Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

We're just coming up to our home insurance renewal. For the last couple of years, I managed to cut the cost to a fraction of what it was some years back, using only companies highly rated by Which? magazine.

Our renewal invitation is still at a price lower than we paid three or four years ago, but nonetheless the new price level is a 71% jump from last year. Since there's been no change in our circumstances, I rang the company to check that there had not been a mistake. I was told not. The very pleasant representative told me that there had been a change in rating criteria which may have affected our policy. She then tried to run my details as a new quote and the result came back that had our application been submitted as new business, it would have been declined.

Digging deeper, I asked if she could say what the reason for that is. She then told me that it was showing as declined 'due to area'. Apparently at least one postcode on the Ladder has become too high a risk for some insurers. My Insurer is RIAS. Yesterday, I checked a few other companies I've insured with in the past including LV (Liverpool & Victoria). They too were a no quote. So something has happened with our mid-Ladder postcode that is showing it as higher-risk. It's not universal - plenty of other insurers were prepared to quote. That suggests it's a borderline issue that has arisen in the last year. The 'wisdom of the web' doesn't give any readily available clues as to what's going on. 

The RIAS representative did explain that the decline-to-quote didn't necessarily relate to anything negative about the area such as burglary: it might mean that there has been an increase in claims or, for example in wealthy areas that the claims levels are very high. 

Speaking with Ian Sygrave at the LCSP, he told me that there's been no change in burglary rates over the past year and that in fact the mid-term trend is downward. There has however been an increase in people reporting ASB - not necessarily a real-world increase, but an increase in reporting, as people have been encouraged to do. Most of it tends to be street-related, rather than home-related, but it's been at a level sufficient to register on police systems - more on that at the next LCSP meeting.

This leaves me wondering if, whilst most insurers don't rate based on ASB reporting, RIAS and LV, on the other hand, choose to sweep it in with burglary rates, leading to them declining insurance. Does anyone understand anything about home insurance risk rating, particularly as it applies to area / postcode? Has anyone else had an experience similar to ours this year?

In the meantime, we've stayed with RIAS, because it's a good insurance company and apart from a new company called Frontier, it was the lowest price available. 

Tags for Forum Posts: buildings insurance, contents insurance, home insurance

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But the river had always been there, so, had the Post Office suddenly implemented a new computer software system with more rejection based algorithms and/or decided that they had enough basic business to carry on, so they could throw you out as being too risky to contemplate a pay out? Has climate change meant that the New River is more of a risk, or wrongly perceived as so? It does seem sharp practice that they take your money for years, you build up your no claims status (I never understand why you can't apparently carry that with you as a new customer elsewhere, or is it difficult to prove?), and then say you're too high risk, although the risk has always been the same. As you say, they can do what they like, & one has to take the time to shop around - and thereby likely pay more to start again.

Didn't ever get a straight answer. "These things can change" was about as good as I got.

Somewhat related to this interesting thread, does anyone know whether insurance companies have become less worried about tall trees in gardens than say 35 years ago?  Before we moved here we used to get asked searching questions about trees in our and neighbouring gardens, and it was quite tricky.  Now we live near tall trees that have grown in our neighbours’ gardens and the neighbours are not concerned, and we never get asked about trees when renewing insurance.  But we are concerned about the trees, and would prefer to be able to cite insurance problems when mentioning these tall trees.

I hope I’ve expressed all that clearly, and would welcome any remarks or experience of this.  Thanks.

That does seem perhaps to be true, in my experience; and for clarity to others reading this, it seems to be/have been about the particular tree(s) and more about the rate at which they grow thus affecting root to foundations damage, & that being perhaps less important than storm damage & being struck by lightening (& falling on to properties). I've got something about trees and the distance to my house, but mine is a modern, robust house with much thicker layered (insulated) walls than that of an old property. I've also declared I'm next door to a conservation area, where only certain prescribed measures can be taken towards the trees just over my fence. It's not been a problem.
Years ago, I lived in flats higher than the tallest trees nearby, but I recall my parents having problems with their insurance co. suddenly asking about the neighbours' trees far away down the huge garden behind the boundary, asking about the type etc, cos they were fast growing very tall trees unwisely put in for privacy, and deemed unsuitable for an urban environment. It would appear that the neighbours themselves suddenly had problems with their insurance too once the trees reached a certain height, as they had to keep having them trimmed.
It seems that, while happy to provide a basic low risk service, a lot of insurance companies are the same as other types of companies: frightened of anything that may mean some challenges, & would rather turn away or lose business than deal effectively with the computer algorithms that do not ultimately serve anyone to the best intent of the original ideology. 

Are you going through a broker, or somehow directly to the insurance companies? I found it cheaper going through a broker, despite their fee.

I only had problems in the first year finding any company to quote due to my house being a new-build, so the postcode was unrecognised, and due to an 80% flat roof, with a single ply membrane over all of it that the insurance cos. had not heard of, so they wouldn't believe that it could be any good despite compliance with building regs.. The nearest option on the insurance form was far inferior & historically prone to leakage. It seems that most of my neighbours hadn't understood the (same) roofs, and had unwittingly made a false declaration as to its construction, not realising they may have not been covered at all.

I'll see if there are any changes for my area come February when I renew.

There has been an unfortunate move on my estate to discourage people from reporting any antisocial behaviour, lobby parcel theft, or vandalism (few break-ins thankfully due to the robust nature of the build), which was high just prior and during lockdown times, stating that people who did report to the police were making things more expensive for everyone with their insurance costs, sadly failing to see or care about the bigger picture! The argument for reporting is always provided by the police - that if one does report incidents, then they get more resources allocated to the area, but some people only seem to think of the shorter term immediate costs until they or their immediate neighbours experience a serious problem themselves, then they disengage themselves from their own previous strategy, stating that everyone is free to make their own choices! Very difficult for those with less experience when they're among manipulative (and nosey) people like that. 

Crime doesn't usually suddenly go up in just one postcode area, but police reports efficiency might vary, and certain insurance companies can suddenly change their systems, which may suggest that it does go up, and then the word spreads and the heebeegeebies set in.
I do hear of others saying "Oh my insurance co. says my postcode is particularly highlighted as high risk, but they have no comment as to why the next door area isn't.". To my mind it's fearmongering from the insurance cos., and most unhelpful, particularly when we can't possibly know the whole picture.

Same problem Mt View Rd. I don't know why, but suspect subsidence. Car insurance, even on unattractive old car, also astronomical

Similar on the other side of GL: 20% increase in contents insurance premium (which Nationwide would only vaguely “explain” as the result of “more claims” when I questioned it), but I managed to avoid a similar rise in buildings insurance by using a broker, who found the same cover elsewhere at about 10% less than I’d previously been quoted. I do wonder if insurers are just grasping for new excuses to hike premiums and subvert the “parity with new customers” legislation.

I can only dream of a 20% premium increase! Same question as to John, is that Nationwide Mutual or Building Society?

Try Nationwide. Just got next years quote, £266.38 pa with interest free payments if you want to pay monthly. This is for a whole house on Hewitt Road. I think you need to be a member, though.

Is that Nationwide Mutual or Nationwide Building Society? My quote with with latter, same road was £365. 

Nationwide Building Society. The renewal letter says 'As you may remember, when you took your policy out, we offered you a 25% discount for being a Nationwide member. This meant the premium was 25% less than for people who weren't members. We'd like to support all our customers through the cost of living crisis and beyond, so we are now offering this price to non-members too'.

This may mean you need to have an account with them but not necessarily a current account. Be worth checking with them...

Nationwide Building Society for my contents insurance. I do have a savings account with them too, but not sure I get any better rate as a result.

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