Household (Buildings & Contents) Insurance

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Home insurance is split into two main parts: buildings insurance which covers your property and; contents insurance which covers the loss of or damage to the contents of your home.  Most people take out both types of insurance as one policy called buildings & contents insurance.

Buildings insurance usually pays out if your property is destroyed by fire, floods or subsidence (there may be exclusion to this, depending on where you live). Damage to fixed fittings such as baths and kitchens are often included, as well as sheds, greenhouses and garages.

Contents insurance covers things like your furniture, electrical goods and other items within your home and also items you take outside e.g. cameras and jewellery. Different policies offer different levels of cover but generally you'll be covered against theft and fire, and have the option to insure against damage you may cause by accident (called accidental damage). General wear and tear and maintenance related problems are the homeowner's responsibility.

Who Might Need Buildings Insurance?

No lender will agree to give you a mortgage without at least buildings insurance. If you are the freeholder (you own the building and the land that it stands on), it is your responsibility to arrange the building insurance. You might be offered buildings insurance when you take out your mortgage, but you don't have to take what's on offer. Use the policy information to shop around and get the best deal for you.

Who Might Need Contents Insurance?

Before you take out any insurance, you will need to ask yourself 'what if'. What would you want to happen if some of the contents of your home (e.g. furniture, electrical equipment) were damaged by fire or a leak, or your house were broken into and they were stolen?  What if you lost personal possessions such as jewellery or sports equipment away from your home?  You would want these things insured and replaced without having to pay for them out of your own back pocket.

>>> Get a household insurance quote with free advice here

How Much Cover Will I Need?

  • For building insurance, your cover is based on what your home would cost to rebuild (which is not necessarily the same as it's current market value). An insurance company or insurance broker should work out the rough cost of your home when they give you a quote
  • Contents insurance is the most your insurer will pay if your possessions are destroyed and it determines the premiums you pay, so it's important you calculate the amount correctly (the figure for a typical home is estimated to be more than £40,000). To get an idea of the sum to be insured, go through every room (including the loft, garage, cellar etc.) and write down what it would cost to replace every item at today's prices.  You might also need to think about the amount of cover you require for personal possessions for loss or damage to items away from the home

For buildings cover, some insurance companies offer unlimited cover or a standard figure e.g. £300,000 or £500,000. This means you might not have to worry about how much cover you need or whether it is adequate.

For contents cover, some insurers offer a maximum amount of cover which, if sufficient to cover all your possessions, removes the need for you to calculate an accurate sum insured. If it's insufficient, most companies offer extra blocks of cover.

Things to Consider When taking out Household Insurance

  • You might be offered buildings insurance when you take out your mortgage, but you don't have to take what's on offer. Use the policy information to shop around and get the best deal for you
  • If you purchase a leasehold property (such as a flat in a block of flats) the freeholder may have arranged buildings insurance for the whole block, in which case you may not need your own buildings policy
  • Premiums may be paid monthly or annually. If you are offered a monthly option, check whether the insurer charges extra for the privilege of spreading the payments
  • If you improve your home, for example by installing central heating or building an extension / conservatory, tell your insurer. The sum insured will probably need to be adjusted upwards but be sure shop around for alternative quotes when your policy is due for renewal
  • Many insurers cover the cost of replacing locks if your keys are stolen. Most policies pay for accidental damage, but the extent of cover varies, so check this with the insurer or insurance broker
  • Additional benefits to household insurance can include things like family legal protection and home emergency cover.  Family legal protection can include cover for scenarios like employment disputes and personal injury claims. Home emergency cover can insure against things like heating breakdown.  If this is important to you, ask your adviser
  • There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the premiums you pay which include: increasing your excess; fitting additional security locks; fitting a burglar alarm; joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme and building up a no claims discount

How Do I Get Covered?

There are three main options available to you when taking out household insurance:

  • Use an online comparison website.  This can save you a lot of time compared to contacting lots of different insurance companies separately.  Bear in mind that these sites do not offer advice during the buying process so you need to be confident of exactly what level of cover you need, what benefits you want and be aware of any exclusions that may apply
  • Contact insurance companies direct. Some insurance companies such as Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) and Direct Line are not listed on comparison websites so it can be worth calling these companies direct searching for quotes
  • Speak to an independent adviser or insurance broker.  They will research the market on your behalf and give you quotes and advice based on your personal needs and requirements

>>> Get a household insurance quote with free advice here

Quick Quote

Complete the short form below and one of our household insurance specialists will research the market and get back to you with some quotes.

* Denotes required field
Full Name: *
Date of Birth:
Tel No.:
Email Address: *
Postcode of Property:
House Number/Name:
When do you Want Cover to Start:
Property Type:
Number of Bedrooms:
Approx. Year of Build:
Required Buildings Sum Insured:
Value of Contents to be Insured ():
Has the Property Ever Suffered from Subsidence?:
Not Sure
Is the Property Within 400m of Water or Within a Flood Risk Area?:
Not Sure
Have You Made a Claim in the Last 5 Years:
Not Sure
Who is Your Current Insurer?:
What is Your Current Premium/Quote ()?:
Is the Property of Standard Construction with no More Than 50% Flat Roof?:
Not Sure

Useful Links

>>> Benefits of taking out cover through Money Advice
Household Insurance Questions & Answers
Life Insurance Cover
Income Protection
Insurance Blogs
>>> Mortgage Protection Insurance


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