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Home insurance FAQs


What is home insurance?

Home insurance cover comes in two parts – buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can choose either one or both of these based on your needs.

Buildings cover insures your bricks and mortar for events like fire and weather damage, while contents cover could protect your belongings against problems like theft, damage and loss.

Buying a combined policy from the same insurer can often be cheaper than getting two separate policies. If you’d like to know more on how home insurance is calculated, check out our guide.

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Is it essential to have home insurance?

If you’re a homeowner, most mortgage lenders insist you have buildings cover in place to protect their investment.

You don’t usually need buildings cover if you’re renting, but you may want contents insurance to help cover the cost of replacing your things if you suffer a loss.

You can find out more about how your home insurance is calculated in our guide.

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Why would I need to take out a joint home insurance policy?

Adding a joint policyholder allows the other person to make a claim, so it’s not only you who can deal with communications with your insurer.

Under some circumstances it can also lower your premium.

For more on how your home insurance is calculated, check out our guide.

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What is accidental damage cover and do I need it?

Most insurers define accidental damage as an unintentional one-off incident that harms your property or its contents.

Most standard policies cover key items like home entertainment, but there may be varying exclusions depending on your insurer.

Your need depends on your circumstances – many accidental damage claims come from people with young children.

It’s also important to know what’s covered under your standard policy. Checking the small print is the best way to make sure you’ve got adequate cover.

Check out our guide to accidental damage if you’d like to know more.

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Do I have to get my buildings insurance through my mortgage provider?

No - unless it’s a specific requirement of your mortgage contract.

By being the only insurer offering you buildings cover when you’re arranging your mortgage, there’s less need for them to competitively price your insurance policy.

You can often save money by shopping around with a price comparison site to get a range of quotes from a number of insurers.

If you’d like to know more about buildings insurance, take a look at our guide.

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What should I include in my contents cover?

As a rule of thumb, anything you’d take with you if you moved house should be included on your contents policy – including items like curtains and carpets.

It’s worth taking the time to go around your house from room to room and putting a reasonable value on everything.

It’s easy to underestimate the value of your contents, but it’s important to make sure you’re not underinsured. To help you calculate the cost of your contents, check out our guide.

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Should I increase my excess to make my policy cheaper?

The golden rule of voluntary excess is to make sure you know what you can afford to pay if you have to make a claim.

The more you agree to pay towards a claim, the less cost there would be for your insurer, so they may reduce your premium accordingly.

But beware - setting an unreasonably high voluntary excess may save you a few pounds on your premium in the short term, but if ever you need to make a claim, you could find yourself with a large bill to settle before your insurer will pay out.

For more on home insurance excess costs, check out our guide.

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If I don't let my insurer know about changes could this affect my cover?

Potentially, yes.

For example, if you’ve told your buildings insurer that your roof is in good repair, they will base your premium on the known risk of storm damage happening to the average roof.

But if, in fact, your guttering is already falling off, or your tiles are coming loose, then there’s a greater than average risk of damage happening during a storm – something your insurer hasn’t covered against on your original premium.

As the full risks weren’t disclosed, you’re effectively insuring higher risks at a cheaper price, which could invalidate your policy and leave you without a pay out in the event of a claim.

For more information, read our guide on how to change your home insurance policy.

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Can I cover myself against damage by pets?

Most home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by pets as standard. To cover this, you’ll often need to buy standalone pet insurance. For more information on accidental damage, check out our guide.

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Does home insurance apply to me if I rent?

As the owner, your landlord will be responsible for the maintenance of the building, so it’s down to them to ensure their property is protected with buildings insurance.

But you’re responsible for any contents inside that you own. If anything were to happen to your possessions, you would liable yourself for the cost of replacing them.

If you’d like to know more about contents insurance, check out our guide.

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What if my situation changes, such as building an extension or buying expensive furniture?

You need to inform your insurer of any changes to your building and/or your contents which may impact on the cover you have.

The key point to remember is that your contract with your insurer is based on mutual disclosure of information – they charge you a “fair” premium, based on the risks you’ve made them aware of. If these risks change, so too does the value of a “fair” premium.

If in doubt, ask your insurer. The time taken for a quick phone call could save any problems that arise in the event of a claim.

Check out our guide to changing your policy if you’d like to know more.

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What if I need a quote for an unnoccupied property?

If the property you’re quoting for is empty, then on the first page of the quotation process (‘About You’) you’ll need to enter your main home address.

On the second page (‘The Property’) you’ll then need to confirm that the property you’re insuring is not your home address. You can then select that the property is left unattended for more than 60 days at a time.

Be aware though that an unoccupied home often falls outside the underwriting criteria of our home insurance panel, so you’re likely to receive fewer quotes than usual.

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How do I get a quote for a property I let?

If you’d like a quote for a property you own but rent out to tenants, try our landlord's insurance page.

Take a look at our guide to landlord’s insurance.

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How do I get a quote for a property I rent?

As a tenant, you can get a contents insurance quote for the property, but you won’t be able to purchase buildings insurance; this is the responsibility of your landlord.

When you start your home insurance quote, you’ll have the option to select whether you want a quote for buildings, contents, or a combined policy. Here you can select that you’re quoting only for contents insurance.

If you’d like to know more about tenants insurance, check out our guide.

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