claim to be settled promptly.
Don’t be afraid to google the insurer to see what people think, a good way of checking up on an insurer is to go to http://www.insurancetimes.co.uk/ and put the insurers name in the search box, the stories it returns may help you make a decision.
You also need to consider the following and how they suit your needs:
1. Damage/Theft Excess – Or more importantly can you afford an excess that high should the worse happen? Or could you afford more to lower the premium?
2. Type of cover – is it basic, or full accidental damage? Does it match your attitude to risk?
3. Insurer Solvency – Is the really cheap premium you have just been quoted with an insurer you have heard of? Ask the insurance broker the insurers rating…..it should start with an A!
4. Premium payment – If you can’t pay in a lump sum, how much will they charge you for credit. It’s ok getting a cheap quote only to get stung with a 10% credit charge, negotiate!
Follow the above rules and you will get a good deal, and great cover with a quality insurer.