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Not sure what cover you need for your property? Find out more by reading some of our useful guides about finding the right cover for your buildings and contents.
Still not entirely sure what cover you need to protect your home and belongings? We’ve taken the time to answer some frequently asked questions.
Buildings insurance provides cover for the structure of your home against risks such as fire, theft and flood, as well as providing additional covers such as property owners’ liability insurance and cover for stolen keys.
It’s also worth considering whether you need any contents insurance for your property, as it can be easy to underestimate the value of your possessions. Contents insurance will cover anything that’s not considered a part of the building – essentially, if you were to turn your house upside down and shake it, anything that fell out would be considered ‘contents.’
Do I need buildings insurance?
It’s usually a requirement of your mortgage provider to have some form of buildings insurance in place, and they may request to be added as a note of interest to the policy. Check the terms of your mortgage to see what’s required.
But outside of what’s required for your mortgage, your home is probably one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, so it’s likely you’ll want to protect it at all costs. Taking out buildings insurance will ensure you’re not left in a difficult financial position should something unexpected happen, such as a fire or flood.
Buildings insurance is for anyone that owns their property as the ‘freeholder’ – this generally excludes leaseholders who are usually only responsible for maintaining the interiors.
Basically, if you own the property and are responsible for the buildings as part of your mortgage agreement, then it’s a good idea to take out buildings insurance to protect your investment – unless you’re planning on self-insuring.
Note: This policy is designed for homeowners. If you’re renting to tenants, you may find that landlord property insurance will provide more suitable cover for your property, including loss of rent or malicious damage by tenants (which are usually excluded from standard home buildings insurance).
Does buildings insurance cover windows?
Yes, most buildings insurance provides cover for damage to fixed glass in windows, doors, skylights and greenhouses, sanitary ware and bathroom fittings and fixed ceramic hobs.
Does building insurance cover roof repairs, including roof tiles?
Generally, buildings insurance policies will only cover repairs to the roof that have been caused by sudden and unexpected damage, such as storm damage. General wear and tear or maintenance issues will not be covered by your buildings insurance policy.
For example, if a storm were to blow all the tiles off your roof and allow water to escape into your property, this would be covered under the storm damage section of your policy.
If the tiles were to simply fall off the roof because they haven’t been maintained or are just getting a bit old, this would not be covered under your buildings insurance.
However, if one of those tiles were to hit someone on the way down, this would be covered under your property owners’ liability insurance.
Generally, buildings insurance won’t cover:
Wear and tear or costs for general maintenance
Storm damage to gates, fences and hedges
Damage caused by your pets
Damage caused by structural alteration, repair, decoration or renovation
The excess as stated in your policy documents
It’s important to check your insurance documents for full terms and conditions before purchasing.
Not everyone requires the same cover for their property, which is why insurers provide flexible cover options for customers. Typically, you can choose to add the following covers to your buildings insurance:
Cover for disputes relating to employment, contract or property issues, and / or clinical negligence. Your insurance company will appoint a law firm on your behalf and you can claim a set amount for legal representation. The amount covered will be specified in your policy documents
Find out more about legal cover.
Reassurance for a range of problems such as a break in, or central heating that doesn’t work (as long as it’s been regularly serviced).
Accidental damage insurance is an optional extra on your home insurance that will help make sure you’re covered for those irritating mishaps that are costly to fix. So if you put your foot through a stair or a hot iron burns the carpet, you’re covered.
When you see references to ‘home insurance,’ this is usually just another name for buildings and / or contents insurance, although it can sometimes include optional extras such as home emergency and legal expenses cover. Essentially, ‘home insurance’ is any policy you would take out to protect your home and / or anything that’s inside.
If you’re a homeowner - rather than a landlord - then you may be required to take out buildings insurance for your property as part of your mortgage agreement. However, the best type of buildings insurance for your property will depend on a number of factors:
What type of property is it?
For example, is it a listed building or converted barn? If your property is a more unique structure, you may require specialist home insurance.
Is it in a high-risk location?
Specialist home insurance can also provide cover for properties that have a history of subsidence, landslip, heave or flooding, or that are situated in a high risk area, as this is sometimes excluded by standard home insurance.
Does it have a high rebuild value?
If you have a particularly high value property (£800k+) or contents (£100k+), then private clients insurance may be for you.
What’s your living situation?
Are you renting your accommodation? Are you living in uni halls? Your living situation will have a big impact on the type of cover you need. If you’re renting your property, either in private or student accommodation, you may only require contents and gadget cover for your belongings.
Find out more about contents insurance
Find out more about student contents insurance
Before you get a quote, it’s useful to have certain information to hand to make the process quicker and easier. Find out the following information about your property:
What sort of property is it? For example, is it detached, semi-detached, a flat…?
What’s the construction? For example, is it brick, stone, concrete, timber-framed…?
Do you have any flat-roof? If your roof is flat over a certain percentage, you may need specialist cover
When was the property built? Is it a listed property?
What security is in place at your property?
Does the property have a history of subsidence, landslip or flooding?
What’s the rebuild value of your property? You can find more information about calculating this below.
Do you need cover for your contents, such as your clothes, furniture and other belongings? If so, what’s the total value?
Do I need my mortgage documentation for a quote?
No, you won’t necessarily need your mortgage documents – you’ll just need to make sure your rebuild value is correct and that the property is insured as per the terms of your mortgage agreement.
Your mortgage provider may request to be added as a note of interest to the policy.
There are many factors that can affect the cost of your buildings insurance, including:
The level of cover you require for your property
The postcode of your property
Your personal details (claims history, credit check etc.)
How many bedrooms / bathrooms the property has
Whether the property has a history of subsidence, landslip, heave or flooding
Whether the property is close to a water course
Security features, such as alarms and smoke detectors
Buying a property is undoubtedly expensive, so you probably want to keep your home insurance costs down as much as possible. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce the cost of your buildings insurance:
1. Increase your excess
Increasing your voluntary excess amount can sometimes reduce the cost of your overall premium. However, make sure your excess is still a sensible amount which you can afford to pay.
2. Don’t over-insure
Take the time to properly calculate the value of your property so you can make sure you take out the most cost-effective policy for you.
3. Consider your cover options
While optional extras - such as home emergency or legal cover - are undoubtedly useful, our buildings insurance quotes are also flexible so you can add or remove the cover you need and get your premium right.
4. Pick how you pay
Weigh up whether you would prefer to pay monthly, or whether it would be cheaper to pay annually.
5. Build up ‘no claims bonus’
Similarly to car insurance, there are ‘no claims bonus’ benefits available if you haven’t made a claim on your home insurance for a certain amount of time.
The amount of cover you require for your buildings will depend on the rebuild value of your property, which is the amount it would cost to rebuild your property from the ground up following a total loss.
The rebuild cost will usually differ from the market value as it needs to allow for rebuilding the property to the same specification, including clearing the land and any professional fees incurred in the event of total destruction.
The rebuild cost of the property will usually show on the insurance schedule as the ‘declared value’, and needs to be an accurate figure.
We are unable to provide advice on the rebuild value of a property. However if you’re unsure, the Association of British Insurers provides an online rebuild costs calculator.
Please note that for some property types – such as listed buildings - you may need a formal survey to ensure the rebuild cost is accurate.
If you are the leaseholder of a flat, it’s likely you will only require contents insurance as it will be the responsibility of the freeholder or management company to insure the building.
However, if you’re the leaseholder of a flat in Scotland you may be responsible for insuring the buildings, and our specialist property insurance team is able to offer cover for individual flats on this basis.
What does building insurance cover in flats?
If you take out buildings insurance for an individual flat, this will effectively provide the same cover as a standard buildings insurance policy, protecting the walls, floors and ceilings (anything that would be considered part of the structure) of your individual flat against risks such as water damage, flood, fire or subsidence. Covers may vary depending on your insurer.
The key thing to remember about insurance is that it will only provide cover for unforeseeable events. Therefore, your buildings insurance will not provide cover for any maintenance-related issues.
For example, if you fail to maintain your property’s roof tiles and they start to fall off causing a leak, this wouldn’t be covered under your buildings insurance policy.
However, if the roof was damaged due to an unforeseeable event, such as an earthquake or storm, any resulting damage will be covered under your policy.
Therefore, whether the roof leak will be covered under your buildings insurance will depend on the original cause of the leak.
Rising damp is where groundwater makes its way up through the floors of the building, sometimes also causing damage to the interior walls. Rising damp is unfortunately very common, and usually occurs when the damp-proof layers inside your walls and floors deteriorate – if there are any damp-proofing measures in place.
Rising damp is an issue that can be mitigated through ongoing maintenance of your property, and therefore this is something that is unlikely to be covered by your buildings insurance policy. Read our 7 tips to avoid condensation.
Looking for some handy tips and tricks? Read more on the blog!