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Buildings insurance

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Get a Limited Editions Sleepy Oleg toy*. Don't forget to claim within 10 days of purchase. Ends 14 December. Plus a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies* when you buy through us

Get a Limited Editions Sleepy Oleg toy*. Don't forget to claim within 10 days of purchase. Ends 14 December. Plus a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies* when you buy through us

Get a Limited Editions Sleepy Oleg toy*. Don't forget to claim within 10 days of purchase. Ends 14 December. Plus a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies* when you buy through us

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  • Compare buildings insurance from £113/year** & get a Limited Editions Sleepy Oleg toy*. Don't forget to claim within 10 days of purchase. Ends 14 December
  • Plus a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies* when you buy through us

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £113.00 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in August 2020.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is an insurance policy which could cover the cost of repairing damage or rebuilding the structure of your home if it's damaged by an event you're insured for, such as a fire, flood or storm. This includes cover for your roof, floors and walls, as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings, like your kitchen and bathroom. Buildings insurance can also cover outside structures connected to your home, such as garages and pipes. 

Who is buildings insurance for?

  • If you’re a homeowner with a mortgage, your lender will usually insist that you have adequate buildings cover for the term of your mortgage – that is, while the mortgage company has an interest in the property. You’ll typically need to have buildings insurance in place on the date you exchange contracts, as this is when you become legally responsible for the property.
  • If you don’t have a mortgage, there’s no legal requirement to have buildings insurance – but remember that repairs to your home can be very expensive. Taking out a buildings insurance policy could save you money in the long run and might give you peace of mind too.
  • If you’re a landlord, you are still the owner of the building, and so any repairs will be your responsibility. Buildings insurance can cover these costs. 

Who doesn’t need buildings insurance?

  • If you’re renting, then it’s usually your landlord’s responsibility to have buildings insurance in place – the only thing you need to worry about as a tenant is your own  contents insurance.
  • If you own a flat, then the freehold building that your flat is a part of may be insured by the landlord of the building. You should always check this to see if you need to arrange your own cover. 
  • If you own a home without a mortgage, while mortgage providers may require you to take out buildings insurance, once the home is yours, it’s entirely up to you. However, it’s always recommended that you get cover, to avoid a large bill in the event of your home being damaged.

What does buildings insurance cover?

As well as fire, flood and storm damage to the physical structure of your home, buildings insurance can cover you for:

  • subsidence and heave
  • burst pipes
  • accidental damage
  • gardens and patios
  • swimming pools
  • temporary accommodation if you have to move out of your home while it’s being repaired

Check your policy to see exactly what it includes. You can always add on extra cover.

What should I think about when choosing buildings insurance?

Not all buildings insurance policies share the same features, but things to consider include: 

The type of damage your policy covers 
Most policies will cover damage caused by things like fire, flood, subsidence, storms and other natural disasters. Most will also offer cover for burst pipes and even against falling trees. Buildings insurance cover varies depending on your provider, so it’s always a good idea to read your policy thoroughly. You can usually add accidental damage cover to your policy for mishaps such as drilling a hole through a pipe or accidentally putting your foot through the ceiling. 
 
Alternative accommodation 
If your home is uninhabitable due to damage caused by an insured event such as a fire or flood, this covers the cost of somewhere to stay during repairs. It often comes with a maximum amount you can claim so it’s worth checking how much cover you have in place. 
 
Compulsory excess 
The compulsory excess is set by the insurance provider and you’ll always have to pay it if you make a claim. You can choose the amount of voluntary excess when you take out the policy. It then also becomes payable when you make a claim. Usually a higher voluntary excess will lead to lower premiums. But remember you have to be able to afford this excess if you make a claim.  See more in our guide to home insurance excess. 
 
No claims discount (NCD) 
Your no claims discount works the same way it does for car insurance – if you don’t make a claim on your buildings insurance over a 12-month period then you may be looked on more favourably by your insurance provider, which may result in a reduced premium. However, your provider takes other circumstances into account when considering your premium, so it may not always result in a reduction.  See more on no claims discounts. 
 
Unoccupied properties 
Always contact your insurance provider to let them know if your property will be empty for any period, as special terms may need to be applied to your policy for your cover to remain in place. If your home is unoccupied (usually for 30 days or more) then your policy might not be valid and your insurance provider could refuse to pay out for certain claims.  See our guide to unoccupied property insurance. 
 
What your policy won’t cover 
Your buildings insurance won’t typically cover general wear and tear. Pest infestations, faulty or poor workmanship by contractors, or even frost damage might not be included either, so check your policy carefully.

How much should I insure my building for?

It’s important to know that there’s likely a difference between your home’s market value, and the cost of rebuilding your home. The cost of rebuilding your home is known as the ‘buildings sum insured’. As a general rule, the buildings sum insured is usually lower than the market value of the home, but this isn’t always the case. 
 
While there’s nothing stopping you from calculating the cost yourself, it’s best to get your home surveyed to get the most accurate estimate possible. This way, you’re not over or under insuring your home. 
 
To get a rough idea of how much your home could cost to rebuild, use the rebuild cost calculator provided by The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). You’ll find an RICS calculator within our home insurance comparison service, so don’t worry if you’re unsure of this cost, we’re here to help. 

What factors affect your homes rebuild value?

Trying to calculate the cost of rebuilding your home can be difficult. You can either use the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS), or, better yet, get your home surveyed for the most accurate estimate possible. However, there are a number of basic factors which can affect your homes rebuild value. 
 
The materials used to build your home will be a large factor, if your home is made of non-standard materials, i.e. something other than brick, you’ll may find that your home will be more expensive to rebuild, or may require a specialist home insurance policy. 
 
If your home is a listed building, this will likely make rebuilding your home much more expensive.

Frequently asked questions

How can I get cheaper buildings insurance?

While getting cover can seem complicated, there are several easy things which can help you quickly save money on your buildings insurance:

  • Compare quotes and providers – the quickest way to shop around for buildings insurance is to use a service like Compare the Market. We help you compare providers side-by-side, allowing you to pick the provider from your selection that offers the right package for you, at the cheapest price.
  • Combine your policy with contents insurance – combining buildings and contents for your home insurance policy is a quick and easy way to get a discount. Providers will usually offer you better rates this way, and it also makes things easier to manage if you need to make a claim.
  • A no claims discount – if you’re lucky enough to have never needed to claim on your home insurance before, you should have built up a no claims discount bonus. Include this in your application, and you will receive a discount for no extra effort.
  • Pay up front – if you can, paying for your policy in full tends to be the cheaper way to get cover. If you opt to pay in instalments, you’ll usually find it’s more expensive.

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

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – the roof, walls, ceilings, floor, doors and windows – as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings, such as your kitchen or bathroom. It also covers pipes, cables and drains that belong to your house.

Contents insurance insures the type of possessions you could take with you when you move home.

Insurance providers often bundle together buildings and contents insurance under the generic term ‘home insurance’. It can often be more economical, and less hassle, to buy the two together.

Will buildings insurance cover rising damp?

Most insurance policies won’t cover you for damage caused by rising damp, or for condensation. But if you have rising damp, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider. Buildings insurance typically covers one-off events that cause damage to your home; damage due to damp happens over a long period of time and therefore isn’t usually covered.

Always check the terms of your policy carefully to see what it does and doesn’t cover.

Do I need buildings insurance if I rent?

Not usually. The building is the landlord’s responsibility so it’s up to them to put this cover in place. But if you want financial protection for your possessions, you’ll need contents insurance. Find out more about rental contents insurance.

Can I get buildings insurance in a flood risk area?

It can be difficult to get buildings insurance if your home is in an area prone to flooding, but the government’s Flood Re scheme should be able to help. It’s designed to make sure people in high flood risk areas can get cover for their homes at affordable prices. See more on Flood Re.

Does buildings insurance cover subsidence?

Your buildings insurance policy should cover the cost of repairing damage to your house caused by subsidence, but make sure you check. If you make a claim for subsidence, or if your home has a history of it, you may find that you have to pay a higher premium. Also, you’ll probably have to pay a higher excess in the future – potentially as much as £1,000. Find out more about subsidence and home insurance.

What should I think about when choosing buildings insurance?

Not all buildings insurance policies share the same features, but things to consider include:

The type of damage your policy covers
Most policies will cover damage caused by things like fire, flood, subsidence, storms and other natural disasters. Most will also offer cover for burst pipes and even against falling trees. Buildings insurance cover varies depending on your provider, so it’s always a good idea to read your policy thoroughly. You can usually add accidental damage cover to your policy, for mishaps such as drilling a hole through a pipe or accidentally putting your foot through the ceiling.

Alternative accommodation
If your home is uninhabitable due to damage caused by an insured event, such as a fire or flood, this could cover the cost of somewhere to stay during repairs. It often comes with a maximum amount you can claim, so it’s worth checking how much cover you have in place.

Compulsory excess
The compulsory excess is set by the insurance provider and you’ll always have to pay it if you make a claim. You can choose the amount of voluntary excess when you take out the policy. This also becomes payable when you make a claim. Usually a higher voluntary excess will lead to lower premiums. But remember, you have to be able to afford this excess if you make a claim. See more in our guide to home insurance excess.

No claims discount (NCD)
Your no claims discount works the same way it does for car insurance – if you don’t make a claim on your buildings insurance over a 12-month period, then you may be looked on more favourably by your insurance provider, which may result in a reduced premium. However, your provider takes other circumstances into account when considering your premium, so it may not always result in a reduction. See more on no claims discounts.

Unoccupied properties
Always contact your insurance provider to let them know if your property will be empty for any period, as special terms may need to be applied to your policy for your cover to remain in place. If your home is unoccupied (usually for 30 days or more), then your policy might not be valid and your insurance provider could refuse to pay out for certain claims. See our guide to unoccupied property insurance.

What your policy won’t cover
Your buildings insurance won’t typically cover general wear and tear. Pest infestations, faulty or poor workmanship by contractors, or even frost damage, might not be included either, so check your policy carefully.

How much does buildings insurance cost?

Buildings insurance could cost from

£113
per year**

That’s just

£9.42
per month^^

Combined (buildings and contents) insurance could cost from
£146
per year^^^

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £113.00 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in August 2020.

^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £9.42 per month for their buildings insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments. Based on Compare the Market data in August 2020.

^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £146.00 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in August 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. And your postcode is taken into account, among other factors.

What do I need to get a buildings insurance quote?

Buildings insurance comparison is quick and easy – and you could save money. Give us some details about your home and we’ll give you a selection of quotes from insurance providers.

You’ll just need to know some standard information about your property, such as:

  • when it was built
  • how many rooms it has
  • what the walls are made from.

It’s also handy to have an idea of how much it might cost if you had to rebuild your home. But don’t worry if you’re not sure about this, as we’ll help you by providing an estimate when you get a quote.

You don’t need to have any documents on hand to get a quote.

Getting a buildings insurance quote isn’t about getting the cheapest deal possible. It’s about getting cover that’s right for you at a price you can afford. Remember that policies vary and terms and conditions can differ depending on the insurance provider.

How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my home?

The rebuild value is the amount it would cost to rebuild your home, at the same location, should it be completely destroyed by fire, flood or any other disaster (it’s not the same as the market value). If you underestimate the rebuild value and your home is completely destroyed, then your insurance may not cover the full costs. That's why, when you use Compare the Market, we've got a tool that helps you easily work out the rebuild cost of your home.

Find out more about calculating the rebuild cost of your home.

Chris King

Home insurance expert

“Having problems with the structure of your property can be a nightmare for homeowners. Buildings insurance could give you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re financially protected if something goes wrong. And when you combine it with contents insurance, you’ll know your home is covered – inside and out.”

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 75*** home insurance products

Get a quote in under
12 minutes****

Save up to £108 by switching^^^^

***Correct as of September 2020.

****On average it can take less than 12 minutes to complete a home insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in September 2020.

^^^^Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August 2020 50% of customers could save up to £108.91 on their home insurance premium.

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