Buildings insurance

Compare cheap buildings insurance quotes

By Peter Carr Monday 23 April 2018

Buildings insurance provides cover in the event your home is damaged by flood, fire, subsidence, storm or vandalism.

A house on a residential street

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is a type of home insurance that covers the property itself, the bricks and mortar, along with any fixtures and fittings. It does not protect the contents within the home (think of them as everything you could pick up and remove), and you would need to get a separate contents insurance policy to cover your belongings. 

If you have a mortgage, it’s very likely that your lender will require you to have buildings insurance in place. That’s because as soon as you exchange contracts on a property, you’re legally responsible for the building. This is why it’s essential to ensure you have buildings insurance in place from day one, to protect yourself from paying out-of-pocket if anything happened to your home.

What does buildings insurance cover?

The details of what is covered with buildings insurance varies, which is why you should always check the features of each policy.

A good buildings insurance policy should cover your home for not only fire and floods, but also against storm damage, burst pipes, vandalism and subsidence.

Many buildings insurance policies will also include legal cover, and emergency cover to repair things like a broken boiler or heating system, fix plumbing or deal with pests. It’s also common to see an emergency helpline included in buildings insurance policies, which will give access to professionals to help deal with emergencies 24 hours a day.

Some buildings insurance policies may cover accidental damage to the building, insure against accidental damage to bathroom suites, bathroom fixtures and fixed glass, and offer payment if you have to live at a different address.

You may also be insured against things such as replacement locks cover, or damage to underground pipes, cables and tanks.


What does buildings insurance cover?

How much should I insure my building for?

It’s important to not over or under-estimate how much your home should be insured for. You don't want 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 for enough.

You should insure your home based on the rebuild value, which is normally lower than the market value. If your home was destroyed by fire, or ruined by flood damage, and you needed to build from scratch, this would be the cost to it rebuild it as it was.

As rebuilding usually costs less than the market value, this brings down the price of your premium.

If you don’t know how much a rebuild would cost, you can consult a surveyor to determine the price. You can find a surveyor through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), or you can use the estimator built into our home insurance comparison tool. 

How much does buildings insurance cost?

If your building is unlisted, the average cost of annual buildings insurance is £133*. If your building is listed, the average price increases to £173* for a grade one building, or £221* for a grade two. If you’ve been served a building preservation notice, you’ll pay an average of £201*. 

See the average cost of buildings insurance by building type

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

What affects the price of buildings insurance?

There are lots of different factors that can affect the price of your policy, from where you live to the type of building you own.

Since you’re insuring for the cost of rebuilding your home, the rebuild price is a huge factor. If you live in a building that may be costlier to rebuild, such as a purpose-built flat, you are likely to pay a higher premium.

Other things that impact the rebuild price include the age of the property, as this could mean costlier or cheaper materials need to be used, as well as the type of roof and the type of wall.

Furthermore, the amount of rooms, windows and doors will affect the price of buildings insurance, as will the frame of the house: if it’s timber-framed, it will be more susceptible to fire damage than a steel-framed house.

The stability of the land also has an impact, as will any threat of subsistence. And living near a river or open water could add significantly to the premium as there is a much higher risk of flooding.

Most expensive roof type

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

Is the property listed?

There are more than 350,000 listed buildings in the UK, and owning one can be a double-edged sword: on one side you have a beautiful and historic house, but on the other it can be impossible to make some changes without consent.

In addition, you’re more likely to need specialist listed buildings insurance. You can check if your home is listed by searching the National Heritage List for England, which details all nationally protected sites.

If your building is listed, you should consider paying for a specialist valuation before buying insurance to make sure you don’t under-insure the building.

Most expensive wall type

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

How to reduce the cost of buildings insurance

  • Don’t just auto-renew your policy, as you could save over a third** if you shop around.
  • Increase your excess to reduce premiums – but make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim.
  • Take advantage of any home insurance no claims discount you’ve built up.
  • Don’t skimp on cover: saving a few pounds in the short-term could cost dearly if you don’t have the right level of buildings insurance.

**51% of consumers could save up to 39.95% according to Consumer Intelligence in February 2018.

Always compare buildings insurance

One of the biggest ways to save is to compare buildings insurance quotes. When you compare buildings insurance with MoneySuperMarket, you can review insurers on quality as well as price. We show you the level of buildings cover, the voluntary and compulsory excess amounts and customer ratings of their claims experience so you can see the top-level information at a glance.

When you compare policies from different providers, it's important you read the small print to find out exactly what’s included. Sometimes policies differ substantially, for example, some insurers will include cover for garages and outbuildings, and others will cover the cost of temporary accommodation should your home become unsuitable to live in following a claim.

Similarly, you will need to decide if you want to pay for additional extras such as legal cover. It’s likely to 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.

You can also use the tool at the top of the page to change the excess amount and include or exclude accidental damage cover to compare how this impacts premium prices.

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