Sunday, September 18, 2011

Home Insurance 2011

Our home insurance - buildings and contents - is up for renewal at the end of September.  I follow an approach similar to MoneySavingExpert's advice to getting good value.

In previous year's I've found it cheaper to get the buildings part separate to the contents part because that gives 2 lots of cashback.  But this year all the companies seem to have sensibly offered half the cashback amount for one component of insurance so unless the quotes themselves worked out better individually then combined is just as good.

I started with and added the top few quotes to a google spreadsheet, recording: Name, Total Price, Cashback amount, Excess, Legal Cover, and Other Notes.

Chepeast at was Kwikfit at £131.92 with esure close behind at £132.50  The esure quote included Legal Cover and Home Emergency cover.

Then I moved on to GoCompare, who had esure top of their list with the exact same price quote. A quick check on showed that £45.45 cashback for esure.

I tried quoting for buildings and contents individually but the best overall price was £139 and didn't have as much cashback.

So far I'd been quoting for contents without accidental damage cover. I reran the combined quote at GoCompare and the price for esure did not change - £132.50 including accidental damage.  Most other quotes went up by at least £30.

Then I tried changing the excess for each component.  Reducing the excess on the buildings part made the price go up, increasing the excess did not reduce the price.  But for the contents part, reducing the excess did not change the quote from esure - sweet.

I went through to esure and got a direct quote. Initially it came out at a higher amount but after reviewing the options that it had chosen I was able to replicate the £132.50 quote.  I found that I could reduce the voluntary contents excess down to 0 without affecting the quote (£100 mandatory excess).

I also played around with the sum insured for contents. It started covering £22000.  Up to £44500, the quote didn't change, beyond that it did.

So I clicked Buy, finished the paperwork, and I can see that it's tracked correctly on

Net price: £132.50 - £45.45 = £86.55 for unlimited buildings cover with £350 total excess and £44500 contents cover with £100 excess including accidental damage, Legal Cover and Home Emergency

So not as good as a couple of years back, where the contents part was paying me for cover and the buildings part was net £20 or so, but pretty good value.

How far can I run in 1 hour?

I fancied doing the running equivalent of the cycling Hour record, having recently run 7.77 hilly miles within an hour at work.

I didn't do any exercise the day before. I had 2 slices of toast and a proper coffee for breakfast, and set out at 08:51 in intermittent light rain - not bad conditions for running really.

I also had another goal: sub-45 for 10k, which is 7:14.5 min/mile pace, although I hadn't calculated the required pace accurately before I set off.

There's not much to say about the first part of the run. I was fairly lucky with traffic - I didn't have to stop for anything.  The first half mile is downhill which gave me a free head start on my required pace. I just had to hold on to enough of it.

10k arrived after about 44:52 - 7:13 pace. I checked the elapsed time as soon as the distance hit 6.22m, which I thought was just shy of 10k, but actually 10/1.6093 = 6.2139 so at 6.22 I was already past 10k. Woot.

But part of making sure I got 10k sub-45 involved pushing for the last 0.5 miles, raising my heart rate to 182 which is past my aerobic threshold. I was tempted to abort the Hour effort, but figured I'd just ease off a bit so that I could recover.

It took 0.23 miles for my heart rate to come back down to 171, a little lower than I should have let it drop to. My average pace for the recovery section was 8:01, then I picked up the pace again.

With 13:20 to go until the hour arrived, I was happy to work at a decent rate but didn't fancy flogging myself. Over the final section I averaged 7:31 pace, heart rate 175bpm, 1.78 miles.

I was keeping an eye on the watch, but I didn't notice that the hour was nearly up until I had only 15 seconds to go, so I didn't have much time to gain some extra distance in a sprint finish.

Once 1:00:00 arrived on the watch I stopped to catch my breath, reset the watch, and jogged home really slowly as a warm down.

Distance in 1 hour: 8.21 miles.

Re: gradient, the elevation at the start is about 45 metres, and about 15 metres at end, so the net gradient is about 0.23% downhill.