We'd need to know what type of property you're insuring (e.g. a flat, a house, semi-detached, etc). We'll also need a few details including the number of rooms, the location, and when it was built (a rough estimate is fine).
If you're taking out buildings insurance, we'll need to know an estimated rebuild value for the property. If you're taking out contents insurance, we'd need an estimated value of the possessions you want covered.
Finally, you'll need to provide some basic information about yourself. This would include whether or not you've made any claims on any home insurance policies in the past.
Home insurance compensates you for the damage or loss of your residence and the possessions you keep within it, due to insurable events including fire, crime, burst pipes and leaks, severe weather and other natural disasters. For instance, if your roof was damaged in a high wind, your home insurance provider would pay out to cover its repairs. Or if your television was stolen in a burglary, your policy would pay for a replacement.
There are two components of home insurance. Buildings insurance policies cover the physical structure and permanent fixtures of a home. Contents insurance policies cover your belongings - anything you’d take with you if you moved house. Buildings and contents policies can be bought separately or together from the same provider.
There are two types of home insurance cover: buildings and contents.
Buildings insurance covers the structure and permanent fittings of your house. This includes the property’s floor, walls, roof, ceilings, windows, doors, and bathroom and kitchen fittings. These policies pay out for the repair and reconstruction of these structures due to damage or destruction caused by fires, storms, flooding, natural disasters, falling trees, subsidence, burglary, vandalism, vehicle collisions, explosions and other misfortunes.
You can also top up buildings insurance policies with extra coverage, including for accidental damage caused to your home’s structures, plumbing and heating repairs, and legal expenses associated with property disputes.
You’ll need home insurance if you own your own home. In fact, mortgage lenders often require it, to protect their investment in the property. If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord should have a buildings insurance policy for the property, meaning you won’t be responsible for it.
The average British home holds £35,000 worth of possessions, from stereos to jewellery. Contents insurance provides protection for these items, including electronics, furniture, appliances, personal items like clothing and books, and some valuables and collectibles. Policies pay out for the replacement of items that are stolen or damaged in fires, storms, natural disasters and other exigencies.
There are two types of contents insurance policies. New for old cover will pay for the replacement of old items with new items, for instance giving you a brand new television if your five-year-old one is snatched in a crime. Indemnity policies are cheaper but take into account the age and condition of the item and its depreciation in value when calculating your compensation for its loss.
Both owner-occupiers and tenants will need contents insurance policies.
According to data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average home buildings insurance policy costs £111.83 a year while the average contents insurance policy is £59.22 a year. The average combined policy costs £161.75 per annum.
However, the cost of your particular home insurance policy will depend on a number of factors, including:
Here’s how to find an affordable home insurance policy without sacrificing coverage:
Premiums are correlated to the sum insured of your policy - the amount you would be compensated for the total destruction and loss of your home and/or its contents. While you might be tempted to err on the side of caution and make your sum insured very high or even unlimited, this will hike up your premiums. To limit your costs, insure only what you need. For a buildings insurance policy, this should be the total rebuild value of your home, using a sum-insured policy rather than a loose estimate with a bedroom-rated or blanket policy. For a contents policy, the sum insured should be the value of the possessions you keep within it, as tallied through an inventory.
All home insurance policies come with a compulsory excess - the amount you’ll need to personally pay toward any claim. You can reduce your premiums by negotiating a higher voluntary excess on top of this, but make sure you keep it affordable when it comes to making a claim.
The riskier insurers perceive your home to be, the more they’ll charge you in premiums. You can cut costs by taking measures which protect your home against crime and disasters. This can include securing all doors with insurance-industry approved locks, installing burglar alarms and safes, limiting the amount of time your home is unoccupied, installing smoke alarms, insulating pipes or removing tall trees from the close vicinity of your home.
Insurance providers and policies vary in their price and the level of cover they provide. To find the policy that meets your needs for the best price, try to compare as many quotes as possible. The home insurance comparison service makes this easy, allowing you to fetch dozens of quotes for your property in seconds.
You can top up a standard home insurance policy with additional coverage to tailor it your needs. Common policy extras include:
Covers any damage that you, your family members or invited guests unintentionally cause to the property- such as by spilling a glass of red wine on the carpet or smashing a window. Without this extra, you would otherwise be unable to claim for this damage.
With this add-on, your insurer will arrange and cover the cost of an emergency callout to your home by a tradesperson to fix urgent problems such as broken boilers, leaking pipes, electrical failures or blocked drains. An emergency is defined as anything which makes your home unsafe or vulnerable to thieves, which may cause permanent damage to your home, or which could pose a risk to your and your family’s health.
Provides you with somewhere to stay if an insurable event renders your home unsafe or uninhabitable.
Contents insurance policies can be extended to cover items you take outside of the home, including mobile phones, jewellery and watches, and sometimes bicycles. However, items valued over £1,000 will typically need to be listed separately on your policy.
Many home insurance policies will cover your garden and shed but will impose limits on the contents. If you have a very large shed or property, you may need to top up a standard policy with additional garden and shed coverage.
Covers your legal expenses if you’re sued or need to make a claim against someone else.
There are many different types of home insurance, targeted at different markets, providing cover specific to their needs. These include:
These policies are designed for landlords and buy to let properties. They’ll typically include buildings cover along with contents cover for the appliances and furnishings (including carpets and curtains) you’ve provided with the property, but not those of your tenants. Additional cover can protect you against the specific risks, liabilities, and obligations of being a landlord. For instance, you can get protection against any damage or theft your tenants cause to the property, and cover for legal expenses, including the pursuit of lost rent and eviction of tenants. Rental protection insurance can compensate you for lost rent if the property is rendered uninhabitable due to an insured event, and tenant default or rent guarantee insurance can reimburse you if your tenants fail to pay rent for several months.
Tenants insurance generally includes contents cover for the possessions you bring into the property. It may also include tenants’ liability, covering the repair or replacement of fixtures or the landlord’s furnishings that you accidentally damage.
Second homes may be unoccupied for most of the year, increasing the risk of theft and damage and making them ineligible for standard home insurance policies. Holiday home insurance can cover these properties while they’re unoccupied or being let out.
Regulations restrict the repair and rebuilding of listed buildings, requiring they be reconstructed using traditional materials and methods by certified craftspeople. They’re consequently more expensive to insure. You may need to seek out specialised insurance products for your listed home - such as thatched roof insurance.
A disaster or crime that causes damage to your home and possessions can be financially and emotionally devastating. While we can never entirely prevent misfortune, we can take precautions to protect ourselves should it arise. A home insurance policy can help you quickly recover from a disaster or burglary and rebuild without significant financial expense. And in the meantime, it can offer peace of mind.
As a tenant, you won’t need buildings insurance for the physical structure of your property. That will be covered by your landlord. You will, however, need to insure the possessions you bring into the property with a contents insurance policy. Even if your landlord has a contents policy for the flat, this unfortunately won’t extend to your own belongings. Specialised tenants insurance can also provide you with tenants liability cover and cover for accidental damage you cause to the property and furnishings that the landlord provided.
Insurers cannot refuse to cover homes in flood risk areas if the government still funds flood defences in the area. However, insurers will usually charge more for this coverage. The government-backed Flood Re scheme reduces the cost of insurance for residents in flood risk areas by limiting the amount insurers are liable to pay out for flood claims. Most major insurers participate in the scheme.
If you’re undertaking home renovations, you’ll need to inform your insurer before they commence. Depending on the work, your policy could be restricted while it’s ongoing, for instance if the home will be unoccupied or unsecured. Renovations may also lead to an adjustment in your premiums after completion, for example if they add significant square footage or value to the property.
Your credit score will not impact the cost of your home insurance premiums, but it can restrict your options when it comes to paying for them. If you want to pay for your home insurance in monthly instalments, rather than upfront for the whole year, your insurer may run a credit check to assure themselves that you’ll make the payments. If you have poor credit history, your request to pay monthly may be declined and you may have to pay upfront. However, paying in advance for the year often works out cheaper in the long run.
To make a home insurance claim following a burglary, you’ll need to ring the police and obtain a crime reference number first. For all other claims, you simply proceed to the next step, phoning your insurer. Have your policy number handy - you can find it on your policy documents - and explain what happened in as much detail as possible. You should also gather evidence, including taking photographs of the damage. If the repairs aren’t urgent, wait for your insurers’ approval before you begin them. If you need to undertake emergency repairs, such as to stop an active leak, your insurer will generally reimburse you after the fact - so keep any receipts for the work and the materials used.
Last reviewed: 19 November 2020
Next review: 19 December 2020