Home Insurance Guide
When you own your own home, is it compulsory to have home insurance? What does it cover exactly, and what should you be looking out for?
We explore the ins and outs of home insurance, including advice for getting the best possible cover for your situation.
What is home insurance?
There are two types of home insurance – buildings insurance, and contents insurance.
Buildings insurance covers the bricks and mortar of your home, along with permanent fixtures and fittings, while contents insurance covers your possessions and decor.
When you buy home insurance, you can choose to buy buildings and contents insurance separately, or combine them under one policy.
Usually, however, it is a condition set by your solicitor when purchasing a property, and you will have to provide details of insurance cover before exchanging contracts.
Do you need buildings insurance?
As a homeowner, you’ll need buildings insurance to cover:
● Structural damage, for example to your roof or walls
● Any damage to fixtures and fittings such as your bathroom suite
Just like any other insurance policy, your insurer will only pay out if damage is caused under certain conditions, for example as a result of:
● Natural disasters
● Falling trees
Check your policy wording before you buy, and make a note of any inclusions or exclusions.
Often, insurers won’t pay out for general wear and tear, natural disasters, pests or damage to your home when it’s been left unoccupied for an extended period of time.
When you have successfully provided enough evidence and your insurance company has accepted your claim, you will have to pay an excess fee.
The insurer will then organise for the repair work to be carried out, or will pay the amount you are claiming for to be paid into your bank account or sent via cheque in the post.
What about contents insurance?
If they are stolen or damaged, you may be able to claim back on your insurance, although this will depend on your policy restrictions and your excess.
Our top tips for choosing the right home insurance for you
With so many options out there, how should you choose the right home insurance policy for you?
Here are our top tips.
1. Check the fine-print and make sure you know exactly what your policy does and doesn’t cover before you buy.
2. Don’t undervalue your possessions, as you won’t get the full value of your items back if you do need to make a claim on your contents insurance.
3. Make sure you have enough cover for your buildings insurance. There are lots of independent advice websites to help.
4. Be honest with your insurer if your new home is on a floodplain or there are any other considerations.If you don’t declare the specifics, your insurance policy could be null and void.
5. Check your excess, and make sure you can afford to pay it in the event of a claim.
6. Update your policy regularly to make sure any changes to your home or possessions are included. This could be anything from a new extension to a new smart television.
If in doubt, make sure you call your home insurance policy provider.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and check for advice on impartial, trusted websites, and consult comparison websites such as Compare the Market and Money Supermarket to compare different policies (investigating any other providers that may not be included) and find one that suits you.
It’s also worth contacting any providers that you currently have a financial agreement with as they may offer preferential deals for existing customers taking out multiple policies or products.