Buildings insurance

  • Buy buildings insurance for up to £118 per year**
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**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £117.95 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance 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. A buildings insurance policy normally 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.

Do I need buildings insurance? 

Not sure if you need buildings insurance? Let’s take a look… 

  • 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 provider 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 own a home without 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’re still the owner of the building and any repairs will be your responsibility. Buildings insurance can cover these costs.
  • 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.

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 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. Read our guide to alternative accommodation insurance.

Compulsory and voluntary 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. You’ll have to pay both if you make a claim. A higher voluntary excess will usually lead to lower premiums. But remember you must 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 for an extended period of time (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 your 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.

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What factors affect your homes rebuild value?

The materials used to build your home will be a key factor. If your home is made of non-standard materials, so something other than brick, you 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.

How much does buildings insurance cost?

Buildings insurance could cost up to £118 per year**

That’s just £9.83 per month^^

Combined (buildings and contents) insurance could cost up to £152 per year^^^

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. Your postcode also plays a big role in the cost of your buildings insurance, as your insurance provider will assess the likelihood of you making a claim based on where you live and the number of claims made in your local area. 

**51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £117.95 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March 2022.

^^51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £9.83 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 March 2022.

^^^51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £151.96 per year for their buildings and contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March 2022.

How can I get cheaper buildings insurance? 

While getting cover can seem complicated, there are several ways to 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 a selection that offers the right package for you.
  • Combine your policy with contents insurance – combining buildings and contents insurance in one policy is a quick and easy way to get a discount. Providers will usually offer you better rates and it’s easier to manage if you need to make a claim.
  • A no claims discount – if you’ve never needed to claim on your home insurance before, you should have built up a no claims discount. Include this when applying for buildings insurance and you should receive a discount for no extra effort.
  •  Pay upfront – if you can, paying for your policy in full could save you a few pounds. If you opt to pay in monthly instalments, you’ll typically be charged interest on top.

What do I need to get a buildings insurance quote?

Buildings insurance comparison is quick and easy – and it could save you 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 basic information about your property, such as:

  • When it was built
  • How many rooms it has
  • What the walls are made from 
  • Any problems or repairs you’ve had in the past

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.

We’ll also need to know a little bit more about you and the other people living in your home, including what you do for a living and how long you’ve lived in your home.

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. To make sure we show you quotes that work for you, we’ll ask you how much excess you want to pay and if you want to add extra cover for accidental damage or legal expenses, for example.

Remember that policies vary, and terms and conditions can differ depending on the insurance provider, so it’s important to read the fine print carefully.

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 have 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.

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 64*** home insurance products

Buildings insurance could cost up to £118 per year**

That’s just £9.83 per month^^

***Correct as of March, 2022.

**51% of people could achieve a quote of £117.95 per year for their buildings home insurance based on Compare the Market data in March, 2022.

^^51% of people could achieve a quote of £9.83 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 March, 2022.

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Author image Chris King

What our expert says...

“No one likes to think of their property being damaged. But buildings insurance could give you the peace of mind of knowing that you’re financially protected if something happens to the structure of your house, for example if the roof is damaged in a storm or there’s a fire. And when you combine buildings insurance with contents insurance, you’ll know your home is covered – inside and out.”

- Chris King, Home insurance expert

What do our customers say?

Based on 28,035 reviews, our customers rated us 4.7 out of 5.

Easy to use. Great prices. Thanks again you lovely meerkats!
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About Compare the Market 

We know comparing insurance and utilities isn’t much fun. So at Compare the Market it’s all about keeping it simple. We do all the legwork to help you find the right product for you at the right price. And you can trust us to be impartial – we make money when you switch or take out a new product, so it’s in our interests to help you make the right choice. Comparing with us is about the enjoyable stuff too – we love to reward you with Meerkat Meals and Meerkat Movies when you take out qualifying products with us.*

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Frequently asked questions

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

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – the roof, walls, ceilings, floors, 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 covers possessions you can 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 so isn’t usually covered.

Read our guide to condensation and damp to find out more. And 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.

Do I have to get buildings insurance through my mortgage provider?

No, you don’t. Some mortgage providers will include buildings insurance as part of a mortgage package and that can certainly take some of the hassle out of the process. If they don’t and they try to sell it to you separately, you don’t have to take it. You’re free to shop around to find the right buildings insurance for you, but make sure you have adequate cover in place or your mortgage provider might not accept it.

Read our guide to getting your buildings insurance from your mortgage provider.

Do leaseholders need buildings insurance?

It depends. Often, with leasehold flats, the owner of the freehold will buy buildings insurance for the entire building and pass the cost onto the leaseholders through a service charge. This isn’t always the case though, so it’s important to read the lease carefully to see where you stand. If it hasn’t been taken care of by the freehold owner, then you’ll need to arrange your own buildings insurance. In some cases, you may find it cheaper to band together with the other leaseholders in your building.

See our guide to leasehold buildings insurance.

Am I covered for renovations and extensions?

It depends on your policy and the type of home improvement. You should always let your insurance provider know of any work that’s taking place and check with them to see if you’re covered. You might also want to consider accidental damage insurance to protect your home and contents from any damage caused by DIY home improvements.

For more information, read our guide to buildings insurance and home improvements.

Do I need buildings insurance for unoccupied properties?

If you’re leaving your home or property empty for an extended period of time, usually more than 30 days, you’ll need to arrange extra cover with your insurance provider or get a specialist policy to cover unoccupied properties.

How do I know when my property was built?

There are several ways to help you find out when your house was built: 

  • Check your home or mortgage survey
  • Check your mortgage offer
  • Check the title deeds
  • Submit an enquiry to HM Land Registry (for properties in England and Wales)
  • Speak to your local council
  • Ask the seller or estate agent
  • Talk to your neighbours

For more information, read our guide When was my house built?