When that time of year rolls around again and your insurance expires, far too many of us simply renew with our current provider. It might be the simplest thing to do, but you almost certainly won't be getting the best deal.
So the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today announced new measures which should encourage more people to switch insurance providers and shop around.
So what's changing?
Keep an eye on premium increases
What's your insurance premium for this year? If you don't know, nobody would blame you. After all, it was 12 months ago and it's hard enough to remember how much you spent on groceries last week.
From April 2017, your insurer will remind you of last year's premium at each renewal. This way you'll be able to see if you'll be paying more, which should be a nudge to look for a better deal.
A typical home insurance premium increases by £9 a year, according to MoneySuperMarket.com. So by simply renewing, Brits are wasting £37 million annually, when we could be saving £59 each.
More than half of us (54%) chose our home and contents insurance provider because it was the cheapest at the time, based on a MoneySuperMarket study. But if premiums are increasing every time you renew, you're probably no longer getting the best price.
If you have renewed four times in a row, then you will start to get extra messages encouraging you to switch.
Nick Hill, Money Expert at the Money Advice Service, said: "Many of us buy items and subscriptions such as insurances which automatically renew, often on a yearly basis. This can give peace of mind that you won't have a gap in service. However, the danger is you are paying more than you have to. It's good to see that providers will provide stronger reminders to shop around. So take advantage of these reminders and shop around. I would suggest using at least two comparison sites to compare the best options for you. Or if you struggling, try using a broker to do the leg work for you."
The owner of a holiday home in Spain returned to inspect his property after he had let it to a group of young people in their 20s for two weeks, to find that they had created an indoor beach including sand and water to emulate the sea. The youngsters explained that the local beach “hadn’t lived up to their expectations”.
A slightly oblivious swan didn’t see what was coming his way. It was flying happily through the air, completely unaware of a set of high voltage power cables in its flight path which it duly hit. The swan had the shock of its life and dived straight for the roof of a holiday home underneath, crashing through the roof and leaving a massive hole in need of fixing.
At a holiday home in France, a cow walked over a swimming pool cover. As the cow was considerably heavier than the cover could hold, the cover broke and the unsuspecting cow took an involuntary dip in the pool; resulting in considerable damage to the pool and the need for a winch to rescue the distraught bovine.
Holiday guests staying in a Spanish property moved items of furniture from inside the holiday home they were renting, including a sofa, single bed and chest of drawers, into the shallow end of the swimming pool. The guests had been under the influence of alcohol when they’d decided to rearrange the furniture in such a way and claimed they "couldn’t remember" why they had done it.
A particularly passionate couple managed to not only badly scratch the wooden floor of their bedroom by causing the bed to move vehemently, but also caused the bed to break, as well as the bedside lamp and bedside table. The couple explained that all damage had been caused during one session of lovemaking and they apologised profusely.
Following a rental, a holiday home owner made a gory discovery; he found blood splattered all over carpets and walls. After further investigation, he discovered a makeshift cardboard coffin containing a pig’s head in the bin, suggesting that a sacrifice had taken place at his property.
A young couple tried to pursue a claim against the owner of their holiday apartment in Spain on the basis that both bed sheets and towels were "too hard" and caused scratches and irritations on the skin, which prevented them from using the pool and sunbathing comfortably.
A holiday cottage in Devon needed completely redecorating after the holiday guests had decided to have an indoor barbecue on the flagstone floor, as ‘the weather didn’t allow for having it outside’.
One unsuspecting holiday property owner in Italy was shocked to find out that his house had been turned into a brothel by his guests during a four week rental period, resulting in the need for a deep clean and replacement of soft furnishings.
A lady in her late 30s from Manchester sought compensation from the owner of her holiday home in Marbella as the gravel on the driveway "had wrecked" four pairs of her designer stilettos and forced her to replace them with new ones.