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What are the different types of home insurance?

Home insurance is usually pretty straightforward.

But if you have a particular type of house or special circumstances, you might need something a bit more specialised.

Portobello road

In a nutshell, home insurance covers the actual building that you live in - as well as the stuff inside it - against theft and damage by fire and flood.

This is your standard buildings and contents policy. Depending on your preferences, you can get cover for either or both of these at the same time.

Quicklinks for specialist home insurance

Landlords | Tenants | Listed buildings | High-value 

Non-standard construction | Holiday home

 

Buildings insurance

As well as the structure of your house, this policy also protects any permanent fixtures like your bathroom and kitchen fittings, as well as your roof.

This usually extends to outdoor buildings as well e.g. garages, sheds and greenhouses, but not fences, walls and gates.

Though it’s not a legal requirement, most mortgage lenders insist that you get buildings cover before they let you take out a mortgage.

Check out our buildings insurance guide for a more comprehensive list of what’s covered.

TOP TIP: What trips most people up when it comes to getting a buildings insurance quote is working out the rebuild cost of your home.

Save yourself some time and work this out beforehand using a buildings insurance calculator.

Contents insurance

If you stop to think about the sheer amount of stuff that you own, you’d realise how much it would cost to replace everything - usually tens of thousands of pounds.

A contents policy protects your belongings from theft, and damage from fire and flood – from your clothes and books to that treadmill you threw in the shed three years ago.

You don’t have to get cover for your contents, but it helps cover your costs if you have to replace a smashed TV, or deal with a room full of flooded furniture.

Take a look at our contents insurance guide for more information on how the policy works.

TOP TIP: Trying to figure out how much everything you own is worth can be a bit of a bother, and you could wind up underinsuring your possessions.

The easiest way to work this out is to use our contents insurance calculator. Go room by room to make sure you’ve ticked off everything.

Contents insurance statistic

Landlords' insurance

If you’re a landlord, you’re responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the building that you’re renting out.

A standard buildings insurance policy usually won’t cut it for landlords, because someone other than you lives in the building. You’ll need something specifically designed for landlords.

Landlords’ insurance could also cover things like loss of rent and public liability.

Read our full guide to landlords’ insurance.

Tenants’ insurance

If you’re renting a house or flat, you won’t need buildings cover, so you can focus entirely on protecting your contents.

This also applies if you’re a student or living in a house share – more people in the house means more chances for something to happen to your stuff.

Some landlords may request that you take out a contents policy as part of your tenancy agreement, so it’s worth checking out your options for what cover is available.

Want more info? Check out our guide to tenants’ insurance.

Listed buildings insurance

If you’re lucky enough to live in a house that holds a special place in the nation’s heart, then chances are it’ll be either Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II listed.

This will depend on its historic importance and cultural significance.

Although there’s a certain air of prestige with these kinds of buildings, there are restrictions with a listed building that could make repairing it more expensive.

Living in a listed building doesn’t mean that you can’t make any changes – it’s just more difficult and time-consuming to do so.

A listed buildings insurance policy takes this into account, so you’re better able to get the right level of cover.

Listed building grading system explained

High-value home insurance

Like standard policies, high-value cover is split into two types – buildings and contents.

As a general rule of thumb, high-value buildings are those that would cost more than £500,000 to rebuild. This may vary depending on the insurer, though.

High-value contents are things like works of fine art, certain antiques and jewellery. 

Standard contents policies usually have a single-item value limit, so if a valuable painting is stolen, you might not be able to claim for the full amount.

A high-value home insurance policy makes room for this added value so you have that extra layer of protection.

Non-standard construction

So you have an interesting house.

Maybe you’ve built it yourself from scratch, or you’ve used timber frames and a thatched roof to give it that rustic feel.

You might have even built the walls out of wattle and daub, medieval style.

Though this adds an extra touch of class and character to your home, many of the big-name insurers may shy away from this kind of house because it’s too risky.

Timber frame or a thatched roof? Greater risk of catching fire.

That self-build house that you’re so proud of? To an insurer, that might be an increased risk of collapsing or needing substantial repair.

You may have better luck with specialist insurers that deal specifically with non-standard houses.

Holiday home insurance

Take a moment and be a little smug. Not only do you have your own home, but you have a second home for when you want to get away from it all. Lucky you.

Holiday homes aren’t normally covered in the same way as your usual house because they’re usually left empty for long periods of time.

This means there’s an added risk of burglary, as it’s a more tempting prospect for thieves.

If you’re looking to get cover for a holiday home, make sure you’re open about the fact it’s not your main house, otherwise any future claims you make might be void.

Take a look at our holiday home insurance guide for more information.

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