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Flat insurance

Flat insurance

Flat insurance is essentially the same cover as standard home insurance you’d get for a house, with just a couple of things to consider. Discover the details of flat contents insurance and buildings insurance, so you can choose the right policy and tick insurance for your flat off your to-do list.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
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Posted 19 FEBRUARY 2020

Why do I need to know about flat insurance?

We’re becoming a nation of flat owners. In 1996, flats formed 13.6% of all homes sold. By 2018, that had jumped to 18.5%. More people moving into flats means more people who need to understand the subtle differences between house and flat insurance. So here’s what you need to know…

Buildings insurance for flats

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – the floors, walls, roof and so on. If you aren’t sure of the basics, start by reading our guide to buildings insurance.

Buildings insurance for flats shouldn't be more complicated than it is for houses. You'll be asked similar questions when getting a quote, with the exception of being asked if your flat has its own separate lockable door.

For flat owners, the difference comes in when you’re thinking about shared parts of the building, for example, the stairwell to the property or hallway outside. You wouldn’t usually need to have home insurance for this part of the flat as this is the responsibility of whoever owns the entire block.

Buildings insurance

If you own or part own the building's freehold

If you and someone else/other people jointly own the freehold of a building with a few flats in it, then you’ll probably need to get specialist home insurance as it will be covering two properties within one building.

The basic principle is that you insure what is your legal responsibility. Even on a leasehold, you’re likely to be responsible for your part of the building, not just the walls and ceilings but also fitted kitchens and bathrooms - all these will come under buildings insurance.

If a company owns your building's freehold

If you own your flat on a lease with the rest of the block owned by a company, the company owning the freehold may well take responsibility for shared areas of  the block and thigs like the roof. Or depending on your contract, you may be responsible for a proportion of repair costs of the roof should it be damaged. Your lease should spell out your responsibilities. 

It’s not uncommon for claims to be made against multiple insurance companies for damage to roofs. The same principles apply to shared drains servicing multiple properties as there is a share of  legal responsibility.

If you are not sure where the responsibility lies – check your lease or freehold as they should spell out what is your legal responsibility.

If you rent your flat

As with any property, if you’re renting you usually don’t have to worry about buildings cover for your flat insurance – that’s your landlord’s responsibility. Find out more about buildings insurance if you rent.

What insurance do I need if I rent?

Contents insurance for flats

Contents insurance covers the personal possessions in your house. It doesn't include fixtures like bathroom fittings, or fitted kitchens, but it usually includes fitted carpets. If you aren’t sure of the basics, start by reading our guide to contents insurance.

If you need help in working out the value of the contents of your flat then our useful calculator can help you. Remember you should add up the total contents of your home from kitchen mugs to your wardrobe, not just the valuable items – as otherwise you could end up underinsured and your claim may not be paid in full.

Contents insurance

Flat contents insurance and building security

Usually your insurance provider will want to know about building security when they calculate your flat insurance premiums. You could expect to be asked if your flat is self contained and has it’s own lockable entrance.  

If you live in a house, you’ll often have the ability to change the security measures to reduce your buildings insurance premiums. In a block of flats, you’d probably have to speak to the landlord or management company.

Contents insurance for shared flats

If you share a flat with other people, you would need to get contents insurance for your own belongings which are your legal responsibility. If your flat mate loses their mobile phone, you can’t claim for it as you don’t own the item and vice versa.

Joint contents insurance could be an option if you have bought furniture, kitchen utensils, a TV together with your flat mate and therefore both of you have a financial interest if any of the items were damaged. You can do this by adding your flat mate as a joint policyholder to your policy. This could also be the best option for you if you’re living with your partner and share your belongings.

I live in a shared house. Can I get contents insurance for my room only?

Compare flat insurance

When you compare home insurance with us, we’ll ask you what type of home you live in so we can show you policies that cater for flats like yours.

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