Is home insurance a legal requirement?

Do you really need to have home insurance? Is it mandatory or is it something you can live without? Here’s our essential guide to what you need to know, whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or renter.

Do you really need to have home insurance? Is it mandatory or is it something you can live without? Here’s our essential guide to what you need to know, whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or renter.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
4
minute read
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Posted 15 JANUARY 2020 Last Updated 22 MARCH 2022

Is home insurance mandatory?

Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s always a good idea to financially protect your home. After all, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ll need home insurance cover – according to the Association of British Insurers, insurance providers pay out an average of £8 million a day to reimburse homeowners for damage and loss.

What type of home insurance do I need? 

Home insurance can protect both your home itself and your belongings inside it. What you need partly depends on whether you own or rent your home. 

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your property, including the walls, floors and roof, against unforeseen events, like fire, floods and storms. It also covers the permanent fixtures of your home – fitted kitchens and bathroom suites, for example.

Contents insurance covers everything in your home that you can take with you if you were to move house – from your furniture to your TV and fridge. It usually includes carpets.

Home insurance can also offer handy add-ons at an extra cost, like cover for your personal possessions outside the home.

Do I need home insurance if I have a mortgage?

If you have a mortgage, your mortgage provider has likely made it a condition of the loan that you have buildings insurance in place. After all, they want to make sure that the asset you both own is protected. 

But it’s your choice whether to get contents insurance. It can be tempting not to do so, especially if you’ve just forked out a big deposit for a mortgage. But ask yourself: could you really afford to replace your belongings out of your own pocket if, for example, they were stolen or destroyed in a fire or flood?

I own my property outright. Do I still need home insurance?

If you own your home outright, then there’s no obligation for you to take out either buildings or contents insurance. That said, your home and its contents are likely to be your family’s biggest asset.

So when it comes to having financial security, you’re better off shelling out for an insurance premium than losing everything to fire, flood or theft.

I own and live in a leasehold flat. Do I have to buy home insurance?

You may well find that your freeholder is responsible for buildings insurance and that you pay your share of it as part of your service charge, rather than you having to take it out yourself.

It depends on the conditions of your lease though, so you need to check. It could be that you insure parts of the flat that are your legal responsibility and your leaseholder covers the communal parts of the building. 

However, your freeholder won’t be responsible for insuring the contents of your flat. Again, contents insurance isn’t mandatory, but you should seriously consider it to protect yourself against the loss of your possessions.

I’m a landlord. Do I need to take out home insurance? 

If you’re a landlord with a buy-to-let mortgage, you’ll find that your mortgage provider will probably insist you take out buildings insurance. Consider a landlord home insurance policy as a standard home insurance policy is unlikely to offer you the cover you need for a rental property. 

If you own the building outright, you’re not legally obliged to have buildings insurance, but not doing so will mean you’re liable for the full cost of any building repairs. 

And if you’re letting a furnished property, it may be a good idea to get contents cover for expensive items like beds, sofas and kitchen appliances. 

Many insurance providers offer landlord insurance, which can include buildings and contents cover. Compare landlord insurance with us to find the right deal for you. You can also add loss of rent insurance to cover your income if your property becomes uninhabitable because of fire or flood damage.

Do I need home insurance if I’m renting?

If you’re privately renting, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building. But you may want to take out your own contents insurance. Again, this isn’t compulsory. Be aware that if you choose not to take out contents cover, you’ll have to pay to replace your belongings if they’re damaged or stolen.

How much home insurance do I need? 

Whether you’re taking out buildings insurance, contents insurance or both, it’s important to get the right amount of cover. If you undervalue your home and possessions, you could end up under-insured, which could reduce your pay-out if you come to make a claim. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay for insurance cover that you don’t need.

Buildings insurance is based on the rebuild value of your home, not its market value. When you compare buildings insurance with us, you can use the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) calculator to work out your home’s rebuild value. 

We can also help you estimate the value of your home contents.

How can I get a home insurance quote?

Whatever your situation, it makes sense to compare quotes for buildings and contents insurance. That’s where we come in. Start a quote with us today and we’ll help you find suitable home insurance at the right price for you.

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