Home Insurance

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What is Home Insurance?

Home insurance protects your home and its contents from unexpected damages.

It comes in two parts:

  • Building Insurance
  • Contents Insurance

Building insurance covers the actual structure and fixtures of your home from things like fires, floods, storms or vandalism.

Your insurance company will pay for the cost of repairing your home’s structure and any fixed bathroom or kitchen fittings.

Contents insurance covers your belongings kept in your home. This includes possessions like jewellery, mobile phones, bikes and even your carpets.

Your insurance company will reimburse you for the cost of your home’s contents in the event of a burglary, flooding, fire, or similar type of unexpected damages.

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How does home insurance work?

You can either take out a combined home insurance policy or you can take out building insurance and contents insurance as separate policies.

If you buy them separately, then you may find this is more expensive compared to getting a combined policy with the same provider.

For building insurance, your property details will determine how much your insurance premium will be. For example:

  • Your postcode
  • The type of property (e.g., detached, semi-detached)
  • Your property’s size
  • The cost of your home
  • When it was built
  • Your roof’s gradient and its materials
  • The approximate cost of rebuilding your property (this figure is usually found in your mortgage valuation document)

For contents insurance, you can list all of your most expensive items separately and provide their value to make sure they are all covered.

You can also provide details about your home that could make your insurance cost less. For example, if you have burglar and fire alarms fitted then it will reduce your risk for these two factors and could mean you pay less.

What is covered by home insurance?

Home insurance will cover you in the event of unexpected, sudden events like the following:

  • Fires
  • Floods
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence (the earth moving beneath your home)
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Leaks and burst pipes

Building insurance covers the damage that these do to:

  • The structure of your home
  • The walls or roof
  • Fitted bathroom and kitchen fixtures
  • Extensions
  • Built-in wardrobes

Your insurance company will even cover the entire rebuild cost of your home if it’s completely destroyed.

They’ll also put you up in temporary alternative accommodation should your home no longer be habitable.

This home emergency cover can save you thousands in hotel costs, let alone the peace of mind it provides in such a stressful situation.

Contents insurance covers the value of your possessions, including:

  • Tablets, computers and televisions
  • Other electronic goods
  • Mobile phones (check with your provider that these are covered)
  • Bikes (as long as they are kept in your home and not your shed, for example)
  • White goods in your kitchen
  • Carpets
  • Jewellery and clothing
  • Paintings or other valuable possessions

Your insurance provider will cover your items’ worth if anything happens to them.

What is not covered by home insurance?

Costs that aren’t covered by your home insurance include hose incurred from long term, gradual damage as opposed to sudden events. These are damages that could occur from not taking enough care of your property, for example:

  • Rot and mould
  • Insect, bird or rodent damage
  • Rust
  • General wear and tear

These aren’t seen as unavoidable by your insurance company, so they probably won’t cover them.

  • Personal Possessions Cover – Mobile Phones

Some contents insurance providers will not cover mobile phones as part of your insurance because you take them outside of the home with you.

These are often our most valuable items, so make sure that these personal possessions are covered if you want them to be.

  • Accidental damage cover

Accidental damage cover is an optional extra that isn’t always included in standard home insurance policies. If you need it, make sure your insurance policy provides it.

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Do you really need home insurance?

There is no legal obligation to have home insurance, but we think it’s a good idea to protect your home and possessions.

You will probably find that your mortgage lender will require you to at least have building insurance if you’re applying for a mortgage. Your loan amount will be covered in the event of a disaster and so a mortgage lender will see your loan as less risky.

Remember:

  • If you are a landlord, you don’t need contents insurance for your tenants’ possessions, but you do for your own. For example, if you rent out your property on a furnished basis then you can protect the value of the furnishings. For this type of cover, you’ll need landlord insurance instead of normal home insurance.
  • If you’re a tenant, you don’t need building insurance. This is your landlord’s responsibility to pay. You should still consider getting contents insurance on its own to protect your belongings within your rented home.
  • Buildings and contents insurance for a holiday home is also an important consideration. You might end up paying more for your contents insurance on a holiday home as they are often left unoccupied for long periods of time, making them vulnerable to burglary.

How much should my home insurance cost per month?

Your insurance premiums will vary depending on several factors, but a rough figure to expect to pay would be:

  • Buildings insurance – £100 to £150 per year
  • Contents insurance – £50 to £75 per year
  • Home insurance (combined building and contents cover) – £125 to £175 per year

Where you live, what kind of property you live in, your security systems and the value of your home and possessions are all factors that will affect the price of your home insurance policies.

How can I make my home insurance cheaper?

  • Improve the security of your home

A burglar alarm, better windows and locks and even a security camera can deter thieves and mean your property is less likely to be damaged in a break-in. It also means your possessions have a lower chance of being stolen. This enables your insurance company to offer you a cheaper deal.

Smoke alarms also have the same effect on your building insurance as they protect your property from fire damage.

  • Compare home insurance deals

Make sure to shop around for the best deal for your circumstances. Also, if your insurance is due for renewal, compare some other options because you may find it’s cheaper to switch insurance providers despite your loyalty.

  • Combine your building and contents insurance

By taking out your contents and building insurance with the same provider you could get a better deal on your home cover.

  • Increase your voluntary excess

Agreeing to pay more towards a claim will mean you pay lower premiums. Just be careful not to commit to more than you can potentially afford.

  • Reduce your level of cover

It’s pretty simple – pay less for less cover if you have to.

  • Pay your premium in one go

Instead of spreading the cost over months, paying your annual premium upfront will save you money.

What’s the difference between home insurance and homeowners’ insurance?

Homeowners insurance and home insurance are two terms for the same thing. These days, the product is usually referred to as home insurance.