Moving house? Get home insurance the day you exchange

We explain the value of getting home insurance as soon as you’ve bought your new property.

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When you buy a property in the UK, even if your offer is accepted and everything seems to be going smoothly, there’s still a possibility the deal could fall through.

This can be frustrating and stressful, but apart from incidental costs, the financial impact should not be too serious.

However, once the contracts are agreed and become binding, you take legal responsibility for the new property.

This means that if your new home gets damaged after that date – because of a storm or flood, for example – you’ll need to pay for the repairs.

So we recommend buying insurance cover for the day you exchange (when the contracts become binding) to avoid the property being uninsured for the days or even weeks before the transaction is complete and you move in.

That way, you are protected should some freak event or accident damage your new home.

It’s also a good idea to think about insurance for your belongings, both in transit from your old place to the new one, and once they’re moved in.

So here’s a quick run-through of the key things you need to consider when moving…

Do you have buildings and contents insurance at your current address?

If you are already insured:

  • You need to contact your insurer so that it can transfer the cover to the new address
  • It is sensible to inform the company well in advance of the expected exchange date, so that cover can be arranged from that day
  • You can always cancel the change if the sale fails to go through
  • Just remember to check that your existing home remains protected while you remain legally responsible for it

If you have no buildings and/or contents insurance in place:

  • You will need to take out a policy that offers cover from the date of exchange on your new home
  • For this, you will need the address and postcode of the property, as well as its market value and the value of your belongings or the home contents that need to be insured
  • To be fully protected, you will need a policy that covers both buildings and contents, or two separate policies – one for buildings, one for contents
  • MoneySuperMarket is the ideal place to compare policies and find the best value policy for your needs

Top tip: Many insurers offer discounts to people who take out both buildings and contents insurance. 
So even if you have contents insurance in place for your rental property, it may still be cheaper – and easier – to take out a combined buildings and contents policy for your new home.

How much cover do you need?

When moving house, you need sufficient buildings and contents insurance to cover you should your new home be burgled or even burn down.

That’s why it’s important to be accurate when it comes to the market value and the rebuild cost, and to include everything from the curtains to your computer when calculating the contents cover you require.

Other useful types of cover to look out for include:

“Goods in transit” cover:

Most contents policies will provide cover for your belongings against damage or loss while they are in transit from one property to the next.

However, you will need to use a professional removals firm – many of which have their own insurance – to benefit from this protection.

If you have to put some of your things in storage, you may also be covered under your contents policy.

But even if available, this protection will only generally last for a couple of days.

Double home cover:

As mentioned above, it’s important to make sure your old home remains insured until it is sold and becomes someone else’s legal responsibility.

Most policies will cover your old property until you exchange with the purchaser, and the new one from when you exchange with the seller.

But if there is any overlap in the dates, you should definitely check that both properties are covered during this time.

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