What is home insurance?
Home insurance (or house insurance) protects you from insured events that damage your home or your belongings. If your home is damaged or destroyed in a fire for example, then having the right insurance could mean the insurance provider will pay to replace your belongings and repair or rebuild your home.
Home insurance is made up of buildings insurance and contents insurance, which can be bought separately or together from the same provider.
Why do you need Home Insurance?
Home insurance protects your house and everything inside it including the fixtures, fittings and all your belongings. It covers theft and damage to your property caused by fire and bad weather, and protects your possessions against theft, damage and loss.
Chances are your house will be the most expensive purchase you ever make and it’s filled with your most cherished possessions. Because no two homes are the same, we offer different types of home protection to make sure homeowners, renters and landlords all get the right cover.
There are three main types of home cover:
What type of cover do I need?
If you’re a homeowner and live in the property, you may want to purchase a combined policy. This includes both buildings and contents cover as you’re responsible for anything that happens to your home and its contents.
Renters usually only need contents cover as your landlord is responsible for the building’s maintenance. However, you should always check your rental agreement to be sure.
If you’re already a homeowner, or you’re a first-time buyer, you’ll be aware that buildings cover is a condition of a mortgage offer.
What information do I need to get a home insurance quote?
Once you’ve decided which type of cover is right for you, click the ‘get a quote’ button and have the following details ready:
1. Property details
You’ll need information about the property you want to insure including:
- Number of rooms
- Year property was built
- How it’s heated
- Security systems and locks
2. Who lives there?
You’ll also need to know the following:
- Who lives in the property
- Occupants’ job titles and marital status
- Who owns the property
- How often it’s left empty
3. Exterior details
Thinking about the outside of the property, we want to know:
- Roof type
- Signs of subsidence
- Trees taller than 10m close to your property
- Previous flooding
4. Rebuild costs and cover needs
In this final section we ask for:
- Rebuild costs (we’ll help you estimate this in your quote journey)
- Value of your contents (we have a handy contents calculator to help with this)
- Any bikes and valuables (worth more than £1,000) you want to cover
What does home insurance cover?
It will typically protect your home and your possessions inside it against theft and damage due to fire, flood, storms, subsidence, burst pipes and water leaks.
- Insuring your home against fire damage
If you have buildings and home contents insurance in place, you’re likely to be covered for anything that’s damaged or destroyed in a fire. Both policies usually cover fire damage as standard, so there’s no need to buy additional cover.
- Home insurance in high-risk flood areas
With the average cost of repairs in a flood-damaged home coming in at £50,000, it’s worth finding out if you’re one of around five million homes in an area at risk of flooding.
- Weather and storm damage insurance cover
Storms, floods and serious weather events make headlines in the UK more than ever these days. So much so that we’ve now joined our American friends in naming them. From Storm Aileen to Hurricane Ophelia, it seems we’re becoming increasingly familiar not just with naming conventions, but also the devastating effects of storm damage on our homes and communities.
- Insurance for subsidence
Subsidence can happen when the ground on which your home stands begins to move or sink downwards. The foundations of your house can move as well, causing extensive damage. Large cracks can form, making the building less stable. Subsidence isn’t caused by the weight of the building.
What do I need to run a home insurance quote?
There are two types of home insurance: buildings insurance covers damage to the fabric of your property, including fixtures and fittings, while contents insurance covers your belongings. You can compare home insurance prices for both buildings and contents cover with MoneySuperMarket, so you can protect your home against fire, flooding, storm damage and theft.
When applying for home contents and buildings insurance, you will need the following information:
Details about your property
- Your address and property type (eg semi-detached or terraced)
- Number of rooms
- When your home was built
- What percentage of the roof is flat (we’ll help you work this out)
- Number of occupants and when they tend to be home
Rebuilding cost and value of contents
- Based on your postcode, we’ll suggest a figure for the cost
Security at your property
- What lock types are on the windows and doors at your home?
Buildings or contents insurance – or both? It’s essential to have the right type of home insurance for your particular situation, so here are the basics in a nutshell.
- If you own your own home, you’re responsible for both buildings and contents insurance. Like we said earlier, it’s advisable to have both.
- If you’re renting, then buildings insurance is usually the responsibility of your landlord, but it’s advisable to have contents insurance to protect your personal belongings.
- If you’re a landlordyou’re responsible for buildings insurance to cover the property you own and rent out. If you rent out a furnished property, you can also take out contents insurance to cover your belongings against damage or theft.
- If you have a holiday home, both buildings and contents insurance can be more expensive than regular home insurance. This is because holiday homes are often left unoccupied, meaning problems like a burst pipe might go undetected for longer and cause more damage.
What happens if I make a claim?
Do I have to pay an excess if I make a claim?
Each policy normally comes with a compulsory and a voluntary excess, if you have selected one. A compulsory excess does what it says on the tin. If you make a claim, it’s the amount you pay towards the cost. If your TV was stolen and you made a claim for £500, and had a compulsory excess of £50 – a typical sum – you’d get £450.
If you have a £50 voluntary excess and a £50 compulsory excess, you’d only get £400.
The excess is outlined when you buy the policy. What you pay is entirely up to you. A higher excess will lower the cost of your premium, with the insurer paying less if you have to make a claim. But if you make a claim, you’ll get less money back.
Will my old goods be replaced with new ones if I have to claim?
There are two main types of cover when it comes to replacing your goods. New-for-old entitles you to brand new stuff (or the requisite value) if your insurer agrees to replace your damaged or stolen goods. Or there’s an indemnity policy, where you get the value of the goods at the time of the loss.
How to complain about your insurance provider
The insurance industry doesn’t have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print.