Finding and purchasing a house is only the first part in the journey of a first-time buyer. The next challenge comes when you move in. Preparing to move into your home comes with its own challenges, with insurance a top priority.
You need insurance to protect your first home and everything in it even before you move in.
You should also think about protecting your monthly mortgage payments if you or anyone else responsible for making payments became ill, lost a job or died.
Getting advice about the best products may save you money and ensure you get the protection you need.
Home insurance – protecting your home
When the legal work is finished and contracts are signed, your conveyancer/solicitor will exchange them with the seller’s solicitor, pay your deposit and agree the completion date.
Remember to arrange for buildings insurance on your new home ready for when you exchange contracts.
Your lender will insist on buildings insurance as a condition of your mortgage. It covers your home’s structure against damage caused by things like fire, flood or storm. Always check carefully what the policy costs, what’s covered, and how much it will pay out.
Contents insurance is optional, but most people believe it is a good idea. It covers the cost of replacing the contents of your home if they’re damaged or stolen. You can get cover for all your possessions in the home, and you may be able to extend cover for things you take outside it such as phones and bikes.
You can buy these policies independently or combined in one policy. Many insurers offer discounts when buying buildings and contents cover together.
Protection insurance – safeguarding your income
Life insurance pays out a lump sum if you die during the policy term, and could pay off the mortgage, helping your family keep their home. Level cover will pay off a set amount, while decreasing cover is designed to pay off a repayment mortgage. The amount of cover goes down in line with your remaining mortgage debt.
Critical illness cover is available on its own or as part of a life insurance policy. If you’re diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses listed in the policy, it will provide a cash lump sum payout.
Income protection is designed to provide an income if illness or injury leaves you unable to work. You’ll need to think how much income you might need to replace, and how long you could wait before the policy started to pay out.
Finding your home and arranging your mortgage are major hurdles, but the move itself can be a challenge. There is a great deal to organise.
In the weeks before you move
- Give notice if you live in rented accommodation
- Make arrangements to leave your rented property in as good a state of repair as possible, so you get as much of your deposit back as you can
- Get quotes from removal firms. Check their insurance as they’ll be liable for your belongings while they are in transit
- Start collecting the things for packing i.e. boxes, bags and newspapers
- Tell your utility and broadband companies you’ll be moving
- Contact your home insurance provider and let them know what cover you’ll require for your new home and when you’ll need it to start
- Make a list of everyone who needs your new address and send it to them
On completion day, your seller receives the money, and you’ll get the keys to your new home. You may want to move in immediately:
- Make a note of all meter readings
- Be there when the removal crew arrives so you can guide them around the house
- When the removal company unloads your furniture, check for any damage
Once you’re in
- Notify utility providers
- Notify your council to arrange council tax
- Update the electoral register, as you won’t be automatically registered to vote. You can register to vote on GOV.UK.
- Unpack, making sure to remember which box the kettle is in, and enjoy your new home
- Arrange your house warming party!
Buying a first home is a monumental moment in your life, and even the smallest mistakes can be costly. That being said, there are also lots of possibilities for potential savings. When you move into your new home, you’ll be signing up to new services and new utilities. This means that you can hunt for great deals on:
- Home phone
These may seem trivial to some, but it is a perfect opportunity to get your finances off to a good start. Whether you are a first-time buyer, or a fifth-time buyer, every penny counts.
It may also be worth noting for some, that up to 400,000 homes in England and Scotland have been in the wrong council tax band since the early 90s. If your house is in the wrong band, you can get it lowered. Online council tax calculators can help you to spot any discrepancies.