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Last updated: 29 October 2021
The most basic cover when it comes to insuring a property is buildings insurance. This cover will mean you are protected if the worst happens to any of the permanent fixtures in your property. It’s often a condition on getting a mortgage and therefore you should choose your buildings insurance carefully so that you are getting the best cover for the best price. We take a look at the different factors surrounding buildings insurance, and what to look out for before taking out a policy.
What is buildings insurance?
Buildings insurance covers the permanent fixtures in your home should they be damaged or need to be repaired. These include things such as walls, floors, bathroom and kitchen fittings. Some of the more expensive policies will even cover fences or garages. It will not cover your contents in the event of loss or damage, but you can combine this with household contents insurance.
Typically, if you take out a loan to pay for your house you will have to get buildings insurance. If you are renting the property, it’s your obligation as a landlord to have buildings insurance.
What type of damage is covered?
There are a few common ways that your property could be damaged and you will need to make a claim, such as:
- in the event of a fire
- extreme weather events such as floods, snow or earthquakes
- burglary or vandalism
- burst pipes
How much should I insure my building for?
This will depend entirely on your specific situation and varies from property to property. A good starting point would be to find out how much it would cost to rebuild your entire your home at today’s prices. The rebuild cost will be less than the market value as you will not have to pay for the value of the land or local factors. You can use the Association of British Insurers (ABI) rebuild calculator tool to find a figure or another good idea would be to employ a professional chartered surveyor to put a number on how much it would cost to rebuild your home.
What documents will I need?
You will not need any specific documents in order to take out buildings insurance. You will need to to know the rebuild cost, the type of heating system installed, the date you bought the property and the year it was built, and details of any previous claims made on the property.
What are the different factors that could affect the rebuild value?
There are a number of factors that will affect the rebuild value of your home:
- Age of the property: typically if your house is older the materials will be more expensive.
- Quality of materials: different types of materials in your roof, walls, and frame will affect the stability and structure of your home.
- Size: The bigger the property, the higher the cost. The more rooms, windows, and doors that need replacing the more you will have to pay.
- Location: For instance if you live in an area that is likely to flood you will have to pay a higher premium.
If your home is a non-standard property, for example has a thatched roof or is listed, then you may well need specialist buildings insurance as the rebuild cost would likely be higher.
How can I save money on buildings insurance?
The average costs of buildings insurance is around £109 per month. There are a few ways you can save money on your buildings insurance:
- Shop Around: The best way to save money on your buildings insurance is to shop around and compare home insurance, so that you can get the best deal suited to your needs.
- Pay Annually: If you can afford to, paying on a one-off basis per year will generally be cheaper than paying month to month.
- Don’t Over Insure: A common problem with buildings insurance is people do not get an accurate value of their home. This is why it’s best to employ a professional to value your building.
- Smoke Alarms: This could save you money if you are victim of a fire, but also you should have these installed anyway for the safety of your home.
- Combine Policies: You can usually save money if you are a homeowner by combining your buildings and contents cover using the same provider.
- No Claims: Most insurers will offer rewards if you have a history of not claiming. Therefore, by keeping your property in good health you can save money on your premiums with a no-claims bonus.