A Guide to Combining Households

6 minutes

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With the days getting colder and darker, many of us are craving someone to stay in with, or maybe even move in with…

  • More couples and friends are moving in together to save more money and pay less rent
  • You may be able to transfer your buildings and contents insurance over to the next property
  • A third of couples have been forced to live together for a year after breaking up
Due to the pandemic and rental crises in the big cities, pushing renting costs to an all time high, more and more couples are buying homes together. Further to this, the cost of living crisis is making it awfully tempting for new couples to move in together to make life a little more affordable, splitting rent and bills. 

How do you know when you’re ready to move in with a partner? 

So, you’ve been together a while and it’s time to take the next step in your relationship, or maybe you and your bestie are fed up of paying rent on your own… but, how do you know when you’re ready to move in together? Here’s five signs you’re really ready to take the next step, according to the experts:

  • You can easily talk about money 
    When combining households, you’ll also need to combine finances. This means having honest conversations with each other about all things money, from debt and upcoming rent payments to unpaid bills, deposits and savings. You need to be ready to reveal any financial secrets too, as combining households could affect each other's financial standings.
  • You know how to take care of shared spaces and items 
    With a shared home comes shared items and shared rooms. After all, you can’t both keep all of your belongings… no one needs two sofas! Be ready to show respect and take care of shared spaces and possessions, from keeping your new home clean and tidy to not using your new housemate’s speakers as a coffee table.
  • Your habits fit
    You’ll find it much easier to build and create a shared living space when you have similar habits. For example, if you both like to wind down after a long day watching a tv series, then a big tv and sound system could be the most important thing to have in your home. If you’re both habitual savers, you’ll have a far less stressful time moving in together and sharing living costs than you would with a big-spender. Imagine the stress.
  • Living together is not just about saving money
    Whether it’s to finally get out of your parents’ house, or to make the move to the big city on an already stretched income, couples and friends who want to move in together need to be driven by more than just affordability. Living together can be difficult, so it’s important that you don’t rush into it. 
  • You agree on budget
    There are dream homes, then there are ‘right-now’ homes. What’s important is that you can both agree on what you want from a property, where you want to live and how much you want to spend - it’s also important to be realistic. If you’re making the move together, you’ll need to have had an honest conversation about expectations, costs and deal-breakers.

Getting organised

It’s not just about deciding that you’re both ready, because when it comes to combining households, there’s a lot more to think about. From packing and combining your belongings, to opening bank accounts and even what kind of insurance you need – it’s a lot more admin than choosing sofas and deciding who gets the most wardrobe space.

As much as moving in together is a great excuse to browse the aisles of your favourite home stores, there's a couple of boring admin bits that need to be completed before you can put your feet up. When moving in together for the first time, having a clear idea of each other's financial responsibilities is important. 

You’ll need to put together a budget before deciding how you’ll split the cost of living together - whether that’s splitting everything in half or taking on set responsibilities for certain bills and payments. The same can be said for household chores – who’s emptying the bins and who’s cleaning the bathrooms?!

If you’re planning to split all outgoings between you, it’s worth considering a joint bank account for bills and rent. A joint account will make it easy for you both to contribute each month, and provides a central place for direct debit bill payments to come out of.

What insurance cover do you need when moving in together?

Building insurance
If you’re thinking of getting on the property ladder together, you’ll need to make sure your new home is covered by building insurance - this is something your mortgage provider will insist on. Building insurance protects the structure of your home, and you’ll only need one policy between the both of you. Find out more on what’s covered in building insurance.

For renters, organising building insurance will be down to the landlord - so that’s one thing already ticked off the list. Make sure you still take care of the property though, or risk losing your security deposit when you eventually move out. It might be worth looking into getting accidental damage insurance to protect you from those accidental wine spills or stubborn make-up stains.

Contents insurance
So, we’ve spoken about covering the building above, but what about what’s inside it? Contents insurance will cover all of your most prized and valued possessions in the event of a fire, flood or break in and should be set up whether you’re renting or buying.

Our contents insurance explained article goes into more detail on what you need and what’s covered. While you’re at it, why not try out our home contents insurance calculator to work out how much your stuff is worth.

For couples living together, it's worth taking out a joint contents insurance policy to cover the whole home. This is cheaper than a standard home contents only policy, but bear in mind that any claims your partner makes will go on your record, meaning you may face higher premiums when it comes to renewing. 

If you’re planning to take any items outside of the house, such as laptops and phones, you’ll need to check with your insurer to make sure they’re covered under your contents insurance. Learn more about insurance cover away from the home.
When shopping for new sofas and TVs for your new home, and especially when you’re both combining your valuables with your partner's expensive jewellery tastes and gadgets, make sure to check the amount of money you’re insured for under home contents insurance.

It’s also worth taking a closer look at your policy to see if it covers ‘goods in transit’ - there’s always something that doesn’t make it in one piece!

If you already have home insurance and want to continue with your current policy, make sure you get in touch to update your address once you’ve moved.

Health insurance
As you take the first big leap into combining your lives you might also want to start thinking about combining your health insurance too - especially if you’ve bought a house together. Some mortgage providers will even ask for you to have a health and life insurance policy in place. With long tenancies and mortgage repayments, there’s a lot of financial commitments to deal with. If something unfortunate was to happen to you or your partner, health insurance could help you to manage payments one income.

The break-up clause

As always, it’s important to hope for the best, whilst also planning for the worst. Just in case of a heart-breaking break-up, or a friendship fizzle out, it’s good to have some ‘insurance’ and re-assurance - in the shape of a legal agreement.

When buying with someone else, it’s wise to have a declaration of trust. This outlines how things would be divided up if you were to separate. On top of this, for renters and homeowners, it’s worth considering building a cohabitation agreement to squash any squabbles. This can include details such as how much each partner has paid into the property, furnishings, repairs, renovations, deposits and bills.

Due to the cost of living crisis it’s estimated that a third of home owning couples who break up are forced to live together for an average of 1.3 years after they split up, with one in eight having to continue to share a bedroom

If you’ve decided to move in together, already found the perfect property and are ready to start packing, check out our ultimate moving home guide to check you’ve got everything ready. 

Moving in together can be a challenging, but exciting time. We hope this guide has made it seem a little less daunting and stressful, with our top tips and to do lists.

You’ll have to work out who gets control of the TV remote between yourselves - after all, arguing beats no communication at all! It’s still a good idea to work out who’s sorting the insurance though to make sure it doesn’t get forgotten. Get in touch for help and advice on combining your policies.

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