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Far more people in the UK now own flats than they did two decades ago, and just as with any property you should consider taking out insurance in the event of something going wrong.
Or it could be to replace your personal belongings should they be stolen or accidentally damaged.
Premiums can be paid monthly or annually and as with other insurance, it’s usually cheaper to shop around for a new policy at the end of the year rather than accepting the renewal quote offered.
There are two types of home insurance to consider – buildings insurance and contents insurance.
Buildings insurance covers the permanent structure of the building – essentially anything that remains when you move – for events such as fire, floods or subsidence. If you live in a flat, you may not need buildings cover if you aren’t the freeholder.
Contents insurance covers your personal possessions – anything that could be picked up and taken out of the home – against being stolen or accidentally damaged. This includes white good, curtains and carpets, even if it’s unlikely you’d take them with you when you move. It can also cover items you might keep in a shed or garage.
You can often find lower premiums by getting a policy for both buildings and contents insurance from the same provider.
Yes, if you own or part own the freehold to your flat then its bricks and mortar are your responsibility, so you should take out buildings insurance to cover any potential repair.
You may not have a choice – if you have a mortgage on the property, many lenders make it a condition of the loan that you have buildings insurance.
As a number of flats usually comprise a larger building, there may be several freeholders who are collectively responsible. While they could take out buildings insurance individually, it’s likely to be cheaper to join together and take out one specialist policy to cover the whole building.
It’s worth considering all the areas building insurance will need to cover when you are a freeholder, such as the shared hallway or stairwell.
Despite a flat often being smaller than a house, insurance can be more expensive than you think. This is due to risks such as the flat above having a leak that causes damage to your property.
Buildings insurance might be covered by the freeholder who owns the overall building, but it may also be your responsibility – this will depend on the conditions of your lease.
You may also find that although buildings insurance is taken care of by the freeholder, it is passed on to you through the service charge.
As a leaseholder, you should still consider taking out contents insurance to protect your personal belongings.
The landlord should cover the buildings insurance, so you only really need to consider contents insurance for renters.
If you are sharing a flat, then it can be more difficult or expensive to get contents cover.
While you might be trustworthy, insurers tend to be wary of flatmates. It means more people have keys and access to the premises – potentially even previous tenants.
It might result in some insurance companies only paying out for theft claims if there are signs of forced entry.
Contents insurance will protect your belongings against loss, theft, fire and accidental damage.
It’s up to you whether you get this type of cover, but to see if it’s worth it, tot up the value of your possessions in the home and calculate how much it would cost to replace them.
There are several ways you can reduce the cost of your flat insurance.
According to MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and June 2020, accurate as of August 2020
If you are taking out buildings insurance, you should be covered for the rebuild cost of the property not the saleable value.
For contents insurance, look at taking out cover to replace the worth of the possessions that might be damaged or stolen.
Yes, if you own the property you need to take out landlord's insurance to cover the buildings and the tenants. Read our guides to buying landlords insurance.
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