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Home Insurance guide

Home Insurance guide
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Wherever you live, home insurance is essential to ensure you are protected if something happens to your property.

Buildings insurance

If you rent your home then your landlord should cover buildings insurance. But for homeowners, buildings insurance is vital as it covers the structure of your home against damage. Buildings insurance usually refers to the walls, roof, floors and permanent fixtures such as kitchen units and bathroom suites. Policies vary but most will protect your investment in the case of fire, flood, subsidence and weather damage. It’s not compulsory to have buildings insurance but without it you may struggle to rebuild or repair and most lenders will refuse a mortgage unless they have proof that the building is insured against damage.

How much buildings insurance do I need?

The value of your buildings insurance policy should be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your entire home. Most people will never need to claim that full amount but if something went terribly wrong and your home burned to the ground, you’d need to have the cash available. Remember that you will still own the land so you only need to insure the cost of the building itself, rather than the market value of the property as a whole. The cost of rebuilding your home can normally be found on your home survey or buyer’s report. Alternatively, you can calculate it on the Association of British Insurers’ website.

Points to consider

Your insurer should be informed straight away of any changes you make to the structure of your home. Even things like knocking down a wall may invalidate your policy if you don’t inform the insurance company. Likewise, you should always be totally honest on your application. If, for example, you state your home isn’t close to any trees or rivers then need to claim at a later date, you might run into problems if you haven’t been entirely truthful.

Contents insurance

Home Insurance guideWhether you own or rent your home, you’ll need contents insurance. For homeowners this is often merged with buildings insurance so that the same policy covers both but separate policies are also available for those who rent. Contents insurance covers the cost of your belongings from loss or damage. This should include theft as well as events like fire, storm damage, flooding and burst pipes. The value of your contents insurance should be enough to cover the cost of replacing all your stuff.

How much contents insurance do I need?

It’s easy to underestimate the worth of all your belongings. Bear in mind that contents insurance covers everything from carpets and furniture to clothes, bedding and toys. Don’t forget to include the cost of replacing items like cutlery and crockery as well as laptops and jewellery – basically, everything you might take with you when you move house should be covered. Add up the total worth of all of your belongings and that will provide you with a figure for insurance. It’s important to re-evaluate every year or so and to up your level of cover if you purchase something expensive or redecorate.

Points to consider calculating your contents

Read over the small print to check exactly what is covered by a contents insurance policy. You may discover you need to take out separate insurance for particularly valuable items or add some additional cover. You may wish to pay for extended cover for items such as laptops or MP3 players that leave home with you. It’s also worth checking whether the policy pays out on a new-for-old basis or only covers the amount of money an old item was worth.

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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