Home insurance protects your home and/or valuables in the event that they are damaged or destroyed. In this article, we explain the different types of home insurance you can buy, ensuring you get the right policy for you and your property.
What does home insurance cover?
Home insurance will cover your property against damage and it can also cover the contents in the event they are lost or stolen. Exactly what is covered in your home insurance policy does vary depending on the insurer you choose and the level of cover you opt for. There is usually the opportunity to enhance cover with additional extras such as accidental damage cover or public liability but this will come at an additional fee.
Below we highlight some of the events that most standard home insurance policies will cover:
- Fire - If your house and possessions are damaged by fire you are likely to be covered by both your buildings and contents insurance policy. Buildings insurance will pay out for damage to the structure of the building while contents insurance can pay out for damage or loss of personal items or items within the home such as furniture.
- Flood - Both buildings and contents insurance is likely to cover flood damage as standard. Buildings cover should include damage to your property and contents insurance will cover your belongings and furniture. If your property is a flood risk this may be reflected in your policy premium.
- Storm - Both buildings and contents cover are likely to include cover for storm damage but ensure you read your policy carefully for any T&Cs as there are often exclusions for damages to fence panels or garden hedges.
- Burst/frozen pipe - Buildings and contents insurance usually covers claims related to burst or frozen pipes such as water damage claims and the loss of personal belongings due to a burst pipe.
- Burglary/vandalism - Contents cover will likely cover the cost of replacing your valuables or possessions if they are stolen. Buildings insurance may be able to cover the cost of damage to your property during the burglary or due to vandalism.
- Subsidence - Subsidence is when the property's foundations sink or are damaged due to the ground beneath the property sinking. Buildings insurance will cover any damage caused to the property as a result of subsidence or heave.
- Lost property - You may be able to claim on your contents insurance policy if you have lost a valuable item such as your engagement ring or your mobile phone. You will need to check the single item cover limit on your policy however as this varies depending on the policy you choose and you may have to increase cover for certain items.
What are the different types of home insurance?
You can get numerous types of home insurance policy depending on whether you own your home, rent your home or are a student. We explain some of the different types of home insurance below.
Buildings insurance helps to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home due to structural damage. Examples of buildings insurance repairs include damage to the roof, structural damage due to subsidence or replacing a permanent fixture such as the bathroom or kitchen. Buildings cover may also cover the cost of alternate accommodation if you cannot stay in your current home due to the repairs.
If your personal possessions are damaged in your home as a result of a fire, flood or storm you can claim on your contents insurance. Contents insurance also covers your items against theft or loss. Most items that are not physically fixed in your home are classed as insurable under contents cover but there may be single item limits and the option for extra cover - at an additional cost - for valuables outside the home. Read your terms and conditions carefully to ensure you know exactly what is and isn't covered.
Combined buildings and contents insurance
Buildings and contents insurance can be bought separately or you can purchase a combined policy to benefit from both under one policy and it may even work out cheaper by combining the cover.
If you are a landlord you can get specialist cover for your rental property. Landlord cover is usually slightly better suited than regular home insurance policies as it is designed for properties that are to be let. Landlord insurance can provide cover for additional situations such as accidental damage caused by tenants or cover for emergency call-outs. If you have chosen to rent out your property and have an existing standard home insurance policy, you may need to purchase a landlord policy as rental may not be covered by your existing insurer.
If you are renting a property, contents insurance will insure your possessions against loss, damage or theft. In most instances - as you are renting - you will not need to purchase building insurance as this should be covered by your landlord. However, it is best to double-check your rental agreement to insure you are suitably protected.
Home insurance for students
Student home insurance provides cover for the contents of your rental home or student accommodation. Student contents cover will insure your personal possessions and help cover the cost of replacing them if they are damaged, stolen or lost.
Before purchasing a student home insurance policy it is worth checking that your belongings are not insured elsewhere. For example, your belongings may be covered by your parent's home insurance policy but this may require an add-on for the items to be covered away from home. Additionally, you may not need contents cover if you have separate device insurance.
Holiday home insurance
Most standard home insurance policies will not cover properties that are unoccupied for more than 30 days therefore you will need holiday home insurance if you have a property that you do not occupy every day of the year. Buildings insurance can protect your holiday home against burglary or damage to the building. Contents cover will protect your furniture or your personal belongings in the home. If you rent out your holiday home you may also need holiday lettings insurance which can offer extra protection for the risks that come with renting out your holiday home.
Unoccupied home insurance
If your property is going to be unoccupied for longer periods of time you will need to purchase an empty home insurance policy. Unoccupied home insurance will cover the property against theft and vandalism as well as flood and fire damage. You will need to read the terms and conditions carefully, however, to ensure there are no exclusions due to the property being unoccupied for long periods of time. Unoccupied home insurance may be more expensive compared to other types of home insurance due to the increased risk of an empty property.
Do I need home insurance?
Home insurance is essential if you wish to protect your property against damage caused by floods, storms or fires. Buildings insurance also offers protection against structural issues and is designed to cover the cost to rebuild your property. If you have a mortgage it is likely that under the terms of the offer, the lender will insist you take out buildings insurance so that both the buyer and lender are protected if the property is destroyed.
Contents insurance is down to each individual and is designed to cover the cost of replacing your personal possessions. Carpets and curtains may also be covered under contents insurance. It is best to calculate the cost of the belongings in the property to decide how much cover your need and if you could afford to replace the items if they were destroyed, lost or stolen. If the answer is no, contents insurance may be a good idea.
For more information on home insurance and whether you need it, read our article 'Do I need home insurance?'
How to buy home insurance
One of the easiest ways to compare and purchase a home insurance policy is via a comparison site. Comparing home insurance policies is important as it allows you to see the varying levels of cover available to you and to find the best price whilst still ensuring you get the best cover. We have partnered with Quotezone* to allow you to search and compare cheap quotes from over 40 UK home insurance providers.
One thing to consider is that not all comparison sites are whole of market so you may be able to get a better deal directly with the insurer. You may also wish to get quotes from providers that aren't on comparison sites, such as Direct Line.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. The following link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses or take advantage of any exclusive offers - Quotezone