Home insurance

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**Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during February 2021. 50% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance (or house insurance) is a type of insurance designed to financially protect your home and belongings. For example, if your home is damaged or destroyed in a fire, having the right insurance could mean the insurance provider will pay to replace your belongings and repair or rebuild your home. 

Home insurance consists of buildings insurance and contents insurance, which can be bought separately or together from the same provider.



Worried about how coronavirus might affect your insurance or household utilities?

During these uncertain times, we know many of you have questions and concerns about the effects of COVID-19 on your insurance policies and household utilities. To put your mind at ease, we’ve got some additional advice and guidance, to help support you during these confusing times. 

Find out more here

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What does home insurance cover?

There are two types of cover available, buildings insurance and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance – covers the structure of the property and the fixed fittings inside your home. It covers the cost of damage to your home from things like fire, flood, storms, falling trees or vandalism. Also, it may cover you for subsidence, water damage and burst pipes.

Find out more about buildings insurance

Contents insurance  – this covers the possessions inside your home, like your furniture, home appliances and clothes (carpets are usually included too). It can also cover high-value items separately, including jewellery, computer equipment and bicycles. There are some exceptions to this rule: for example, some fixed fittings may come under buildings insurance, so always check your policy to see what’s included in the definition of ‘contents’.

Contents insurance covers possessions in your home that are stolen or damaged due to fire, floods and vandalism, etc. It’s a good idea to check with your policy provider to clarify what is and isn’t included, if you’re unsure. For example, if you have a garden, check whether items that aren’t locked away in a shed - like a lawnmower - are covered.

Combined cover – you can get both buildings and contents insurance under one policy from the same provider. This can make it more convenient if you need to make a claim. Combined insurance can often work out cheaper than taking out separate policies, although you should always compare quotes to make sure it’s the right option for you

Want to know more? Read about:

Insuring your home against subsidence
How security systems can protect your home

What’s the difference between buildings and contents insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing any damage to the structure of your property. This includes things like the roof, walls and floors as well as permanent fittings and fixtures, such as windows or fitted kitchens. Contents cover protects against the cost of replacing or repairing damaged, destroyed or stolen items inside your home, such as your furniture, jewellery and clothes.

Do I need to have home insurance?

Neither buildings insurance nor contents insurance are a legal requirement. But by having both, you’ll have protection for your property and belongings in case something unexpected happens. 

If you own your home and have a mortgage, your mortgage provider may insist that you have buildings insurance in place for the length of your mortgage. You can buy this insurance from any provider, not just your mortgage provider. Compare buildings insurance with us to find the right deal for you.

What type of home insurance do I need?

You might need buildings or contents insurance – or both. Here are the basics in a nutshell.

  • If you own your own home, you may want to take out both buildings and contents insurance separately or get combined cover. This is because you’re the one who’s responsible for sorting out any damage caused to your home.
  • If you’re a tenant renting your home, buildings insurance is usually the responsibility of your landlord. However, you might want to purchase contents insurance to protect your personal belongings. Find out more about rental contents insurance.
  • If you’re a landlord, you’re responsible for buildings insurance to cover the property you own and rent out. If you rent out a furnished property, you can also protect your contents against damage or theft through a landlord policy. Find out more about landlord insurance.
  • If you have a holiday home, you may want to take out both buildings and contents cover. Be mindful it can be more expensive than regular home insurance, as holiday homes are often left unoccupied. Find out more about unoccupied property insurance.

How much does home insurance cost?

Buildings insurance could cost from

per year^^^

Contents insurance could cost from

per year^^^^

Combined (buildings and contents) insurance could cost from

per year^^^^^

^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £114.56 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.
^^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £67.86 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.
^^^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £146.36 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

The cost of home insurance is determined by a number of factors. With buildings insurance, the price is calculated according to how much your house would cost to rebuild, plus your postcode. With contents insurance, the value of your possessions and where you live are the main considerations. In both cases, whether you have made claims in the past will also be taken into account.

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How can I make my home insurance cheaper?

There are a few simple steps you can take to try to reduce the cost of your home insurance:

  • Shop around: Every time your contents and/or buildings insurance comes up for renewal, run a fresh quote at Compare the Market. You may find a provider that can offer you a cheaper policy than your current provider, but with the same level of cover.
  • Consider a combined policy: If you need contents and buildings insurance, you might pay less if you buy both from the same provider.
  • Boost security: Using high-quality locks on your doors and windows, and installing a burglar alarm and smoke alarm, could make your home insurance cheaper.
  • Avoid instalments: If you can afford it, pay your premium upfront in one go. If you opt to pay in monthly instalments, you might be charged interest on top.
  • Increase the excess: If you’re willing to raise the amount you contribute towards a claim, you’ll usually pay a lower premium. But don’t opt to pay more excess than you can afford if you need to claim.
  • Build up a no-claims discount: If you don’t make a claim on your home insurance, you could be rewarded with a discount on your next premium. Generally speaking, the longer you go without claiming, the more you can save. And you’re likely to be able to carry over the discount if you switch to another insurance provider, so make sure you include this when you get a quote.

What are home insurance add-ons?

Home insurance add-ons include:

  • Home emergency cover – Provides immediate help in an emergency situation if there’s a risk of further damage to the property or a risk to family members’ health and  safety.  For example, a broken boiler in the winter or a leaking pipe.
  • Accidental damage cover – This covers mishaps caused by you or your family that result in unforeseen damage. For example, spilling red wine on the carpet or putting your foot through the ceiling from the attic. If you’ve got a cat or a dog you might also want to think about getting accidental damage pet insurance.
  • Personal possessions – This covers you for items you carry outside the home, such as mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets, if they get lost or stolen.
  • Legal expenses – This would typically cover the legal costs and expenses if you get into a legal dispute with a tradesman or neighbours, or if someone is hurt in your home. It’s sometimes included as standard on home insurance policies.
  • Alternative accommodation – This is usually included as standard but, in some cases, you may have to add it to your policy. It covers you if your property becomes uninhabitable due to flooding, fire, subsidence or storm damage. Your insurance provider will pay for temporary accommodation so you have a roof over your head in the event of an emergency. Flood damage, for example, can take months to dry out and repair – sometimes as long as a year – before your home is liveable again.

Frequently asked questions

How high should I set my home insurance excess?

How high you set your home insurance excess depends on how much you can afford. With compulsory excess, your insurance provider sets the amount and you can’t change it.
With voluntary excess, you can change the amount. By raising your voluntary excess, your premiums are likely to be cheaper. But don’t set it too high – you want to make sure you can afford to pay both the compulsory and voluntary excess, should you need to make a claim.

Does my credit score affect home insurance?

Having a poor credit score may affect the cost of home insurance. But you’re still likely to be able to find an insurance provider with a policy and price that suits you.

Are valuables only protected inside the home?

For your valuables to be protected outside your home, you’ll need personal possessions cover. Some insurance providers include it as a standard feature with contents insurance, but others don’t.

If you do have personal possessions cover, restrictions could apply to what items you’ll be covered for outside the home. You’ll also need to add any valuable items worth more than £1,500 to your quote individually, to make sure they’re covered while you’re out and about.

Do I need home insurance add-ons?

You may decide you need home insurance add-ons if you think your standard policy doesn’t give you enough cover in specific areas. For example, adding accidental damage to your policy would typically cover things like ink stains on furniture or orange juice stains on the carpet.

What kind of door locks do I have?

Some home insurance providers need to know which types of door lock you have, because some are considered more secure than others.

  • Five-lever mortice locks are often found on wooden front doors and require a key to both lock and open them. You could receive a discount on your premium if your lock has the British Standard Kitemark on it.
  • Multi-point locking systems are commonly found on uPVC doors. If you need to lift up the handle to lock the door, you’ll probably have one of these. They have a minimum of three locking points that all lock simultaneously with the turn of a key.
  • Night latches are mounted on the surface of a door so aren’t as secure as other types of lock. Their advantage is that they automatically lock the door when it closes. Double-locking night latches are the most secure as they need a key to open the door from inside and outside.

How much cover do I need?

When working out how much buildings insurance to get, remember that you only need to insure the cost of rebuilding your home and not its market value. You can find the rebuild cost of your property in your home survey or by using the rebuilding calculator on the Building Cost Information Service website.

The best way to calculate the value of your home’s contents is to make an inventory of all your possessions. When you get a quote with us, you can use our handy calculator to help you add up the value of the contents in your home, room by room.

Find out more about how to estimate the value of your home contents.

Can I still get home insurance during building works?

If you’re building an extension or carrying out any sort of construction work on your property, you should let your home insurance provider know. While knocking down walls, plumbing work and taking up floors will usually be carried out safely, they all have the potential to cause damage that could lead to an insurance claim.

It’s likely you’ll have to pay more for your premium, both during the construction work itself and afterwards, as an extension will add to the rebuild cost.

If you’re carrying out large-scale renovations to your home, you might need specialist insurance to cover you during the work.

Are leaks covered by home insurance?

Most buildings insurance policies will cover you for burst pipes and water leaks as standard. This is usually classed as an ‘escape of water’, whether it’s caused by burst pipes, blocked drains or a leaky washing machine.

If you do make a claim for an escape of water, however, you might find you have to pay a higher compulsory excess. That’s the fixed amount you’ll have to contribute towards the claim. Check your policy documents for specific details.

What do I need to get a quote?

When you start a home insurance quote with us, it’s a good idea to have some basic information about your property, including:

  • Your current home insurance policy documents
  • Details about your property
  • The rebuild value of your home
  • The level of cover you need

We’ll ask you questions to make sure we have all the information we need, including your personal details, to provide you with a list of suitable quotes.

The results will also show you optional extras you might want to consider, such as accidental damage insurance.

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Why use Compare the Market?

We search home insurance from 74 leading provider products***

Get a price in under
12 minutes****

Save up to £107 by switching*****

***Correct as of November 2020.
****On average it can take less than 12 minutes to complete a home insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020. 
Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during February 2021. 50% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Compare the Market.

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As of the 30 April 2021 our customers rate us 4.7/5 based on 28,035 unique customer reviews.

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What our expert says

"With home insurance in place, it’s good to know that you can make a claim if something happens, like a burglary. But I always say prevention is better than cure. Fitting an alarm can reduce the likelihood of someone breaking in and can help lower your premium."

Home insurance providers

We compare 51*** of the UK’s home insurance brands, comparing prices for 74*** home insurance products, to help you get a great-value quote. We’ve compiled this home insurance provider hub to help you compare UK home insurance providers’ individual policies to make sure you can find the policy that’s right for you.

***Correct as of November 2020.

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