What is home insurance?

Home insurance is a type of insurance product which protects your property and your belongings.

The three most common types of home insurance are buildings insurance, contents insurance and combined building and contents insurance.

Buildings insurance: This covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your property. Structure damage also includes damages to your walls, windows and roof - as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings in your home, such as fitted kitchen and bathroom pieces.

Contents insurance: This covers the cost of replacing your personal belongings and furniture. While not everyone opts for contents cover, by taking this type of policy it does mean you are protecting your personal belongings from theft and also damage from fires and floods.

Combined building and contents insurance: You are able to combine buildings and contents insurance together to protect both your property and your belongings. In the event of a fire or flood at home, where both your buildings and belongings are affected, it can make the claim process smoother by having both policies with the same insurer. This can often reduce your premium by taking both policies as a combination as opposed to individually.

When you take out a mortgage on a property, you will be required to have buildings insurance in place. Or if you are renting, you could be asked by your landlord to have contents insurance in place before you move into your new home.

You should also consider additional features, for example accidental damage on buildings, accidental damage on contents, individual high-risk items, personal possessions away from the home, legal cover and home emergency.

There are a range of options and excesses that you can choose from.

Additional add-ons:

As well as the main insurance product which you take out, you are also given the opportunity to include additional add-ons onto your premium.

Home emergency: This cover provides immediate assistance from professional tradesman to deal with a range of emergency incidents in the home. This can range from boiler/heating system breakdown, leaking roofs, failure of electrical power, water or gas supply, burst water pipes and in some circumstances overnight accommodation if your home is unhabitable.

Accidental damage: This cover is designed to insure your buildings and contents against unintended and unexpected events. It can cover all sorts of accidental damage like putting your foot through a ceiling, spilling red wine on carpets and knocking items over in the property, such as ornaments.

Personal possessions: Items which are taken out of the home on a daily basis, such as mobile phones, watches, jewellery and bicycles, will not be covered automatically for loss, theft or damage as part of your contents insurance. If you require these items to be insured, you are able to add-on personal possessions cover to ensure you items are taken care of in the event of an incident outside of your home.

High risk items: Without realising, we all own high-risk items. These are typically items which are small and valuable and can be easily taken. Be sure to add up the value of items that can be considered as high risk, such as unique pieces of art, jewellery, electronics, furs, stamp, coin and medal collections and items which can be considered as rare or collectable. Taking photos of your high risk items can help in the event of any theft or loss.

Common Exclusions

It’s fairly common for people to assume they have full cover for all of their items which are involved in an insurance claim. But in some circumstances, due to exclusions in the policy, some items may not be covered.

All exclusions are outlined in the finer details of your home insurance policy. Therefore, it is important to take your time to go through these to make sure the exclusions don’t apply to you. But if they do, find out what additional add-ons are available to prevent any loss or damage to your items.

Not all policies have the same exclusions, however - common exclusions on your home insurance cover would usually be for wear and tear, poor maintenance, wrongly describing locks and alarms and non-disclosure of building work to your property, such as an extension.

Additional property types:

No home is the same as another, so naturally not all insurance policies will apply to us all in the same way either. It may be that you leave your property unattended throughout the year due to it being a holiday home, or you may run your business from home, or maybe you are a landlord or tenant.

Holiday home: The luxury of a holiday home is one which appeals to us all, however it does also mean due to the property being left unattended for long durations throughout the year, an additional risk of burglaries is also present. When discussing your options for insuring your holiday home, be sure to mention you do not permanently reside at the property. Any wrong information could lead to a void in future claims.

Tenant/renters insurance: Whether you rent privately or from a local authority, the protection of your personal possessions is essential. As the property is not owned by yourself, you are not required to take out buildings or combined insurance. And in some circumstances your property may be furnished by your landlord or agency, however an additional level of contents cover will be required to enable peace of mind to your own items in the event of an incident in the home.

Landlords insurance: Once your property is rented out, you will be required to take out landlords insurance. Commonly, this policy can be a higher cost that you would pay if you lived in the property yourself. This is due to the insurer pre-empting any risks from multiple unknown people who potentially will live in the property. Liability cover is often also included in landlords insurance in the property, which will cover tenants and guests in the event of an injury in the property.

Counting the cost of contents: It can be difficult to determine the value of all of your possessions. Whilst narrowing it down to the exact penny can not easily be achieved, there are things you can do to ensure you have a rounded figure.

  • Go from room to room and write down a list of your possessions
  • Get up-to-date valuations of artwork, jewellery, watches and any other valuables in your home
  • Estimate the value of each possession
  • Use online contents calculators

Often, the value of our items can increase or decrease over time. Keeping up-to-date with what you have in your property will enable you to give your insurer accurate information.

Important Information:

We’ve teamed up with Uinsure, an award-winning insurance provider, to give our customers a comprehensive home insurance policy at a great price.

Please make sure the information you enter during the quote process is accurate, as it could affect the cover you have under the policy or any claims you make. If you do not answer questions honestly, withhold information, or do not select the correct level of cover to replace ‘as new’, your contents and valuables, personal possessions, specified items and bicycles, the insurer may refuse to pay your claim, pay only part of your claim, and/or void your policy.

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Istvan Jozsa

Thank you to Nicola and Choice Mortgages. We moved into our first home. It couldn’t happen without Choice Mortgages!

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