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Last updated: 24 May 2021
When it comes to home insurance, things work a little differently if you live in a flat. Unlike in houses, several different living situations can be going on simultaneously in a block of flats, therefore there are a few more things to be aware of.
What is flat insurance?
Flat insurance is simply home insurance for flats. It has two parts:
In a nutshell, if you own your property then you will usually need to have buildings insurance – though we’ll delve deeper into this later on. For renters, it’s your landlord’s duty to arrange this.
Do I need contents insurance for my flat?
Everyone should have contents insurance, whether you rent or own. It covers all your possessions in the event of theft, fire or flood, as well as loss and accidental damage. Should one of these less-than-desired situations arise, having contents insurance means you’ll receive a payout to take care of the financial implications.
That’s why it’s imperative you don’t underestimate the value of your possessions.
You should use a contents insurance calculator to ascertain their worth, totalling up everything from cutlery to cushions – not just the high-value items – aiming to be as accurate as possible. On the flipside, don’t overestimate either, as this’ll lead to higher premiums.
Flat insurance for flatshares
If you flatshare, decide among your flatmates whether you should take out individual contents insurance or one all-encompassing, communal policy to cover all inhabitants. A single policy will likely be cheaper, but if one flatmate’s room is kitted out with all the latest, expensive tech, you’ll find that pushes the group premium price up. Similarly, if you have a rotation of flatmates joining and exiting the lease, this can complicate things.
Do I need buildings insurance for my flat?
We’ve established that if you rent, you don’t need to consider buildings insurance. On the other hand, if you own your flat then you’ll need buildings insurance, but the extent of cover you’ll need depends on whether the ownership is leasehold or freehold.
Leasehold flat insurance
If you have a leasehold, that means a landlord – individual or company – actually owns the building structure and the land it’s on, whereas you just own the bit of it which is your flat. Most flats are leasehold ownership, particularly with the rapid growth of skyrise serviced apartments.
When a landlord owns the lease on your building, typically you’ll pay for buildings insurance through a service charge or similar fee. Yet this doesn’t exempt you from needing buildings insurance entirely. You’ll still need to have flat insurance for the part of the building you own – that’s your floors, walls and ceilings, as well as fitted kitchens and bathrooms, as these are considered structures.
Freehold flat insurance
Freehold is where you own the land the building is on, too. Now, unfortunately no seller is offering you a smart, two-bedroom apartment that happens to come with the rights to all the building’s land as well. But with flats, occupants can instead buy a share of the freehold – that means they own part of the land. And often, tenants club together to buy a greater share of the freehold.
Freehold means you have more control over the property, as you own part of the land it’s on. Yet freehold ownership means you have greater obligations when it comes to maintaining the building, such as looking after stairwells, hallways and roofs. Part of your responsibility as a freeholder will be to have comprehensive buildings insurance.
You may choose to take out your own buildings insurance, but many freehold owners opt for shared policies to bring the cost down. Whichever you decide, be sure to compare home insurance quotes with us first to guarantee you get the best price on the market.
Flat insurance for students
As renters, students only need to have contents insurance. You can look for specialist halls of residency policies, communal policies or individual policies, though be aware that as students are considered a higher-risk, you may not find every company will offer you a flat insurance deal.
Alternatively, your parents may have contents insurance on their home insurance policy. Some insurers allow contents cover to be extended to children temporarily living away from home, so your possessions could well be insured even if you’re not living at your parents’ place. However, don’t just assume this – make sure you check the details of mum and dad’s policy!
Compare flat insurance
Don’t be bowled over by flat insurance. The basics are the same as any home insurance policy: if you rent, you’ll need contents cover; if you own then you’ll likely need a degree of buildings cover, but the specifics and extent of which will depend on the terms of your property ownership.
Once you know what level of flat insurance you need, simply run a home insurance comparison using our tool to scour hundreds of companies for the most suitable deal for you - all we need is a few details about your property so we can cater our results to match!