Buildings insurance is essential to protect your home from unforeseen circumstances such as fire, flood and the wrath of the elements. It covers the bricks and mortar of your home along with any fixtures and fittings within the property.
Contents insurance, on the other hand, protects the possessions within your home.
While buildings insurance isn't compulsory, if you have a mortgage it is likely to be one of the conditions imposed by your lender. As soon as you buy a house and exchange contracts, you become legally bound and responsible for the property.
It is therefore essential that you ensure you have buildings insurance in place from day one to protect you from potential disasters out of your control.
Along with fires and floods, a good buildings insurance policy will protect your home against storm damage, subsidence, burst pipes and vandalism. Failure to have cover in place could result in you having to pay out thousands for repairs or even being left homeless.
How much should I insure my home for?
It is important that you don't over or under-estimate how much you should insure your home for. You don't want to have to pay a higher premium than you need to, but similarly, it could be disastrous if you needed to put in a claim and then found out you weren't covered.
The amount you insure your property for should be based on the rebuild value, rather than the market value. So, for example, if your home was completely destroyed by fire and you had to start and rebuild it from scratch, how much it would cost.
While this may sound daunting, the good news is that the rebuild cost is usually less than the market value, so this will clearly affect the price of your premium. A surveyor to determine the rebuild cost of your home can be contacted through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
When comparing policies, it's important you read the small print to find out exactly what is included. All policies will differ, for example some insurers will include cover for drives and outbuildings, and some will cover the cost of temporary accommodation if your home wasn't suitable to live in following a claim.
Similarly, you will need to decide if you want to pay for additional extras such as legal cover. Clearly it will increase the price of your premium but in the long run it could be worthwhile. You will need to weigh it up and if it gives you peace of mind, it could be worth every penny.