In this guide we explain how new build insurance works to help you understand whether it's the right thing for you.
What is a new build?
While the precise definition can differ between lenders, a new build is usually defined as a property built in the last two years and has never been owned or lived in.
You can either buy recently finished properties, or you can go off-plan, which means you buy your home before it’s finished being built.
Do I need home insurance for my new build?
Yes. Mortgage lenders put new builds in their own special category because there are certain predictable things that can go wrong with moving into a previously unused house, such as faulty fittings and construction defects.
Most of this should already be covered by the 10-year warranty that comes as standard with most new builds, but it’s still worth getting new build insurance so that you’re certain you have the cover you need. Many mortgage lenders will actually insist on it.
What does new build insurance cover?
As with standard home insurance, a new build policy is divided into building and contents cover. Depending on the policy, they will be available together or separately, and you can tailor your policy to your needs.
Will cover the actual structure of the building, as well as all the permanent fixtures like bathroom and kitchen. This means you’re insured for the amount it would cost to rebuild the house (labour and materials) from the ground up in the event of a disaster. This is called the rebuild cost. You can compare a wide range of buildings insurance deals with usave.
Ensures your personal belongings are protected against theft and some damage, though each policy will stipulate whether this is still valid when travelling with your items.
You are likely to be automatically covered in the event of damage by flood, fire, storm, subsidence, and burst or damaged pipes.
It’s not likely that your outbuildings, garden, patio, ponds, or swimming pool will be covered as standard, but you can probably do so with additional cover.
It’s also worth considering accidental damage insurance, which would ensure your property against any small or major repair work brought about by misadventure.
Is it cheaper to insure new build properties?
Sometimes yes. One of the major virtues of new builds is that they are often installed with the latest in home security and energy efficiency technology. This means they cost less to run and are harder to break into.
It’s not always the case that the rebuild cost then will automatically be cheaper, which is what really affects the insurance premiums. Therefore it’s worth comparing home insurance quotes from a wide variety of providers, so you can be sure your needs are met.
What is an NHBC Buildmark certificate?
In most instances, new build properties are automatically registered with the National House-Building Council (NHBC). Each property then gets an NHBC Buildmark certificate, which acts as a 10-year guarantee, insuring you against some of the more common issues that can arise from new builds.
Around 80% of new builds in the UK are protected under this warranty, so it’s not a sure thing. Check with your builder to see if they’re a member of the NHBC, and if not, you should ask why. Some companies are too small and unable to afford the fees, but you need to make sure you’re protected anyway.
The Buildmark certificate has three main functions:
- During the first two years, the original builders must fix any issues arising from their own poor craftsmanship, such as faulty doors or leaky pipes
- Between years three and eight, the certificate becomes a standard insurance policy against any issues arising from faulty work, but not general wear and tear
- You will be covered in the event that you lose your deposit because the building company goes under, either up to 10% of the purchase price, or £100,000, whichever is the greatest
If you’re moving into a newly converted property, it’s not always possible to get a Buildmark certificate. You should check the fine-print with your lender and builder to see what options are available to you.
How do I get new build insurance?
Just like you would for any other kind of home insurance, you should compare prices from as many different providers as possible. You’ve already done the right thing by checking up on the precise details, and now you can get searching for a great deal on new build insurance.
The only problem you might find is that, if your property is so new it doesn’t show up on maps (or is not yet complete), your postcode might note register with our search tool. In which case you can simply contact the insurer directly and take it from there.