There are two main types of home insurance; buildings insurance and contents insurance. Buildings insurance insures the repair and rebuild costs of your property should it get damaged or destroyed and contents insurance covers the possessions inside your home against damage, loss or theft. Most home insurance policies are purchased by new or existing homeowners but there may be instances when you need to insure a property that you do not legally own. In this article, we look at when you can get home insurance on a property and the different types you may need depending on your situation.
Can I get home insurance on a property with a mortgage?
If you are buying a property with a mortgage, buildings insurance is likely to be a condition of the mortgage by the lender. This is because the lender requires the building to be insured once you are the legal owner in case anything goes wrong with the property and it needs to be rebuilt. As a result, a property should be insured by the time that you exchange contracts.
If you own the property outright it is up to you whether you decide to insure the property but remember that you will need to pay the rebuild costs if the property is damaged or destroyed. Therefore, it is a good idea to still get buildings insurance.
Whether you purchase contents insurance is down to each individual. Contents insurance covers the cost of the belongings inside the property, including valuables and in some cases, it may also cover carpets. If you are undecided as to whether you need contents insurance you should consider if you could afford to replace these items if they were stolen or damaged for example in a house fire or flood. For more information on the type of home insurance you may need, read our article 'Do I need home insurance?'
Can I get home insurance on a property I rent?
If you rent a property it is unlikely that you will need to get buildings insurance. Buildings insurance is usually the responsibility of the homeowner and they will need to cover the repairs and rebuild costs. You should check with your landlord that the property is insured, however, and you may wish to consider contents insurance to cover the costs of your items within the home.
Home insurance for students
If you are a student then you are not likely to need buildings insurance on your property as this should be arranged by your landlord. You may wish to get contents insurance, however, to ensure that your personal possessions are covered. It may be worth checking in case you are covered on your parents' home insurance policy. Some policies include cover for students away from home at university.
Do I need buildings insurance on a shared ownership property?
If you have a shared ownership property, where you own a percentage of the property and rent the remainder, and it is a leasehold property, then your buildings insurance should be included in your service charge. As a result, you will only need to arrange contents insurance for your property to protect your personal possessions. It is advisable to double-check with the leaseholder, however, to ensure that the property is covered.
Can I get home insurance on an unoccupied property?
If the property that you wish to insure is unoccupied then you will need a specialist policy that is designed to insure unoccupied homes. This is because most standard home insurance policies do not cover properties that are unoccupied for a long period of time - typically more than 30 or 60 days depending on the insurer. Insurers consider unoccupied properties a higher risk as they can be more susceptible.
When do you need unoccupied home insurance?
Unoccupied home insurance is likely to be required in the following circumstances:
- if you are waiting for probate
- if you have inherited a property and it is not your main residence
- if you are currently renovating a property and not living in it
- if you are going away for a long period of time e.g travelling or on a business trip
- if the owner/occupier has been taken into care
- if the property is a holiday home
Typically, an unoccupied home insurance policy will insure an unoccupied property for up to 12 months but in some cases, this may be able to be extended if you speak to your insurer. How much you will pay for unoccupied home insurance can vary depending on the property size, its condition and where the property is located.
How to buy home insurance
If you need to purchase a home insurance policy, the quickest and easiest way to do this is via a comparison site. Comparison sites mean that you can compare multiple home insurance providers at once to find the best and cheapest deal for your circumstances. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare cheap quotes from over 40 UK home insurance providers.
If you are unsure what type of home insurance you may need, read our article 'What are the different types of home insurance?' for more information.
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