A simples guide

What does contents and buildings insurance actually cover?

It’s important to know what’s covered by each type of insurance, so here are a few things to bear in mind.


What's the difference?

Imagine picking up your house and shaking it. Contents insurance generally covers everything that falls out - furniture, TVs, clothing and jewellery. Buildings insurance generally covers everything that stays put. Both of these are types of home insurance. 

upside down house
contents and buildings

Which one do I need?

Own your own home? Then you might need to have buildings insurance. If you rent, it’s your landlord’s responsibility.

Whether you own or rent, it’s up to you to sort out contents insurance. If you’re renting you just need contents insurance for your own things, you won’t need to cover the landlords existing furniture for example - they should have contents insurance for their own possessions.

If you own your home, it might be worth considering combined buildings and contents cover. 

Contents insurance

Contents insurance covers your personal possessions if they’re damaged or stolen. It can also include a limited amount of cash, usually around £500, when it’s in your home.

Some things contents insurance doesn’t cover

  • General wear and tear
  • Accidental damage (unless you’ve included it for all your contents)
  • Computer damage caused by a virus
  • Items when they’re outside your home. For them, you need personal possessions cover
dog on sofa

Pricey items

Got a couple of high-end items knocking around? Expensive items like engagement rings, works of art, laptops and sports equipment often have to be listed separately to be covered.

Many policies have a single item limit of around £1,500, so you may need to buy extra cover for them.

Be sure to update your insurer each time you purchase a new pricey item for your home, otherwise it may not be covered. 

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your home itself, or to fixtures and fittings. This includes damage from natural events, like storms, fire or floods and man-made causes like theft or vandalism.

Some things buildings insurance doesn’t cover 

  • General wear and tear
  • Frost damage
  • Gates and fences damaged in storms
  • Damage caused by insects, birds and pests
  • Anything that happens if  your home’s been empty for more than 30 or 60 days. This is because your home will be classed as unoccupied

Surprising additions

Some of the less obvious things building insurance typically covers includes damage from:

  • Falling trees
  • Car and lorry collisions
  • Subsidence (when the ground shrinks under your building)
  • Heave (when the ground expands under your building)
  • Water and oil leaking from pipes or heating systems

It’ll also typically cover the cost of accommodation if you have to move out while the damage is repaired. 

Check it once, check it twice

As many as one in five home insurance claims are unsuccessful, usually because the type of damage isn’t covered. Make sure you check your policy carefully to understand what it includes.