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Home Insurance

We have written this comprehensive guide to buildings and contents insurance to give you answers to the most frequently asked questions on the subject.

We will give you answers to questions like:

  • What is buildings and contents insurance?
  • What’s the difference between buildings insurance and contents insurance?
  • Why do I need buildings and contents insurance?
  • What does buildings and contents insurance cover?
  • What types of buildings and contents insurance are there?
  • How much buildings and contents insurance do I need?
  • How much does buildings and contents insurance cost?
  • How can I reduce the cost of my buildings and contents insurance?
  • How can I compare buildings and contents insurance?

Read on and get everything you ever needed to know about buildings and contents insurance.


What is buildings and contents insurance?

If you have ever wanted buildings and contents insurance explained, you have come to the right place.

Buildings and contents insurance is actually two different things:

  • Buildings insurance
  • and

  • Contents insurance

What’s the difference between buildings insurance and contents insurance?

Buildings insurance covers your home itself plus permanent fixtures and fittings such as your kitchen and your bathroom. Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged.
Contents insurance covers things that are not part of the structure of your home. This includes things such as furniture, TVs and your personal belongings. Contents insurance covers the repair or replacement of these items.

You can buy buildings insurance and contents insurance separately or as a joint policy. Read on to find out which option is better for you.

To compare buildings and contents insurance premiums, use the home insurance comparison tool.

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Why do I need buildings and contents insurance?

With so many costs to budget for, it is easy to think that you could save some money by not having buildings and contents insurance. Read on to find out why you should think very carefully before choosing not to cover yourself with buildings and contents insurance.


Why do you need buildings insurance?

If you own your own house, your mortgage provider will usually include having buildings insurance as a condition of the mortgage. Without buildings insurance in place, your mortgage could be at risk.

It is also worth considering the cost to repair any damage to your home. For example, one insurer says that the average claim to repair the damage caused by a burst pipe is £25,000. Not many of us could afford to pay for those repairs ourselves. Buildings insurance provides the reassurance that you are covered in the event of damage like this.

However, as with any insurance, it is worth considering the pros and cons of buildings insurance.

Building insurance might be an essential, but it is important to shop around to make sure you are getting the best value premium – our buildings insurance comparison tool makes this easy.

You should read the small print carefully to make sure your buildings insurance policy will give you the cover you need. It is better to take the time to find this out now rather than when it is too late. For example, structures such as garages, outside walls and driveways may not automatically be covered by your insurance, so you will need to check your policy if your home has any of these.

You should check the excess (the amount you pay towards any claim) you might have to pay and decide whether it is acceptable. Generally, the higher the excess the lower the premium.

To compare buildings insurance policies, use the home insurance comparison tool.


Situations when you may not need buildings insurance

If you own a leasehold flat, the building might be insured by the landlord who owns the freehold. Your solicitor will be able to advise you whether you need buildings insurance.

If you rent your home, buildings insurance is the responsibility of your landlord.


Why do you need contents insurance?

Unlike buildings insurance, contents insurance isn’t a requirement of your mortgage, if you have one. You might be tempted to think contents insurance isn’t necessary. But one insurer estimates the contents in an average home costs £55,000. How much of this could you afford to replace if it was damaged or destroyed in a fire or stolen in a burglary? Contents insurance gives you peace of mind that you are covered if the unexpected occurs.

However, as with any insurance, it is worth considering the pros and cons of contents insurance.

If you have a new for old policy, your contents insurance will replace stolen or damaged items with new replacements.

Make sure you have read the small print so you know what is covered and what isn’t. It’s better to know now than when it’s too late. Also check that you have sufficient cover for your possessions.

You should check the excess (the amount you pay towards any claim) you might have to pay and decide whether it is acceptable. Generally, the higher the excess the lower the premium.

With certain types of cover your possessions such as mobiles and laptops are covered even if they’re damaged or stolen when they are not in your home. You will need to check what your policy covers. Some policies only cover replacing the item. Others cover the files you’ve got saved on them as well. Some policies will cover you if your phone is stolen and the thief runs up a large bill, but others won’t.

Some contents insurance policies offer an ‘all risks’ option which offers wider coverage as well as accidental damage. However, you are likely to pay a higher premium for cover like this.

To compare contents insurance policies, use the insurance comparison tool.

 

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BUILDINGS & CONTENTS INSURANCE

What does buildings and contents insurance cover?

We gave a brief introduction to what buildings and contents insurances covers above. Let’s look at it in a bit more detail now.

It is important to say that policies differ from insurer to insurer. It is important to check that your insurance will cover you for the things you need.

However, there are some generally accepted rules as to what buildings and contents insurance covers.


What does buildings insurance cover?

You are likely to be able to make a claim on your buildings insurance if your home is damaged or destroyed as a result of any of the following:

  • subsidence
  • falling trees
  • natural events such as storms and floods
  • fire, smoke or explosions
  • water damage from leaking pipes
  • oil leaking from your heating system
  • vandalism
  • car and lorry collisions.

In the same way as some things are typically covered by buildings insurance, some things typically aren’t covered. These include:

  • general wear and tear
  • leaking gutters
  • pests such as insects and birds
  • frost (unless it has caused pipes to freeze and burst)
  • storm damage to items such as gates or fences
  • any damage that occurs while you are away from your property for longer than 30 or 60 days (the time depends on the policy you have).

To compare buildings insurance policies, please use the comparison tool.


What does contents insurance cover?

The items that are covered by contents insurance is different from insurer to insurer. However, contents insurance is generally considered to cover loss or damage to property as a result of theft, fire or flood. Property is generally taken to include:

  • electrical goods
  • furniture
  • clothing
  • jewellery

Contents insurance does not tend to cover:

  • wear and tear
  • damage to a computer caused by a virus

Note that contents insurance generally gives you cover against fire, theft or flood. This means that you are not covered for accidental damage to your possessions. However, many contents insurance policies have accidental damage as an optional extra, which you may like to consider.

You might also consider whether you need personal possessions cover on your contents insurance. This covers items you take out of the home such as:

  • laptops
  • cameras
  • jewellery
  • mobile phones

You might also need to consider additional cover if you have any particularly expensive items in your home. This is because many contents insurance policies have a limit for an individual item of £1,500. If you have items in your home that cost more than this, you might need to consider extra cover for them.

To compare contents insurance policies, please use the free comparison tool.

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What types of buildings and contents insurance are there?

There are lots of different buildings and contents insurance options out there. These range from buildings and contents insurance for over 60s and buildings and contents insurance for first time buyers to buildings and contents insurance for landlord and buildings and contents insurance for flood risk areas. Read on to find out more about the different types of insurance.


Types of building insurance: the basics

The cost of your building insurance is based on how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it were completely destroyed. Note that this figure is not the same as the value of your home if you were putting it up for sale.

There are two different ways to calculate this sum and so there are two types of building insurance:

  • bedroom-rated buildings insurance.
  • sum-insured buildings insurance

With bedroom-rated insurance, your insurance company estimates the cost of rebuilding your home. The cost is based on the number of bedrooms you have.

With sum-insured insurance, you estimate the cost of rebuilding your home. There are several calculators on the web that can help you estimate the figure. Alternatively, you can use a chartered surveyor.

Use the comparison tool to compare buildings insurance policies.


Buildings insurance for buildings with a non-standard construction

Buildings insurance policies class standard construction as homes with brick or stone walls and a slate or tiled roof. If your home does not have these, you may need buildings insurance cover for homes with a non-standard construction. Examples of houses classed as having non-standard construction include:

  • listed buildings
  • houses with flat or thatched roofs
  • timber-framed or timber-clad houses
  • flats in blocks built out of concrete or with more than five floors.

If you live in a house with a non-standard construction, lots of insurers will have the buildings insurance you need.

Use the insurance comparison tool to compare buildings insurance policies.


Buildings insurance if you live in an area prone to subsidence

If your home is in an area that is at risk from subsidence, you might have problems getting buildings insurance or you might have to pay a higher premium.

It is worth seeking out specialist buildings insurance providers who offer policies for people living in homes at risk of subsidence.

The comparison tool can help you compare buildings insurance policies.


Buildings insurance for unoccupied properties

Buildings insurance policies don’t usually cover unoccupied properties. Insurance companies class an unoccupied property as one that hasn’t been lived in for 30 or 60 days (the number of days differs depending on the insurer).

You might be affected by this if you:

  • go on a long holiday
  • work away from home
  • are renovating your home while not living there
  • use the property as a holiday home
  • are selling the property after having moved out.

If you know you aren’t going to be living in your property for a long period of time, you should let your insurer know. Most insurers will continue to cover your property, although you might need to agree to some conditions such as turning the water off or upgrading the security.

Please use the free comparison tool to compare buildings insurance policies.

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Contents insurance: the basics

There are three types of contents insurance:

  • bedroom-rated buildings insurance.
  • sum-insured buildings insurance
  • unlimited sum contents insurance.

Bedroom-rated contents insurance is based on the number of bedrooms you have. The premium is calculated by your insurance company based on what it considers to be an appropriate sum for the contents of a home of that size.

On sum-insured contents insurance policies, you need to calculate how much cover you need yourself. There are calculators on the internet to help you do this.

With unlimited sum contents insurance policies, all your contents are covered without limit.

Use the comparison tool to compare contents insurance policies.


How much buildings and contents insurance do I need?

Knowing how much buildings and contents insurance you need can be tricky. Read on for some tips to help you.

Your buildings insurance is based on the cost to rebuild your home. (This cost is different from how much your home would be to buy if you were selling it.) With bedroom-rated buildings insurance policies, the figure is calculated for you by your insurance provider. With sum-insured buildings insurance policies, you need to calculate the figure. There are calculators on the web that help you to do this. Alternatively, you can contact a chartered surveyor who will calculate the figure for you.

Use our comparison tool to compare buildings insurance policies.

Your contents insurance is based on the cost of all the possessions in your home. With bedroom-rated contents insurance and unlimited sum contents insurance, you will not need to calculate the figure. With bedroom-rated insurance, your insurance company makes the calculation. With unlimited sum insurance, you are covered no matter what. If you have a sum-insured contents insurance policy, you will need to make the calculation yourself. There are calculators online that will help you with this. You can also add up the cost to replace all the items in your home yourself.

Use a comparison tool to compare contents insurance policies.


How much does buildings and contents insurance cost?

The cost of your buildings and contents insurance depends on a huge range of factors. Use our comparison tool to get buildings and contents insurance quotes for your home.

However, the buildings and contents insurance industry does release average figures to help give you an idea how much buildings and contents insurance costs on average.

In June 2016, the average costs of buildings and contents insurance looked like this:

  • the average cost of buildings and contents insurance was £309
  • the average cost of buildings insurance was £265
  • the average cost of contents insurance was £138

How can I reduce the cost of my buildings and contents insurance?

Many people want to know how to reduce the cost of buildings and contents insurance. There are several things you can do that may help:

  • increase the security on your home
  • install a burglar alarm and smoke alarms
  • increase the excess on your policies (the amount you pay on any claim)
  • avoid making any claims for a few years because some companies offer a no claims discount
  • buy buildings and contents insurance together from the same company
  • pay your premium annually in one lump sum rather than in monthly instalments
  • take advantage of any special offers from insurers
  • use the comparison tool to help you find great value home and contents insurance.

THE KEY TO GREAT HOME INSURANCE
IS EXPERT COMPARISON

How can I compare buildings and contents insurance?

The easiest way to compare the cost of buildings and contents insurance is to use this comparison tool.

When you have got a list of buildings and contents insurance policies, here is a list of some of the things you can check to make sure you are getting the policy that is right for you.


Things to check when you are comparing buildings insurance policies

You should keep an eye out for the essential features of a good buildings insurance policy.

A good buildings insurance policy will give you:

  • enough cover to be able to rebuild your home
  • index-linked cover so you are protected from the rising costs of rebuilding a house
  • alternative accommodation if you need to stay in a hotel or rented accommodation while your home is rebuilt or if you can’t live in your home while repairs are being carried out
  • public liability insurance so you are covered if you are sued if someone dies or is injured or has their property damaged while at your home.

There are also a few other things to consider when choosing your buildings insurance policy

  • enough cover to be able to rebuild your home
  • index-linked cover so you are protected from the rising costs of rebuilding a house
  • alternative accommodation if you need to stay in a hotel or rented accommodation while your home is rebuilt or if you can’t live in your home while repairs are being carried out
  • public liability insurance so you are covered if you are sued if someone dies or is injured or has their property damaged while at your home.

How can I reduce the cost of my buildings and contents insurance?

Many people want to know how to reduce the cost of buildings and contents insurance. There are several things you can do that may help:

  • The amount you pay towards any claim – the excess. Generally speaking, the higher the excess you pay, the lower the premium.
  • Accidental damage cover. Check whether you are covered for accidental damage automatically or if it is an added extra.
  • Will you have to pay more than your standard excess if the damage has been caused by a burst pipe, your water tank leaking or a bath overflowing?
  • Are you covered for emergency heating or plumbing repairs?
  • Is there a no claims discount?
  • Check out buildings insurance for your home using this buildings insurance comparison tool.

Things to check when you are comparing contents insurance policies

You should keep an eye out for the essential features of a good contents insurance policy.

A good contents insurance policy will give you:

  • cover on any high value items that are considered to be high risk such as pieces of jewellery, art or your laptop
  • cover of at least £1,500 on any one single item; if you have any items that are worth more than this, you’ll need to insure them separately
  • cover on any money you have in the home up to £500
  • cover on the contents of your fridge or freezer if they break down
  • cover on contents left outside your home but still within its boundaries such as a bicycle
  • cover on contents left in outbuildings or sheds
  • personal liability cover so you are covered for anything you might have to pay if anyone makes a claim against you for accidental injury or for loss or damage to their property
  • tenants’ liability if you’re a tenant so you are covered against any legal responsibility for loss or damage to your landlord’s fixtures and fittings.

There are also a few other things to consider when choosing your contents insurance policy.

The amount you pay towards any claim – the excess. Generally speaking, the higher the excess you pay, the lower the premium.

Accidental damage cover. Check whether you are covered for accidental damage automatically or if it is an added extra.


Buildings and contents insurance – the next steps

Now you have got the lowdown on buildings and contents insurance, it’s time to get the policy that’s right for you. The buildings and contents insurance comparison tool available for you to use on this site lets you compare a wide range of buildings and contents insurance policies on the market. Compare buildings and contents insurance policies now.