Having home insurance is important, but there’s a lot to think about before you apply. You should consider the type of home insurance you want to take out, as well as how much cover you’ll need and what the cost will come to. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the cover that's right for you.
Buildings and contents insurance
Buildings and contents insurance are the two basic types of home insurance that apply to homeowners.
Buildings insurance is taken out to protect your home’s structure, including the walls, ceilings, roofs, and other permanent fixtures. It covers repair and rebuilding costs of your home as a result of fires, flooding, subsidence, and other insured events.
As building repairs can be expensive, this insurance is often a money saver – and many mortgage lenders will need you to have buildings insurance in order to get a mortgage.
If your possessions are damaged or stolen from your home, contents insurance will cover them. Contents insurance generally won’t protect you against general wear and tear, and there might be a limit on the cost of individual items they’ll cover.
The level of cover you get for both building and contents insurance can vary between insurers, and you should check each policy carefully to make sure you know what is and isn’t covered.
If you’re not living in the property, but renting it, you’ll need landlords’ insurance. This generally includes buildings insurance as you are the owner, but you may want to think about contents insurance if you’re going to part, or fully furnish the property.
The insurance can also include:
- Liability insurance - if you are sued by a tenant because of an accident on the property.
- Loss of Rent insurance - if the property becomes uninhabitable and you can't rent it out.
- Legal Expenses insurance - if you have any disputes with tenants, need to tackle squatters or repossess your property, or if you need to defend yourself against criminal action.
- Home Emergency cover - if there is a gas leak, a burst pipe, a break-in, or a pest infestation.
Tenants’ insurance normally protects your contents, such as clothes, jewellery, electronics, books, furniture, crockery, and antiques, or if there’s a fire, flood, or theft. But you should check the policy features to be sure. It won’t cover the building as this should be taken care of by the landlord’s insurance.
You might need specialist cover for a number of things, like certain types of property, very valuable items, or personal belongings away from home (travelling/in student housing).
Other things to consider
- Rebuild value not market - your home’s market value includes the land surrounding the home, but the rebuild value is just how much it would cost to rebuild the building if it was completely destroyed – often working out cheaper.
- Have enough contents cover - doing a survey of your home contents, including any valuables, can ensure you aren’t over or under-insured when you take out your policy
- Excess - premiums can be affected by your excess, which means you should check the amount of excess you have to pay first as lower premiums might be hiding payments that you can’t afford.
- No claims discount - letting your insurer know that you haven’t claimed could get you a discount.
- Honest application - if there are mistakes or lies on your application this may void your claim, meaning you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket if something goes wrong.