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If this is the first time you’ve purchased a property, you may not have taken out buildings and contents insurance before. Don’t worry, we’ve answered some frequently asked questions below.
First time buyer home insurance is buildings and contents cover for people buying their first home, also known generally as ‘home insurance.’
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.
Contents insurance will cover anything that’s not considered a part of the building – for example, if you were to turn your house upside down and shake it, anything that fell out would be considered ‘contents.’ This usually includes for white goods, furniture and other belongings, such as your clothes and gadgets.
Not purchased your first home yet? Check out our first time buyer survival guide!
You may also be able to get cover for the following as standard:
Cover away from home
Items such as laptops and mobile phones can be covered away from the home. Protect more expensive items, such as jewellery, by specifying them on your policy.
Water or oil leak
If you suffer from a burst pipe, leaks from your washing machine or heating system, providing they’ve been kept in a good state of repair, you're covered. Check your policy for details.
Underground pipes and cables
You're covered for damage such as fire, storm, flood, subsidence and malicious damage to any underground pipes and cables that provide services to or from your home for which you are legally responsible.
Check your policy for details.
The cost of insuring your first home will depend on a number of factors relating to you and your property, including:
Do you need buildings insurance, contents insurance or both? Do you require any additional covers, such as accidental damage, legal expenses or home emergency?
If your property is in a high risk flood or subsidence area, then this can affect the cost of your insurance or the level of cover that can be provided
Such as your claims or credit history
For example, how many bedrooms / bathrooms the property has. You can find out more about calculating rebuild value below.
Such as locks, alarms and smoke detectors. Essentially the more security features you have in place, the lower the risk to an insurer
If you’re buying a house and you are the freeholder of the property, is it likely that you will require buildings insurance to protect your investment - unless you’re planning on self-insuring.
Self-insurance is where you personally cover the costs to rebuild your property in the event of total destruction – so understandably, most people tend to prefer the insurance route!
It may also be a requirement for your mortgage that you have buildings insurance in place, although this will depend on the type of property you’re buying. Your mortgage provider may also request that they’re added as a note of interest to the policy.
What insurance do I need if I’ve bought a flat?
If you’re purchasing a leasehold flat, then you will usually not be responsible for insuring or maintaining the buildings – this is the responsibility of the freeholder (or landlord).
The freeholder will usually arrange any maintenance and insurance required on the leaseholder’s behalf and then charge back any incurred costs in the form of maintenance charges - so it’s worth finding out what these charges are expected to be before purchasing a leasehold flat.
Do I need buildings AND contents insurance?
This will depend on your circumstances.
If you’ve bought a house to live in as your main home, you may be surprised by how many belongings you own - and how the total value of your possessions can rack up quite quickly! These items can include things like your TV, furniture, clothes and other personal items. Seeing how many items you have and how much it could cost to replace them, you may want to consider taking out contents insurance which will protect you against a number of risks such as fire, theft and flood.
If you’re living in a flat, then it’s likely you will only require contents insurance for any belongings you own in the property, as the freeholder will be responsible for covering the buildings. This is the same as if you were renting the property.
If you’re a landlord and you’re planning on renting the property to tenants unfurnished, then it could be that you only require buildings insurance as your tenant will be responsible for protecting their own belongings.
The amount of buildings cover you require for your new home will depend on the rebuild value of your property. This 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.
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.
No, you are not required to purchase your home insurance through your mortgage provider. Although some lenders will provide buildings insurance as part of their mortgage package, you may be able to get a better price if you shop around.
When you purchase a property, you will be given two dates – your contract exchange date, and your completion date.
It’s a common misconception that you only need to insure your property from the completion date, but this is not the case. In most circumstances, you will become financially responsible for the property from exchange of contracts, and therefore this is the date that you will need to start insuring the property.
We are unable to provide the following covers:
There are lots of easy ways to reduce the cost of your insurance. Here are just a few:
1. Increase your excess
Increasing your voluntary excess amount can sometimes reduce the cost of your overall premium
2. Don’t over-insure
Take the time to properly calculate the value of your contents so you can make sure you take out the most cost-effective policy for you.
3. Consider your cover options
Pick a policy where you can add or remove the cover you do or don't need and get your premium right.
4. Pick how you pay
Choose whether you pay monthly or annually.
5. Build up ‘no claims bonus’
Similarly to car insurance, you can usually build up ‘no claims bonus’ if you haven’t made a claim on your house contents insurance
Before you get a home contents insurance quote, it’s useful to have certain information to hand to make the process quicker and easier. Consider the following:
Looking for some handy tips and tricks? Find out more on the blog!