A simples guide

What’s included in a family home insurance policy?

Family home insurance typically breaks down into two distinct pieces, the insurance of your house itself, or buildings insurance as it’s known, and the insurance of your contents. You can also get joint home insurance.

Buildings insurance

The structure of your home is covered by buildings insurance. In other words, the walls, the roof, the windows and so on. It also covers ‘permanent fixtures’ so this could mean a fitted kitchen or bathroom for example.

While all policies differ in the detail, all buildings insurance policies should usually cover you in the event of fire, storm, flood, subsidence, burst pipes, theft or damage from a falling trees for example.

If you’ve children running around you may want to consider accidental damage cover. As most insurance providers will charge you extra for this cover, you’ll need to weigh the risk of them causing structural damage against the extra premium!

Remember that building insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear, so if materials on your roof simply wear out for example, your policy won’t cover you for a new roof.

There are certain obligations placed upon you when you take out the cover, such as not leaving the house unoccupied for more than 30 days. Always read terms, conditions and exclusions to ensure that you’re happy with the level of cover provided and that you won’t unwittingly invalidate your policy.

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Contents insurance

When insuring your contents you’ll need to select a limit to the cover. Make sure you do a decent job of estimating this. Your possessions tend to be worth more than you’d initially guess.

Make an inventory of the value of any significant possessions as you wander from room to room. Don’t forget that floor, and window coverings are contents too, so you’ll need to include your carpets and curtains.

Most policies also have a single item limit. Per item, the sum insured is the maximum that they’ll pay out in the event that something is stolen or broken. You may need to get valuables listed separately on your policy if you have items that are worth more than this limit.You may have to prove the value of the item by, for example, providing a receipt or a valuation. 

If you’ve children in the house, it may be worth adding accidental damage cover to your policy. That way if a little hand happens to knock your favourite vases flying, you’ll have some protection in place.

door with smashed glass

More on contents insurance

Contents insurance is usually arranged on a new for old basis. In other words, if your TV gets damaged, the policy will pay out for an equivalent new one.

You may see indemnity policies offered as opposed to new for old. These policies take into account wear and tear and will reduce the value of your claim accordingly.

In this case, if that TV happened to be a number of years old, the insurance company will pay out based on its current value. While these policies are cheaper, you can see that they will usually pay out a lot less in the event of a claim.

If you take expensive items out and about with you, such as your phone, your laptop or even an expensive coat, you might want to add ‘personal possessions cover’. This cover insures your possessions for loss, damage or theft outside of the family home.

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