If you’re going the extra mile to make your home eco-friendly (and save money), be it by fitting the best possible insulation, switching to a renewable energy provider or installing your own solar panels, it makes sense to ensure that your insurance provider is in line with your ethics.
Things to consider when looking for a more responsible insurer include whether the company has an ethical investment policy, its environmental stance and legal structure (for tax avoidance). To get you started, we’ve pulled together four of the most ethical insurers on the market, including those that have a specific focus on ‘eco homes’.
With 10 per cent of the premium you pay going towards environmental projects and discounts for energy efficiency, insurance broker Naturesave certainly wears its eco credentials on its sleeve (which makes it a rare breed in the insurance industry).
Naturesave provides cover for all types of buildings, including self-build and eco homes, as well as alternative builds like timber-framed or straw bale houses. Renewable energy systems including solar PV panels and biomass boilers are covered as standard, which is unusual in the sector. It also offers discounts for energy efficiency practices in the home.
As an insurance broker, Naturesave says it aims to select partners that have committed to stopping underwriting new fossil fuel projects. While all of its partners are still investing to varying degrees in fossil fuels, Naturesave says “we continue to use our long standing and growing presence in the market to apply pressure for change that we hope will ultimately lead to a truly fossil fuel-free insurance product.”
Through its ‘Campaign for Divestment’, the company lobbies the insurance industry to urgently divest from the fossil fuel activities that harm the planet and the people living on it.
For those who value good customer service, Naturesave handles all of its claims in-house and doesn’t use call centres. The company, which is a carbon neutral business, will also plant a tree for every new policy issued.
In June 2022, Totnes-based Naturesave was bought by Lloyd & Whyte, a broker within the Benefact Group. The Benefact Group is itself owned by a charity and all profits go towards good causes. The Benefact Group’s investments are handled by sustainable investment specialists EdenTree.
The Environmental Transport Association, or ETA, is an insurance company that’s owned and run by environmentalists who are committed to promoting sustainable transport.
The company has scored top marks for being an ethical insurer (along with Naturesave) by the Good Shopping Guide since 2015. The guide says: “We encourage other companies in the Insurance sector to follow ETA’s example and adopt more ethical policies and practices.”
As its name would suggest, the company’s major focus is on transport insurance (including cycling) and 10 per cent of its premiums help to support a campaign for sustainable transport. It has also run nationwide campaigns like Green Transport Week, Car Free Day and Twenty’s Plenty to name a few. It does, however, also offer home insurance policies.
ETA gives its customers the option to offset the carbon impact of their insurance policy for £7 per month or £84 per year.
Ecclesiastical offers ethical insurance for churches, charities and community organisations. Since 2016, the firm says it has donated more than £100 million to over 10,000 charities that are tackling issues like poverty, disability, education, health and heritage.
It has donated £1,000 each to 250 charities from across the UK as part of Ecclesiastical Insurance and the Benefact Group’s Movement for Good Awards.
If you take out a policy with Ecclesiastical it will donate £130 to your church or cathedral, and there’s no limit to the number of donations.
Like Naturesave above, Ecclesiastical is part of the Benefact Group, a financial services group that exists to give its profits to charity. The group has donated £200 million to charities since setting its first giving target in 2014.
Ecclesiastical was named as a Which? Best Buy for Buildings and Contents insurance in May 2023.
Launched in 2019, Arma Karma offers an ethical monthly subscription “possession-based insurance” which covers the belongings you care about most. Rather than offering blanket contents insurance as many insurance providers do, you can keep costs low by choosing the individual items you wish to insure. These will be covered both at home and abroad.
If you choose Arma Karma for your home insurance, it will donate 25 per cent of its cut to the charity of your choice (from a panel of four). It will also plant a tree for every new sign-up (to date it has planted 5.514 trees, saving 96.13 tonnes of carbon). Arma Karma also receives top marks in the Good Shopping Guide’s ethical insurer rankings table.
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