The age of the property
Older materials are often more expensive
Buildings insurance covers your home from damage by flood, fire, subsidence, storm or vandalism, protecting the structure of the building (the walls, roof, floors and extensions) and its fixtures (built-in wardrobes, bathroom suites and fitted kitchens).
Your insurer will also repair damage caused by leaky pipes or faulty electronics, as well as criminal or accidental damage. If necessary, they’ll even foot the bill to rebuild it completely. Your possessions are not protected, however. This needs a separate contents insurance policy.
Your mortgage lender will require you to have buildings insurance because as soon as you exchange contracts on a property, you’re legally responsible for the building. If you own your home outright, buildings insurance protects your investment.
Whether you have a mortgage or own the house outright, buildings insurance protects your home from all sorts of problems
Buildings insurance covers your investment from structural issues, though you may need specific landlords’ insurance too
If you own an apartment in a larger block of flats, an individual buildings insurance policy isn’t necessary
Renters don’t need buildings insurance – that’s the responsibility of the owner. Consider renters insurance instead
Damage caused by fire, flood, storms, subsidence or heave, burst or frozen pipes
Outbuildings, gardens, swimming pools, ponds and patios, accidental damage, alternative accommodation during repair work
You should insure your home for the full amount it would cost to rebuild from the foundations up at today’s prices – in case something like a gas explosion destroys it completely. The rebuild cost is not the same as a property’s market value, which includes the value of the land and factors like local amenities and transport links.
It’s hard to calculate the exact cost of rebuilding, so ensure your estimate is as accurate as possible. You don't want high premiums, but it would be disastrous if you aren't fully covered. A chartered surveyor can help – or you can use MoneySuperMarket’s own building value calculator.
Older materials are often more expensive
We need to know what the roof, walls and frame are made of
Local crime statistics often have an effect on your premiums
A higher subsidence risk means more chance of serious damage
If the property is near a river there is a higher flood risk
These indicate a larger building and higher costs
Listed buildings are especially expensive to insure
1According to MoneySuperMarket data collected in November 2020
You could get an average quote of £1142
when you search for buildings insurance
It's cheaper to pay for your buildings
insurance annually, rather than
monthly, as you won’t pay interest
A history of not claiming on your
buildings insurance is usually rewarded
with a discount on your premiums
"Buildings insurance is a must-have for everyone with a mortgage, unless you live in a block of flats. Remember that your home's rebuild cost is not the same as its market value – which includes factors like the value of the land it's built on and local amenities."
- Kate Devine, head of home insurance
Buildings insurance is not a legal requirement, but considering the amount of money we spend on our homes, insurance could be seen as a good idea - especially if you live somewhere at a high risk of flooding, crime or subsidence. Your mortgage lender might also require you to buy it.
Bear in mind that you should only get buildings insurance if you own your own property – and only then if your home isn’t part of a block of flats. If you are a tenant, your landlord is the one to buy insurance for the building.
Buildings insurance and contents insurance are two sides of the home insurance coin. The former protects the structure of your property if it’s damaged by natural disasters or vandalism, and the latter protects your possessions.
As a rule of thumb, anything that can be carried out of a house is protected under contents insurance, which includes carpets, curtains, white goods, light fittings and furniture. Anything fixed to the structure of the house, including built-in wardrobes, plus things like your garage or conservatory, are covered by buildings insurance.
No, you don’t need documents to get a quote. However you do need to know basic facts about the property you want to insure, including its age and the materials it is built from.
You can calculate how much it would cost to total rebuild your home either by hiring a chartered surveyor, or by using MoneySuperMarket’s home insurance calculator to get an estimate.
The rebuild cost of a house is how much it would cost to construct it in the same way with the same materials from scratch at today’s prices, including labour. This is not the same as your house’s market value, which also includes the price of the land it’s built on, and local amenities and transport links.
The simplest way to get a quote on buildings insurance is to give MoneySuperMarket a few details on your home. We will use your information to get quotes from a range of house insurance companies, which you can then search and choose the deal that suits you. You can also search for contents insurance at the same time, or even buy a policy which combines home and contents insurance.
While your mortgage lender will almost certainly require you to buy buildings insurance, you aren’t obliged to buy it from their preferred insurer. In fact, you’ll probably be able to find cheaper insurance by shopping around and comparing prices.
If you own a leasehold property, you might find that the building is already insured by a landlord who owns the freehold. If you’re not sure, your solicitor can advise you.
In certain blocks of flats where leaseholders have joined forces to buy a portion of the freehold, you might have to buy your own buildings cover.
Most buildings insurance policies do not cover rising damp, unfortunately. It’s unusual for home insurance policies to cover any kind of gradual deterioration.
If you want to extend or convert your house, or make significant renovations, you should tell your insurer before the work begins. You will probably be able to make changes to your policy, but it’s best to inform them first, in case anything goes wrong and your policy is invalidated.
If you haven’t been able to get the information from the title deed to your home, which should have been obtained by your conveyancer or estate agent when you bought it, the easiest way to check the age of your home is with the government’s Land Registry service.
Garages are considered separate structures for the purposes of buildings insurance, and you’ll have to list it as such when you apply. You should still be able to get cover, but it’s not wise to claim it as another ordinary room.
A helping hand to find the right home insurance deal for your needs
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Our guide to insuring an unoccupied property
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Get specialist cover if your home is in a flood-risk area
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