Whether you're a homeowner or a living in rented accommodation, home insurance is essential to protect your home and the items within it.
There are two types of cover available – buildings insurance and contents insurance. So what is the difference, and which do you need?
Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – the bricks and the mortar – along with permanent fixtures within it, for example your bathroom suite.
It is not compulsory if you’re a homeowner, but if you have a mortgage it is likely to be one of the conditions from your mortgage lender. If you’re a tenant living in rented accommodation, your landlord will be responsible for buildings insurance.
How much cover should I get?
You need enough building insurance to cover the rebuild costs of your home.
This is not the same as – and will be lower than – its market value, which also includes the value of the land and the desirability of the area. Our guide on how to calculate the cost of your home insurance will explain more.
Contents insurance covers everything within your house – so think of it as everything you would take with you if you were to move home.
This will include white goods such as your cooker and fridge-freezer and usually the carpets as well.
How much cover should I get?
You will have to provide the insurer with a figure of what you think your contents are worth and insure them for this amount, known as the 'sum insured'.
Try not to underestimate your possessions – otherwise you could be left out of pocket as you would have to make up the difference were you to put in a claim. It might make your premium slightly higher, but in the event of a claim you'll be glad you had the right amount of cover.
It is therefore worth noting down the contents you have in every room. Then use either receipts or the internet to come up with how much approximately everything would cost. Using MoneySupermarket's contents calculator tool should help too.
It's particularly important to ensure your valuable items are adequately insured. Insurers tend to have an upper value limit for single items – typically £1,000 to £2,500. Anything worth less than that doesn't have to be listed individually.
However, if you own anything worth more, perhaps a piece of jewellery or art, you will need to disclose it as a specified item.
Personal possessions cover protects your belongings away from the home, so if you lost your watch or camera while you were out, you would be able to claim on your contents cover.
Does the number of bedrooms affect my contents insurance?
It depends on what type of cover you take out. As explained above, the best way to take out cover is to tot up the replacement value of your contents and make sure your sum insured is high enough.
According to MoneySuperMarket data correct as of September 2020
But there are other ways you can opt for cover, such as choosing:
- An unlimited sum-insured policy: You don’t have to worry about being underinsured, but the premiums are likely to be high
- A bedroom-rated policy: This is where the insurance provider works out the contents cover based on the number of bedrooms you have, based on average figures. The risk is that you have more expensive items than the typical owner of a two-bedroom house and so leave yourself underinsured
Where you live, your previous claims history and how secure your home can also affect what you’ll pay for home insurance.
How to get the best deal on your two-bedroom home insurance
When looking for buildings and/or contents insurance for your two bedroom home, it's important to realise that all policies are different.
They will provide varying degrees of cover and offer different things, which is why it's important to shop around for a number of quotes to get the best deal.
While it can be tempting to go for the cheapest policy, be aware that this could be a false economy and you may end up having to shell out if you don't have comprehensive cover.
Here are some top tips for making sure you get the best deal.
- Consider buying combined home insurance from the same provider as this will often attract a discount
- Opting for a higher excess can bring down the cost of your premium. Just make sure this is sensible and that you would be able to afford it if you had to put in a claim
- Make sure your home is properly secured with a burglar alarm and approved locks. It can also help if you join a neighbourhood watch scheme
- Paying for your insurance annually rather than monthly will be cheaper. It also means you get it out of the way for the year
- Build up a no-claims discount. Insurers usually reward people who have not made any claims in the past with a cheaper policy premium
Compare home insurance quotes
You can compare quotes for home insurance in minutes with MoneySuperMarket’s panel of leading insurers. All you need to do is provide us with a few details about your life and your home, and we will provide you with a range of competitive options.