Generally mortgage lenders insist that your property (and their security) is protected by Buildings Insurance. This means that if your property was destroyed by floods, fire or subsidence you will receive money to replace things such as fixed fittings, green houses, sheds and garages or to rebuild your house. It is normal to be offered buildings insurance when you take out your mortgage but it is not compulsory to accept this offer and is best if you look around for the best deal before you settle for something. Of course we would be more than happy to do this 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.
What isn't covered?
Your insurance cover is based on what your home would cost to rebuild. You can check whether you have enough buildings insurance through the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) website. It has an online tool to help you calculate the sum you should insure your building(s) for, in case your home has to be entirely rebuilt.
You need to tell your insurer if you extend your property, for example with a loft conversion or conservatory. Your belongings are not covered – these need to be covered separately with contents insurance – see Contents insurance.
Keeping costs down
As always, shop around. You may also find that you get a better deal if you buy buildings and contents insurance together. Most policies have a standard excess charge which means you agree to pay the first part of any claim, for example the first £50 or £100. If you agree to pay a higher excess you might get a cheaper policy. Always compare what's covered by a policy, not just the price – the key policy information will help you do this. Some might be cheaper than others, but they may not offer the same level of protection.
- Accidental Damage Cover
- Building Cover
- No Claims Discount
- Legal Liability
- Metered Water
- Loss of rent or costs for alternative accommodation
Remember the common risks covered are damage to, and destruction of, the property as a result of:
- Fire, storm and flood, lightning, explosion and earthquake; subsidence, heave and landslip; riot and vandalism, theft; aircraft (collision or fallout), falling trees, breaking or collapsing aerials, impact by animals and vehicles; water leakage from pipes or tanks and oil leakage from heating installations.
Policies may also cover:
- liability for damage to individuals and/or their property, up to a given limit (typically £1m);
- the cost of alternative accommodation in the event that you have to leave your home while it is being rebuilt or repaired, up to a reasonable level;
- accidental damage to underground water, gas and sewage pipes and electrical cables;
- Replacement of glass in windows, doors and skylights.
Remember to inform your insurer if your home is used for business purposes, as this could increase the risk (particularly if you keep certain materials and equipment on the premises).