Home insurance: what insurance do I need for my house?

Make sure you protect your property and possessions by having the right home insurance

What types of insurance do I need for my house?
Published: December 2, 2021 at 1:55 pm
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Making sure you have the best cover when it comes to house insurance will protect you against all sorts of issues, from damage to the building itself to the theft of any valuable belongings inside it, as well as extras such as bikes, tools and garden furniture. With different policies available, along with varying levels of cover, our handy guide will help you determine which is best for you.

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What are the different types of house insurance and what do they cover?

  • Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your home (the walls, windows and roof) as well as fixtures and fittings such as fitted kitchens, basins and baths – essentially anything that can’t be taken with you if you move. This can often extend to garages, greenhouses and sheds, but check the small print.
  • Contents insurance covers the cost of replacing items that get damaged or destroyed in a fire or flood, or are stolen. It’s for everything from clothes and carpets to phones and furniture.
  • Combined buildings and contents is the most popular policy as it covers everything – the structure and all the things inside it.
  • Listed buildings insurance is a must if you live in a Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II listed property, as repairs tend to be more expensive.
  • Landlord insurance covers you if you let a property to others. It also includes cover for loss of rent and public liability.
  • Tenant insurance focuses on contents cover, as you’re not liable for the building you’re living in.

What should I include for content insurance?

Aspects to consider when working out how much cover you want

  • For contents insurance, it should be the approximate total value of all your possessions including furnishings,
    furniture, clothes, electrical items and office equipment.
  • Make sure anything inside the garage, shed or greenhouse is included too, such as bikes, scooters, lawn mowers, garden furniture and any expensive plants.

How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my home?

This is different from its market value and with most online comparison sites you can either accept an estimated rebuild value or enter your own figure using a calculator from the Building Cost Information Service at calculator.bcis.co.uk.

How to get the best deal on home insurance

Get the best price with these top tips

  • Compare levels of cover and check exclusions to ensure you’re only paying for what you need.
  •  Use online comparison sites to find the cheapest quotes. Some insurance companies aren’t on these, so contact them directly.
  • An insurance broker could save you money and is worth paying for if you have a listed building or other specialist needs.
  •  Having a house alarm, security lighting or joining the local Neighbourhood Watch could reduce your premiums.
  • Buying combined buildings and contents insurance often reduces costs.

Useful contacts

Compare home insurance deals at confused.com, comparethemarket.com, moneysupermarket.com or gocompare.com

Get help choosing the right policy and cover at moneyadviceservice.org.uk

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There is plenty of additional advice at citizensadvice.org.uk

Why do I need home insurance?

As your home is the biggest financial investment you’re likely to ever make, here’s why insurance is essential…
  • You’ll get financial protection should your home be damaged due to fire or flood or if anything gets stolen.
  • Buildings insurance is a must when looking for a mortgage, as this is the lender’s security on the loan. It should cover fire, storms, flood and subsidence.
  • A policy should arrange for an alternative place to stay should yours become uninhabitable due to fire or flood.
  • Accidents such as hammering a nail through a water pipe or staining a carpet can be covered with accidental damage.
  • Look for ‘new for old’ – if you need to replace items, you’d expect to have the money to buy the latest versions.
  • Adding home emergency to your cover can pay for things like locksmiths and burst pipes, as well as offering 24-hour help.

Authors

Hayley Gilbert is an award-winning interiors journalist with 25 years' experience writing about everything from blissful bathrooms to the coolest kitchens. Publications she has written for include Good Homes, Country Homes and Interiors, House Beautiful and The English Home.

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