But how should you go about it? Here are some options:
Insurance via a broker
Obtaining your insurance through an insurance broker has traditionally been the way to obtain cover for your possessions, and many people prefer to do business this way.
"There is definitely room for both brokers and dealing directly with an insurance company," maintains independent financial services consultant Yusuf Wajah. "It is a matter of choice. A broker gives you the opportunity to discuss things face to face rather than with a voice on the telephone. When you consult a broker, they should first do a needs analysis with you."
This analyses your lifestyle, income and possessions to determine the most appropriate insurance for you. It will also include your risk profile, for instance your age, the area you live in, your existing security system, and so on. The lower the risk you represent, the lower your premiums will be.
"A broker will be able to explain all the conditions attached to your insurance policy, such as exclusions and the excess you’ll be liable for if you claim. If you have queries it’s reassuring to have the continuity of a personal relationship, whereas if you are dealing with a call centre you might not get to speak to the same person who took your initial call."
The benefits of using a broker often only become apparent in a crisis, for instance in the event of a complicated claim, they could negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. "An independent broker will have access to all the insurance companies, to recommend the best one for you."
Over the last few years, there has been a move towards dealing with insurance companies directly. Many companies now offer a service where you can arrange insurance by telephone or on the Internet.
"The value is that it is quick and easy to do, and that it eliminates the cost of a middle man or broker," explains Anthea Abrahams, director of Dial Direct Insurance.
The consultants in the call centre should explain every aspect of the policy to you. You are taken through the process step by step. This includes doing a needs analysis and drawing up a risk profile. Claims are also handled over the telephone, which is convenient and may save time for the consumer.
The ultimate responsibility for knowing about your insurance remains yours, however. As soon as you receive your policy, you need to read the policy book and schedule of insurance.
It is essential that you understand what you have insured, what is excluded, and what your excess will be in the event of a claim. You also need to check that your personal information and contact details are correct and up to date at all times.
Insurance for women
Because statistics show that men and women pose a very different risk when it comes to vehicle insurance, some companies now take this into account.
"We introduced lower car insurance premiums for women drivers when research proved conclusively that women have fewer accidents than men," says Robyn Farrell, director of 1st for Women Insurance Brokers. "This translates into a considerable saving."
There is no difference in the risk profile between women and men for other insurance such as home contents, but if you use the same company for all your insurance requirements, the lower car premium will impact positively on your overall premium.
Many companies now also offer added value in the form of 'assist' programmes, such as roadside, medical and trauma assistance and a free towing service. Others offer plumbing and electrical assistance. It is in your interest to find out about these extras when investigating different insurance options.
It is also essential that you alert your insurance company to any dissatisfactory service you may have received. The feedback is necessary to ensure improved service in the industry as a whole. Insurance is not only about the premiums, the service levels are also important.
When shopping around for insurance, make sure you understand the products. For instance, getting cash back for not claiming might sound good, but the premium payable could be higher or your excess could be high.
Fill in the inventory of home contents honestly and accurately, and update it every year.
Remember that if you are under-insured, you will receive a claim payout proportionate to the amount by which you are under-insured.
Keep your payments up to date (preferably using a debit order) otherwise you will not be covered.