Insurance tips – keeping your contents safe at every stage

Moving home can be stressful and exhausting – and that’s if everything goes according to plan.

Man taping moving box shut

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But what if your new property is damaged by flood or your valuable dinner service is broken as you load your belongings onto the van? Would you be covered?

It’s easy to forget about insurance when you’re dealing with all the other paperwork involved in a house move, but it can prove to be an expensive oversight.

Insuring the bricks and mortar

Buildings insurance covers the bricks and mortar of the property from risks such as storm damage, fire and flood.

When you buy a new property, you’re responsible for the building from the moment you exchange contracts – not when you get the keys. So that’s the point when you need to have buildings insurance in place.

Buildings insurance will probably be a condition of your mortgage. Your lender might even try to sell you cover, but we always recommend that you shop around to get the best deal.

Your lender might then ask for evidence that you’ve arranged cover.

The premium for buildings insurance usually depends on the rebuild cost of the home, which is different from the purchase price.

When you run a quotation for buildings insurance on our site, we use an estimated rebuilding cost from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (which takes into account the number of bedrooms, postcode and type of property).

Your mortgage valuation document will also state the property’s rebuild cost.

Some insurers don’t bother with a rebuild cost and insure your home up to a set limit, but it’s worth checking the figure as it’s up to you to make sure the sum you are insured for is enough to cover a rebuild.  

In theory, you can cancel the buildings insurance on your existing home when you buy cover on the new property, but it’s usually a good idea to keep it running until you move out. After all, you don’t know that your buyer has arranged adequate – or indeed any – buildings insurance.

There’s nothing stopping you insuring your new property with your existing buildings insurer, this is a good opportunity to compare premiums and perhaps find a better deal with a different firm, particularly if you are moving to a different area or a different type of home.

Insuring your belongings

So much for the structure of your home, what about the contents?

It’s important to check that your possessions are covered during the removal itself, in case of any loss or damage en route.

While some insurers cover ‘goods in transit’ under a standard home contents policy, you should read the terms and conditions carefully.

You might find you are only insured if you use a professional removal firm - and if your belongings are packed by professionals as well.

There are usually limits placed on the amount you can claim, with many firms excluding valuables such as jewellery and money.

If your contents policy doesn’t cover removals, you can arrange separate goods in transit insurance through a specialist firm.

Again, read the terms and conditions and make sure you understand the excess – that is the amount you are expected to pay towards any claim.

Storage option

If you need to put some of your furniture and other possessions into storage before, during or after a house move, you should make sure that you are adequately covered by your contents policy.

Some contents policies offer cover for items in storage up to a certain number of days and up to a certain amount of money.

If your contents policy does not protect you, you can buy standalone cover from a specialist firm, or through the storage facility itself.

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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