Top 10 Home Insurance Companies 2016

Ronny Lavie By Ronny Lavie

Our top 10 is based on the quality of cover and independent reviews that take into account factors such as customer satisfaction and complaints handling. We have negotiated exclusive deals with a number of quality home insurers, find out more here.

  1. John Lewis Insurance – Plus and Premier policies
  2. Hiscox
  3. M&S Bank – Standard and Premier
  4. LV=
  5. Tesco Bank
  6. Nationwide – Home Insurance Essentials and Home Insurance
  7. More Than – Home Choice Insurance (upgraded cover)
  8. Aviva – Bedroom Rated and Sum Insured
  9. Lloyds Bank – Home Solutions
  10. Churchill – Home Insurance and Home Plus

Read on to learn about:

Our home insurance offers

Bought By Many is making insurance fairer by using the group buying power of our members to negotiate exclusive deals with insurers.

We have a range of home insurance offers with providers that have been rated five stars by independent financial reviews. Our members can get up to 50% off a policy with Together Mutual or a guarantee to beat an existing quote, both offers come with a £20 M&S voucher.

There is an exclusive cashback deal with HomeProtect for people in flood-risk areas and those with specialist home policies.

We also have a deal on home insurance for cyclists. Find out more about all our home insurance offers here.

How we came up with our top 10 home insurance

We used independent research into the quality of the cover and customer service home insurance providers offer. To compare the price of their policies you can go directly to their sites or use a comparison site such as Go Compare.

First, we used an impartial financial services rating service that looks at the level of cover provided by insurers. All of the policies in our list have five out of five stars, which means they offer “an excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits”.

Then we consulted the in-depth reviews written by Which?.

Finally, we looked at the percentage scores awarded by Fairer Finance. Fairer Finance rates companies for customer happiness, complaints handling, trust and transparency.

Our top 10 reflects the best performing companies from each of those sources. It does not include specialist home insurance policies, but there’s information on specialist cover further down this piece.

What makes a good Home Insurance policy?

There are three main types of home insurance – buildings, contents, and buildings and contents combined.

If you live in a rented house or flat you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance, it is your landlord’s job to sort that out (you might want to make sure they have!). Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility. Owner occupiers are likely to need both buildings and contents insurance. Click on the link to jump to the section on making sure you’re getting the right level of cover.

You can judge a policy by the amount it pays out for the core features of buildings and contents cover, how quickly companies pay out, how easy the claims process is and how much cover you’re getting for things like valuables, accidental damage or bike cover.

The best home insurance policies also include alternative accommodation for you and the inhabitants of your home if it needs to be rebuilt. But it can vary widely from company to company – here’s how the top policies perform:

John Lewis Plus buildings and contents cover - Up to £115,000 for alternative accommodation

John Lewis Premier - Unlimited alternative accommodation

Hiscox - Up to £150,000 over 3 years

M&S Bank Standard - Up to £1,000,000

M&S Bank Premier – Unlimited

All of the top three providers include pets in their alternative accommodation cover.

With contents insurance it’s easy to set the level of cover to the value of your possessions, but it’s important to know how the contents of your home is defined and what part of the policy covers it.

Some companies limit the value of any single item you insure (for example, items worth over £2,000 might need to be declared separately). These items are classed as valuables and there can be separate limits for individual items and the total amount of valuables you own.

Here are the contents limits for the top three:

John Lewis Plus - Contents: £115,000; valuables: £20,000

John Lewis Premier - Contents: unlimited; valuables: £40,000

Hiscox - Contents: unlimited; valuables: let them know how much cover you need

M&S Bank Standard - Contents: £100,000; valuables: £25,000

M&S Bank Premier – Contents: unlimited; valuables: £50,000

Hiscox and John Lewis’s Premier policy offer cover for personal possessions, which includes items such as mobile phones and jewellery, away from your home. Other policies, such as M&S’s, offer it as an optional extra.

Bikes are often treated as a separate entity in relation to home insurance. In fact, we have looked at the best home insurance for pedal bikes separately because there can be a lot to consider if protecting your bike is a high priority.

Comprehensive policies will also provide some level of accidental damage cover for anything you might break or damage in your home. Cover levels vary but the very best policies have no limit on claims.

They may also include home emergency policies, where they will send someone out to fix problems such as a leak or broken boiler. Find out how to get one of the best home emergency policies for free.

Other than policy features some companies aim to attract customers with special offers such as cashback, vouchers and discounts. While it’s not a good idea to choose a policy based on this alone if you’re torn between two insurers with similar, quality products it can help tip the scales.

At the moment John Lewis is giving new home insurance customers a £40 John Lewis voucher if they take a Premier or Specialist policy before the end of March. New Plus customers will receive a £25 voucher.

M&S is offering a £40 Marks & Spencer food voucher for new customers who join before April 13.

It is important to know exactly what is and isn’t covered by your policy and to make sure you choose the most suitable cover for your home. That might not be the most expensive but it doesn’t mean you should go straight for the cheapest.

What does house insurance cost?

  • The average premium paid by UK customers for combined buildings & contents insurance is £291 per year (source: ABI)
  • For buildings insurance only, the average cost is £230 per year
  • Contents insurance only costs £124 per year on average
  • But you might pay more or less than that depending on a number of factors that influence the cost

The best contents insurance

We looked at the providers in our top 10 home insurance list to see which companies offer the best individual contents policies. Find out which came top in our guide to the best contents insurance.

Pros and cons of home insurance comparison sites

With the rise in popularity of comparison sites, many people simply look for the cheapest price when choosing an insurance company, believing it to be the best deal. However, that is often not the case.

Comparison sites, such as and Go Compare, certainly have their advantages – they make home insurance reviews much more accessible and transparent, and they encourage competition between insurance companies, which in turn pushes premiums down.

However, part of this competition is the trend among insurance companies to create cheap policies that place them at the top of the comparison sites' price-based lists, but don’t offer sufficient cover for many customers’ needs.

What's more, some of the best-known insurance companies, such as Aviva Home Insurance (which is ranked 8th on our Top 10 list) and Direct Line Home Insurance, are not on comparison sites as a matter of principle.

How to get the right level of home insurance cover

With buildings insurance you need to insure your house for the amount it will cost to rebuild, which is likely to be different to its market value. It can be less than you expect because the market value of the property is often much higher than the cost of the construction.

You can use the free calculator provided by the independent Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) to work out the rough rebuild cost of your home.

For contents insurance, it is important not to under-insure; that is to buy a policy that’s cover is lower than the value of your possessions. Many people simply under-estimate the value of everything they’ve built up over the years while others forget that some items, like inherited jewellery or collections, can increase in value.

To be safe, go through your house room-by-room, round everything up and don’t forget about smaller items, such as clothes and toiletries. They may not be worth much individually but if the worst happens and you have to replace everything in your house, you will be surprised how quickly it all adds up.

It is possible to get separate, dedicated policies for high risk, high value items such as gadgets, watches and engagement rings. So it is worth comparing the cost, particularly since your home insurance no claims bonus would be unaffected if you claim on a different policy for a high-value item.

Empty homes – even if only temporarily empty – may not be covered by standard home insurance policies. Typically, if your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days it may invalidate your policy. You can get a separate policy for unoccupied properties or holiday homes, but either way, be sure to tell your insurance company if no one will be living in your house for more than 30 days.

Specialist home insurance companies

We excluded a number of companies because their cover is restricted to or targeted at specific sections of the population. NFU Mutual caters almost exclusively to homes in rural areas, and Age UK Home Insurance and Saga Home Insurance are aimed at the over 50s. However, all three received high scores from Which? and Fairer Finance, as well as five stars from Defaqto.

Some of the mainstream providers in our list also offer specialist policies. For example, John Lewis offers a specialist policy that at the time of writing has a 15% online discount and a £40 John Lewis voucher for new customers buying it before the end of March.

We have negotiated an exclusive cashback deal with specialist provider HomeProtect for people in flood-risk areas and those with specialist home policies.

Find out more about home insurance in flood areas and how Flood Re is helping, and what to do if you're refused a home quote.

Another specialist insurance company we looked at but did not include in the Top 10 list of companies is Sterling Insurance.

The Sterling Executive Home insurance policy offers exceptionally high levels of cover for expensive and non-standard home contents, such as cycling gear, horse-riding tack, golf clubs and equipment, collections, and jewellery.

Like Age UK and Saga, Sterling also provides home insurance policies for the over 50s, as well as covering homes of 'non-standard' construction and listed buildings.

Best home insurance for flood risk areas

The government's Flood Re scheme has encouraged companies to offer more competitve premiums for homes in flood-risk locations.

See our article on Flood Re for a guide to the best providers for flood-risk homes.

Home insurance reviews

Learn more about the best home insurance companies and find out what their customers think by reading our expert reviews.

What next?

Bought by Many exists to make the insurance industry a better place. We gather people together who are struggling with the industry in some way – it might be that the cover does not exist, that the cover is very hard to find, or that it is simply inappropriately expensive. We then use the collective power of our groups to negotiate with insurers to solve those problems.

To see if we’ve solved your problem, you can browse our groups or see the “Related Offers” below.

Related Offers

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