Money & Insurance > Our Reviews

John Lewis Home Insurance Review

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
May 24, 2017

John Lewis is a name that comes with a high-profile brand and one with a good reputation.

The brand is known for quality services and goods, competitive prices and quality customer service.


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Obviously, that doesn’t mean they always get things right, but top-notch customer service is their USP, and, for the most part, it’s been successful.

Their slogan is: “We always do what’s right for you.”

So, do they live up to that for home insurance cover.

To see if John Lewis can save you money on your home insurance, compare home insurance now.


Who really provides John Lewis insurance?

As is the case with all big-brand retailers who sell insurance, John Lewis doesn’t actually provide the insurance.

It just lends its name to an underwriter whose insurance policies it markets.

In the case of John Lewis, the underwriters are Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance and for John Lewis’s specialist home insurance offering (see below), the underwriter is Covéa Insurance.

It's worth finding out who the underwriter is before you choose home insurance


John Lewis home insurance offer

John Lewis promises you can save “up to” 20% if you buy online and there’s a rather appealing Philips Hue White starter kit, worth £59.99, if you sign up for insurance before 6 July.

This consists of two light bulbs you can control from your smartphone –– basically a security device that deters burglars by making it look like you’re home when you’re not.

Read more: here's how to save money on your home insurance.

That’s the lure, what about the insurance?

John Lewis offers pretty standard options.


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John Lewis buildings & contents

This is what most people will select, and for most is one of the most important parts of our John Lewis home insurance review, as it’s almost always the cheapest way to get cover.

It’s a policy that covers what it says: both the structure of your home and what is in it.

Of course, there are many optional variations within these broad definitions.

There are also four levels of cover – Essential, Plus, Premier and Specialist.

These all offer escalating levels of cover and cover for different things.

Essential is the basic cover and offers as standard:

* Buildings cover up to £400,000 (remember this is the cost of rebuilding your home, which is usually considerably less than the value of your home).
* Contents up to £50,000
* Alternative accommodation up to £50,000
* Valuables single article limit up to £3,000.

And you can tailor your cover up from these basics if you think you need more options or greater levels of cover.


Buildings-only cover

If your contents are covered by another policy or you don’t feel it necessary to insure them, you can opt for buildings insurance alone.

Here, under the basic Essential option, you have £400,000 of cover for your building, £50,000 for alternative accommodation and options of accidental damage to your building and one also for legal cover.


Contents-only cover

If you’re a tenant, your landlord will usually take care of buildings insurance but not contents.

Similarly, if you live in an owned flat, but pay a service charge, the building insurance is probably included in that charge, so you don’t need to worry about it.

In which case, you can opt for contents cover only.

Essential offers a good level of basic cover – up to £50,000 for total loss and £3,000 as the limit for single articles.

If you want to cover personal possessions, which are things that you and members of your family carry away from home, this is an optional extra.

The same is true of John Lewis' coverage for accidental damage.


Specialist cover

This is designed to protect expensive art pieces, antiques, paintings and suchlike, otherwise known as valuables.

It’s also the right cover if you own more than one home, a property abroad, or have a thatched, a listed or a flat-roofed building.

Valuables include anything that’s not considered an ordinary household item. But remember a standard policy will cover an individual item up to £3,000.

Other valuables include:

* Jewellery (including costume jewellery)
* Other things made of gold, silver or precious metals
* Cameras, camcorders or binoculars
* Watches
* Furs
* Paintings and other works of art
* Stamp, coin or medal collections


What’s the difference between buildings and contents insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the building, including any outbuildings such as sheds.

It generally covers your home against risks including flood, fire and subsidence.

Contents insurance covers the possessions in your home. It will cover you against your belongings being stolen and some policies may cover you if something in your home is damaged by accident.

Sometimes the difference between the two can cause confusion –– for example, where does the building end and contents begin? Is a fitted kitchen buildings or contents?

The old home insurance rule usually applies –– imagine tipping your house upside down. Anything staying in place is building and anything that doesn’t is contents.


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Beware of under insurance

Don’t try and save cash by insuring either building or contents for less than their overall value or cost (the cost of rebuilding your home in the case of buildings insurance and NOT the value of your home on the property market).

If you under-insure, this may be considered if you make a claim.

If you have electronics stolen, for example, and it’s decided by the insurer that your entire contents are under-insured by, say, 20%, you may get 20% of knocked off what you’d otherwise be paid for the stolen items.


How John Lewis home insurance is rated

Which? carries out the most comprehensive assessment of customer satisfaction around which we then use in our John Lewis home insurance review.

It also looks at policies and terms and makes an assessment.

Since 2010, Which? has had a recommended provider scheme and John Lewis has been on it from the start.

It scored:

* Which? score: 73% (second out of 31 home insurers)
* Customer score: 72% (6th out of 31)
* Buildings policy score: 74% (12th out of 31)
* Contents policy score: 72% (12th out of 31)

Separately, it scored: five out of five stars for customer service, value for money, and handling of queries and complaints and four out of five stars for clarity of charges.


We like

  • The John Lewis name.
  • They do have a strong brand and the company does seem to go to lengths to preserve it.
  • Always good to know if the worst happens that they are likely to treat you fairly.


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We don’t like

  • If you pay monthly for your premium you’ll be charged interest at 21.1% a year.
  • Check the latest rate if you’re looking at this option and see how it compares with your credit card rate.
  • You may be better off paying on your card and paying off that instead.

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