Can I have two home insurance policies on one house?

Taken out a new home insurance policy when you already have one? Overlapping policies can cause administrative and financial headaches. Here are the key things to think about.

Taken out a new home insurance policy when you already have one? Overlapping policies can cause administrative and financial headaches. Here are the key things to think about.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
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Posted 01 DECEMBER 2020

What counts as having two home insurance policies?

You can buy separate buildings and contents insurance for your property, and the policies can be with different providers.

But what you don’t want to do is double up on either of these. This happens when you have two insurance policies that cover the same thing for the same property – two contents insurance policies, for example.

As well as costing you extra money, double insuring can complicate making a claim on your home insurance as you’ll be dealing with two insurance providers. This could potentially delay your claim. It could also mean you lose your no-claims bonus across both providers.

Will I get paid twice if I’m double insured and need to make a claim?

No, it doesn’t work like that. Claiming the full amount from more than one insurance provider is considered fraud. You can only make one claim.

If you’re double insured and you make a claim, the two insurance providers might decide to use something called a contribution clause. This means they split your claim between them and pay a proportion of it each. As well as being an administrative headache for you, it could also mean your premiums go up when it’s time to renew your home insurance.

A contribution clause will be outlined in your policy documents. It will explain how much of the share your insurance provider will pay in the case of double insurance.

Did you know?

Doubling up – having two different insurance policies that cover the same thing – doesn’t just happen with home insurance. It’s also a common problem with car and travel insurance. Although it’s not illegal, the cost of double insurance and the administrative problems with making a claim can create an unnecessary headache that can easily be avoided.

Whenever you take out an insurance policy, always check the terms and conditions to find out what’s included and whether you need to cancel the cover manually once it expires.

How to avoid having two home insurance policies

You could accidentally end up with double cover for one house if you forget to cancel a policy that’s automatically renewed, while taking out a new policy with another provider.

  • Check whether your home insurance policy renews automatically and, if it does, think about opting out of this.
  • Make a note of the renewal date and put time aside to compare quotes before your policy ends – you may find you can get a better deal if you switch insurance providers.
  • Make it clear to your previous provider that you’re not renewing if you find a quote that suits you better.

If you discover you have two home insurance policies running at the same time, you can contact each insurance provider to see if they’ll refund part of the premium. You should get all your money back if you cancel within the 14-day ‘cooling off’ period – that’s 14 days from the day your policy starts or when you receive your policy documents, whichever is later.

Find out more about cancelling your home insurance policy. 

What about moving to a new home?

If you’re buying a new property, you can have two home insurance policies running at the same time – one for the old property and another for the new.

Once you’ve exchanged contracts on a property, you become its legal owner and you’re obliged to go through with the sale – even if there’s an unforeseen event, such as a fire or a flood. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have home insurance in place as soon as contracts are exchanged. You’ll only need buildings insurance for the new property until you move in, then you’ll want to consider contents insurance too.

Once you move to your new home, you’ll need to either cancel the home insurance policy on your old home or transfer it to your new property, if your provider will allow that. Your premium will be recalculated for the new property.

If you’ve decided to switch to a new insurance provider for your new home, you’ll need to cancel your old policy. Check whether you’ll have to pay a cancellation fee, so you can factor that into the cost.

Second homes and rental properties

A second home or a rental property will need insuring too. If you have a second home, you’ll need a separate policy in addition to home insurance for your main residence.

Specialist landlord insurance is available if you receive a rental income on your second property.

You may also need specialist insurance for your second home if the property is:

  • not your primary residence
  • left unoccupied for long periods of time – usually more than 30 days
  • let out as a holiday home
  • used as a holiday home by friends and family.

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