A simples guide

Who needs home insurance?

Whilst no one ‘needs’ home insurance, and searching for a policy might not be anyone’s idea of fun, having home insurance can bring you peace of mind. If you own a home, you’ll be glad to have it in place if your property or possessions ever get damaged.

Luckily we’re here to help you zero-in on a good home insurance deal to make things as quick and painless as possible. Simples.

What is home insurance?

You might be wondering, what is home insurance exactly? Home insurance is actually an umbrella term for two different types of insurance:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Contents insurance

You can buy both types separately, but frequently people buy them as a joint policy from a single insurer.

piggy bank and house
New house

About buildings insurance

Wondering who needs home insurance? Anyone who owns a property should think about having buildings insurance. Buildings insurance is a policy that covers damage to the structure of your home such as the floors, walls, and roof. Usually, it covers damage to fixtures and fittings too like kitchens and bathrooms, but check this is included in your policy as policies do vary from one insurer to another.

In general though, you should be able to make a claim if your house is damaged by:

  • Natural events like floods or storms
  • Fire, explosions, smoke damage
  • Subsidence
  • Car and lorry collisions
  • Vandalism
  • Falling trees
  • Water damage from leaking pipes
  • Oil leaking from your heating system

Depending on your policy, it might cover other structures around the home itself, such as fences, sheds and garages.


What does buildings insurance NOT cover?

You won’t be covered for general wear and tear, and exactly what is included will change from policy to policy. Unlikely to be included is damage caused by:

  • Frost
  • Leaking gutters
  • Insects, birds and pests

If you tend to go away for weeks at a time, be aware that your policy cover may be reduced significantly for the period that the property is unoccupied over a set period of time (usually 30 or 60 days). You’ll need to speak with your insurer if it’s going to be more than the standard amount allowed and they will amend your policy accordingly.

Do you need buildings insurance?

It is always advisable to have buildings insurance. In fact, buildings insurance will usually be a condition of your mortgage.

If you’re renting, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to sort out the buildings insurance. But you might still want to take out contents insurance to cover your possessions.

About contents insurance

Contents insurance covers loss or damage to the things in your home that aren’t part of the structure of the buildings. So it generally covers all your personal belongings, such as:

  • Furniture, rugs
  • Electronics like TVs, laptops
  • Clothing
  • Jewellery

The level of cover you get depends on your policy, but usually you’ll be covered for fire, flood and theft with a limited amount of accidental damage cover. Full accidental damage cover is usually an upgrade with home contents insurance, as is personal possessions cover for items you take out of the home. So it’s easy to customise your insurance to suit you and your lifestyle. 

Do you need contents insurance?

Unlike buildings insurance, your mortgage provider won’t insist on you having contents insurance, so it’s up to you whether you go for it or not. But you’ll be surprised how much your possessions can add up to. It’s worth knowing that according to The Money Advice Service, the average home contents are worth £45,000. And with contents insurance costing on average just £109 a year, it could be far more cost effective for you to make sure you’re covered.

At comparethemarket.com you can compare different home insurance options for your building and contents insurance, based on your requirements, at the click of a button. That means you know you’re getting the best policy at the right price for you. Leaving you plenty of time to go and do something really exciting… 

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