Buildings and contents insurance is placed under the bracket of home insurance. It is a combined insurance that will cover or replace any damage that might occur to the house or its contents, including loss. It is essential for all mortgaged houses, and the majority of other homeowners who do not have a mortgage will also have this type of insurance. It is possible to get the two insurances separately, although you will find that most providers offer them as a combined cover.

All mortgage suppliers require buildings insurance when you take out a mortgage with them, to cover their loan, this insurance is highly recommended to protect you against unforeseen circumstances. Virtually every home in the country will have this type of insurance just for that reason, and it could end up proving to be very costly if you do not take the cover out.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the structure of the building such as the walls, roof, floors, ceilings, windows and doors from damage. A buildings insurance policy should cover funds to rebuild your house in an event of it being completely damaged beyond repair.

The damage can come in many forms and is listed below:

  • Weather damage such as lightening, storms etc
  • Earthquakes
  • Vandalism
  • Bursting of pipes
  • Falling trees
  • Flooding
  • Subsidence

Make sure to check that you are not living in a high risk area of damage such as flooding. You may have to pay extra on your policy if you are but you will get peace of mind knowing that you are adequately covered.

Many building insurance providers also cover you for garages, conservatories, greenhouses, fences etc. Make sure you check the policy to see what you are covered for. Policies may also cover permanent fixtures and fitting including cupboards, toilets, baths and kitchen units and again it is important to check what your policy covers.

Always shop around for the best building insurance and not the cheapest as you may leave some important items uncovered under the policy. Unfortunate accidents may happen to your property from time to time so it is imperative that adequate cover is taken out to protect your home.

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance covers your household possessions such as jewellery, electronic goods, furniture, carpets and clothing against theft, loss and damage. Contents insurance is not necessary but it is essential if you want to protect your valuables which you have paid a lot of money for over the years.

Generally, there are two types of contents insurance available; indemnity policy and ‘new for old’ policy. The indemnity insurance is the cheapest available and covers items by a wear and tear policy. For example, if a carpet was spoilt by paint then the claim would reflect how old the carpet was and pay out accordingly. On the other hand, ‘new for old’ policy is more expensive but would pay the full amount for a brand new carpet.

Many content insurance providers offer an accidental damage option as standard but usually you will have to pay extra if you want this cover. Cover for extra items can be bought if needed such as expensive jewellery, antiques and also your fridge freezer in case of power failure which means you can claim for the contents of your fridge.

Home contents insurance can also include the following things that don’t necessary stay at home:

  • Prams
  • Mobile phones
  • Handbag
  • Watches
  • Clothing
  • Bicycle

Always check with your home insurance contents provider for what you are covered for under your policy or read the small print that is attached with your paper work.

Bear in mind that it is possible to combine buildings and contents insurance together and obtaining a quote. This will often get you a good deal and save you hundreds of pounds.

Home insurance for landlords

Landlord insurance is the same as normal types of home insurance that everyday people apply for. All landlords need buildings insurance for the property that they may own but contents insurance is not essential as it will depend on how the property is equipped.

Landlords should conform to the list below to help minimise risks that property letting may involve:

Landlord liability – This covers for injuries that the person living in the rented accommodation my claim for against the landlord. If conditions are dangerous in the rented accommodation as a result of negligence on the landlords behalf then this could affect the claim.

Emergency assistance – Protection against call out fees for contractors carrying out work for emergencies. These may include roofing damage, heating problem, lost keys, plumbing etc

Extra cover – For example, loss of rent due to the tenant not paying up. Additional cover could help in these circumstances.

Contact us for more advice on what buildings and contents insurance would be most suitable for you.

Why is home insurance needed?

As our homes are the most important asset that we are ever going to own, it is imperative that adequate home insurance is taken out for your property. You will never know when you will need to claim under your home insurance so it is best to make sure you are covered properly.

Other unforeseen circumstances such as floods and fire may also wreak havoc among your possessions and by not getting covered properly you are taking a big risk in losing out financially.

There are two types of home insurance; Buildings insurance and contents insurance. Buildings insurance is a mandatory condition when taking out a mortgage and lenders will insist that this insurance is in place.  This will protect the house being damaged from events which cannot be repaired.

Contents insurance is not usually a mandatory requirement when taking out a mortgage, but it is in our own interest to secure your personal belongings as you have worked hard for them and if anything was to happen then you will be kicking yourself.

Remember, there are many home insurance providers out there and looking for the best cover for your house is important because after all it’s your possessions and looking after them should be paramount.

Property Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

You must be careful with this – make sure that you do not insure your buildings for the market value of your property. You are insuring against the fact that the building has to be demolished, the site cleared and then your property rebuilt. You wont have to buy the land again, so as a result the rebuild cost is typically much lower than the market value. If you insure for the market value you are wasting your money and over insuring yourself! More information on rebuild costs can be found from the Association of British Insurers.
You would be wasting your money, by lying on the proposal form you would invalidate the contract between the insurer and yourself, so no part of the policy would be valid. This also means that if you have a mortgage on your property you are probably breaching your mortgage lender’s terms and conditions by not having insurance in place.
IPT means Insurance Premium Tax. This is levied on insurance policies sold in the UK. Insurance standard rate is 6%, a higher rate – for travel insurance, mechanical/electrical appliances insurance and some vehicle insurance is set at 20%.

Travel Insurance is taxed at 17.5%.

In order to buy insurance you must have an ‘insurable interest’, basically you have to own whatever it is you are trying to insure. In this case if you rent your accommodation you will not, in most circumstances, own the building. As a result you cannot insure it, you can only insure your own personal belongings within the building.
Insurers will apply a clause in your policy called average. Essentially this means that if you insured your contents for £20,000 and they were actually worth £30,000, you are underinsured by 1/3. As a result if you put in a claim for £10,000 the insurers would only have to pay you 2/3 of the claim (assuming it was valid etc), therefore you would receive a claims settlement of £6,666, not the £10,000. As a result it is important that you insure for the correct amount. Underinsuring will result in any claims being restricted on their payout. This clause is very common in domestic policies, but not many people actually know about it… until they have to claim and have got their sums wrong…don’t say you’ve not been warned!
Basically your house contents are anything that you would reasonably take with you if you moved – your bathroom suite wouldn’t be considered to be your household contents for example. Another way of thinking about it is to imagine picking up your house and shaking it – everything that would fall out is considered to be your contents.
New for Old means that the insurance company will replace the item you are claiming for with a brand new one of the same make and specification. 
This can be considered as jewellery, articles containing gold, silver or other precious metals, cameras, binoculars, watches, furs, paintings and other works of art, collections of stamps, coins and medals.
Legal cover is not usually compulsory on home insurance, but this can provide you with legal assistance for personal injury cover and consumer disputes.  So for example, if you walked past a building site and were hit by a brick, the insurance company could pursue a claim on your behalf against the building company for personal injury.
This information would be available on your Policy Schedule and the amount can be chosen prior to application.
Your contents, personal effects, fine art, antiques, jewellery and watches are insured against loss or damage – including accidental damage – while you’re at home or anywhere in the world.

Personal effects are property used for domestic purposes or for occasional business use. You or your family should either own them or be legally responsible for them.

They can include:

clothing, including motorcycling suits, furs, glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids, baggage and other items carried about the person,

photographic and mobile phones, electronic equipment, sports equipment and bicycles, musical instruments.