A simples guide

Does home insurance cover wear and tear?

There are two types of home insurance, home buildings insurance and home contents insurance. Buildings insurance covers the structure of your house plus fitted fixtures such as your bathroom, fitted kitchen or anything else that could not be easily removed and taken to another home.

Contents insurance covers your personal possessions that you could move relatively easily. Contents insurance will cover everything from your laptop to three-piece suite.

Many people choose to buy a combined home insurance policy that covers both aspects.

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Understanding your cover

Unlike car insurance, where policies are typically quite similar, home insurance policies can differ quite significantly. It is important to make sure that you understand your cover so that you know what’s included and you’re covered for.

Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) released earlier this year showed that just over 20% of home insurance claims were rejected. It said that the main reason for home insurance claims being rejected was because they were being made for normal wear and tear deterioration, or for damage due to poor maintenance.

Do normal policies not cover wear and tear then?

Not usually, no. Typical home insurance policies do not cover wear and tear. They are put in place to protect you from damage caused by a sudden or unexpected event such as a flood or fire. They’re not there to cover things wearing out, breaking, or failing because you haven’t maintained them properly or they have naturally degraded over time.

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New for old vs wear and tear policies

Above we said that typical policies do not cover wear and tear. This is because they offer what is known as ‘new for old’ or ‘replacement as new’ cover. This type of cover meets the full cost of replacing your items if they’re lost, stolen or destroyed. Alternatively, the insurance provider may meet the costs of repair to restore the item to its former state.

The normal exclusion within ‘new for old’ policies is when it comes to clothes and soft furnishings. These types of item typically deteriorate in quality over time and the insurer usually makes an allowance for this. You’d need to check the specifics of your policy for details.

Policies in practice

Wear and tear can have significant implications on your claim, particularly on large building insurance claims. Proper maintenance is essential to prevent invalidating your claim. For example, if your roof leaked causing water damage you’d want to submit a claim. However, if the cause was found to be several missing tiles that you’d not replaced, the insurer may challenge or reduce your claim.

All policies differ in the detail and therefore it’s really important to check the terms of your cover when you take out the insurance. When comparing prices with our home insurance comparison service we always give you the option to find out ‘more details’. If this still isn’t enough detail, you can review policies documents or contact the insurance provider directly.

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