Home and contents insurance quotes - don't leave until the last minute

Our home and contents insurance is coming up for renewal and we thought we would shop around to see how different premiums compared to the ones our broker uses.

We found that the following using the NRMA website:

  • about 16 days out from our renewal date, the home and contents premium quoted on the NRMA website was about $2140.

  • 7 days out from our renewal, we decided to generate a new quote with exactly the same information and the quote came in at about $2180. An increase of about $40.

  • 3 days out from our renewal date (which was 19Jan 2018) we again decided to generate a new quote. This time it came in at about $2600, for exactly the same policy coverage. This is an increase of $460 over the first quote.

If we have time, we will do other quotes on the day of the renewal (which is the existing policy expiry date) to see if there is any further increases due to leaving the renewal to the last minute.

Fortunately we saved the first quote and could recover it and use it to renew our insurance (this year the broker couldn’t match the NRMA policy premium).

I am not sure if the NRMA is the only company that escalates premiums the closer to the renewal/commencement date, but the lesson to learn is to do your quotes about 21 days from your renewal/expiry date. 21 days is suggested as this is the duration some of the websites allow you to retain the quote for future use/reference.

Usually some of the information in these saved quotes can also be amended immediately before the premium payment if neeeded…such as increasing/decreasing contents cover or adding specific valuable items to be covered. Also ensure you save the quote and record the quote number for future reference.

Choice may wish to perform say 21 day, 14 day, 7 day and 1 day quotations using the same information when doing their next home and contents insurance review, as changes in premiums the closer to the renewal/expiry date, if industry wide, could save consumers considerable money should one plan a little ahead.


Thanks for the heads up @phb, a $460 difference is significant. I’ll be sure to share this with my colleagues working on finance and insurance.


Just checked today (2 days out from renewal) and the price is $7 less than the 7 days out premium. One would have expected it to be similar to yesterday but maybe the premiums are based on the ‘popular’ days from policy renewal/taking effect…maybe three days out is the sweet spot for new quotes for policies.

Something else I also tried is to see if we lived next door or across the road whether the premiums would be the same. The land parcel size across the road is smaller is size, along with the premium compared to our own house (and including the same coverage details). Neighbour’s propery similar size and the premium was marginally cheaper.

Wonder if the land size is used in the algorithm for automatic policy calculations. This is a bit of a surprise as the land size would only affect cost of fencing, if included in the coverage, and not the replacement value of the house or its contents. The difference is cost was several hundreds between our address and the smaller lot across the road.


This is a really interesting find @phb, thanks for sharing it. When we survey insurers on their quotes we often find discrepancies between the numbers they give us and the numbers we get a few weeks later when we check them. I’ll be sure to test this myself - we know that online stores like Amazon adjust prices up if you looked at a product in the past, and I don’t see any reason why insurers wouldn’t get in on the same racket.

Some insurers’ websites also know when the address you put in matches that of an existing customer, and adjusts the quote accordingly. Some car insurers give different quotes to identical customers in different units in the same building. There’s a raft of transparency issues in insurance pricing.

Lot size is definitely a factor for some insurers, although I’ve mostly seen it in the context of whether you live in the suburbs or on rural acreage. It’s also possible they use that lot size data (which they can access) to approximate home size (which they can’t).


You may be right as I didn’t clear cookies between quotes…as it can be a pain loosing web setting for some other sites you wish settings to be retained. But do clear cookies when I book flights/accommodation and such like for this reason.

I used the same information including street address…I was surprised that their system wasn’t sophisticated enough to advise I already had existing quote for the same address…this could prevent one discovering time based quotes or revisit quote discrepancies. I suspect that NRMA or other insurers, if they do have premium volatility may do the above to hide some of their ‘tricks of the trade’.


You can use incognito mode (as it’s called in Chrome, or private window in Firefox) as an alternative to clearing your cookies.


Just checked on the day of renewal/commencement of the policy and it hasn’t changed since the last quote, that being $7 less than the 7 days out premium.

Unfortunately I didn’t save the $2600 quote as I would like to have gone back to double check the details…even though I am sure I added them carefully and no differently to other quotes.

The thing that does surprise me is the quotes do fluctuate slightly over the three week period, for the same coverage. I would have expected them to be static to allow one to better compare premiums between providers. If all companies fluctuate their premium slightly for the same coverage, it makes it difficult to compare premiums as one doesn’t know if the premium is the cheapest available or one that it slightly more expensive.

I would have thought it would be in the interests of the insurance companies to quote their cheapest premium as this information is generally used as the primary information for decision making. A cheaper policy with same coverage is more likely to be purchases.


Do you think they want us to be able to compare accurately?

They know some policy holders will find the cheapest alternative and use it to negotiate with their current insurer. So a two edged sword for them. They appear to be firmly on the side of obfuscation rather than clarity.


Thanks for sharing @phb, it is really interesting. Just wondering, how did your NRMA renewal notice compare with the different quotes you got?

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In the past we have used an independent broker to buy and purchase policies on our behalf. Previous years, the quotes they obtained very very competitive and close to the lowest quote we could find ourselves…so we would purchase polices through them.

This year we redid our own checks and found NRMA just over $300 less than that found by the broker. We approached the broker to see if their insurers would price match…which in the past they have been able to do when our best was very close to their best. This year they said that they were unable to do so as their lowest cost policy insurer (Resilium) no longer were willing to move.

They fortunately told us what to look for to make sure any policy we took out ourselves had the same coverage that could be offered through them (we chose top house and contents covers, including at least 25% safety net, for our own peace of mind).

This year comparing the major insurers offering similar cover, NRMA was by far the cheapest. Others were in $2500+ range… premium just over $2500 was offered by our broker. That’s why the $2600 NRMA quote at one stage didn’t seem unusual as it was similar to others we and our broker had found. The NRMA premium under $2200 was a pleasant surprise and ended up being the policy we ended up purchasing.

Will be interested to see how next year renewal compares with others.