What is buildings insurance?
Buildings insurance covers the physical structure of your property – essentially the bricks and mortar of the building, and any permanent fittings or fixtures.
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A home insurance policy can protect your home and your belongings in the event that they’re damaged or stolen. As an example, having home insurance in place can help pay for damage caused to your property by fire or a flood, or for replacing items that are stolen should you be burgled.
Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the same way car insurance is if you want to drive on UK roads. However in some cases you may be required to take out cover – for example, if you’re taking out a mortgage on a property the lender will probably insist you take out home insurance before loaning you the money.
If you’re a tenant, you’ll only need to cover your belongings – the building itself should be covered by your landlord.
Contents insurance covers the items in your home if they’re damaged or stolen – and some policies also cover your contents while you’re away from home.
You could take out your buildings and contents insurance with the same provider to reduce the hassle, but you should always compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
Your home insurance premiums can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
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You can usually get a no-claims discount if you’ve gone several years without a claim
Paying for your insurance in an annual lump sum works out cheaper than paying monthly
Asking for a higher excess implies you’re less likely to claim, so you get a lower premium
This covers you for almost any legal expense that results from owning a home, from conveyancing, inheritance and probate, to disputes with neighbours or tradespeople
Home insurance protects you against flooding and fire, but an emergency add-on includes callouts or replacement parts if the plumbing or heating breaks down, or if you snap your key off in your lock
Standard contents insurance will protect your possessions inside your home, but not always when you’re out and about with your laptop or mobile phone. ‘Away-from-home’ covers damage, theft and loss
If you’re a serious cyclist, your bike is your pride and joy. This add-on will protect it from theft when you’ve locked it up somewhere sensible, or for repairs if you have an accident
Accidents do happen, but they’re not always covered. Accidental damage protects your possessions from everyday mishaps, and will also help out if you make a costly DIY error or break a window
Gardens aren’t always covered under standard home insurance, especially larger spaces. Some insurers will offer to cover any of the following: garden furniture, sheds and outbuildings, garages, and boundaries
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The type of property it is, the number of rooms and when it was built, the type of roof it has, and if there are any trees nearby
How many people live in the property and when they're usually at home, and if anyone is a smoker
The cost of rebuilding your home from scratch if it were destroyed
The estimated cost of replacing your contents if they were destroyed
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Make your home more secure with a burglar alarm, secure door and window looks, and a safe – especially if you live in a burglary hotspot
Unoccupied homes are at a higher risk of being burgled or damaged by fire or escaped water
Insulating your pipes reduces the risk of damage when they freeze and thaw in cold weather
Fitting smoke alarms around your home can also lower your insurance premiums
"Home insurance is a great way to protect your home and belongings against the things we can’t plan for. We'll help you find the right cover for your home, whether it's protection in the event of a flood or fire, insurance for an unoccupied property, or help with a burst pipe in the middle of the night - so you can rest easy and concentrate on the things that matter most."
- Kate Devine, head of home insurance
Standard home insurance might not be the right option for everyone – you may require a specialised home insurance policy for:
Coronavirus has meant we’ve been spending more time at home than ever, but it’s unlikely that this has had an effect on your home insurance policy. Find out more from our home insurance and coronavirus guide.
Home insurance protects your property’s structure and contentsagainst loss, theft or damage caused by flooding, fire, storms, subsidence and escaped water. This means you’ll be able to claim repair or replacement costs for most of the following, depending on your policy.
You aren’t required by law to have either buildings or contents insurance, but it’s always useful to have protection in case something unexpected happens. If you have a mortgage, your lender should insist that you take out buildings insurance for the whole mortgage term – but you can find it from other sources too, including price comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket.
To calculate how much cover you need from your home insurance policy, you’ll need to account for:
To calculate how much cover you need from your home insurance policy, you’ll need to account for:
If you’re a tenant you’ll only need to take out a renters insurance policy – this will let you cover your personal belongings. Your landlord should have their own buildings cover in place, and while they may also have a contents policy this will only apply to items they’ve supplied for the property, such as furniture.
There are different types of trusts available depending on your individual or family circumstances.
Putting your life insurance policy in trust also protects the payout from inheritance tax.
Listed buildings are properties of historical or architectural significance, and you’ll often need to take out a specialised listed building policy as many insurers don’t offer standard cover for these buildings.
Yes, your credit score can affect the price you pay for home insurance. Insurance companies look at your credit history to know how much of a risk they’re taking with you and to come up with the appropriate rates.
When we’re at home, our personal possessions are normally protected by home contents insurance but this doesn’t usually cover them when you’re out of the house. Different policies offer different cover but often you have to pay extra to cover possessions that you take out of the home, like jewellery or gadgets, for example. A personal possessions insurance policy covers your personal belongings against loss, damage, or theft when you take them outside your home.
Calculating the rebuild cost of your home is a necessary part of getting a home insurance quote. The rebuild cost is the amount of money required to reconstruct your home from the foundations up, if for example your property was damaged or destroyed in a fire or flood. A chartered surveyor can help you calculate the cost, or alternatively you could search for a rebuild calculator online.
If you're having any major building work done on your house, you will need to let your house insurance provider know. If you don’t tell your insurer your home is undergoing renovation, you may find that your policy is invalid in the event of a claim.
Home insurance typically covers unoccupied property, for up to 60 days – and if anything happens outside this period you won’t be covered. An unoccupied home insurance policy covers you when your home is empty for longer than your standard policy will allow.
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We aim to show you home insurance quotes from as many insurance companies as possible, so that you can find the right policy for you.
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