What type of home insurance do I need?
There are 3 home insurance policies to choose from:
- Buildings insurance
- Contents insurance
- Combined buildings and contents insurance
The type of home insurance that’s right for you depends on what you want to cover.
Buildings insurance protects the structure and permanent fixtures in your home such as the roof, walls, floors and fitted kitchens. These policies also usually extend to garages, sheds and fences. A standard buildings policy covers damage to the property from burst pipes, subsidence, flooding, fire or theft.
Contents insurance protects your belongings against loss and damage. It covers items you can pick up and move such as furniture, TVs and electrical items. It also covers smaller items such as kitchenware, clothes & jewellery and any soft furnishings.
Buildings and contents insurance is sometimes known as a ‘combined policy’. It’s suitable for homeowners, whether you own your home outright or have a mortgage. This type of combined home insurance policy sometimes works out less expensive than 2 separate policies.
You’ll need a combined home insurance policy to protect your property and everything you own inside it.
What does home insurance cover?
The specifics of your cover is likely to vary between policies, but as a general rule, you should expect to be covered for damage caused by:
- Falling trees
But there are some exclusions. Home insurance typically doesn't cover:
- Wear and tear
- Damage caused through negligence
- Routine maintenance
- Damage caused by pests or birds
- Bad work from a tradesperson
How much does home insurance cost?
There are 3 home insurance policies to choose from. The average price per year for each are2:
Buildings and contents insurance
2 September 2022 Confused.com data - top average premium excluding quotes with claims or accidental damage cover.
How much you pay for your home insurance policy depends on several factors.
For buildings insurance policies, the cost of your policy depends on:
- The rebuild cost of your house
- Where you live, including the risk of theft and subsidence
- The size and age of your property
- Your claims history
For contents insurance policies, your home insurance costs depend on:
- The total value of your contents
- Where you live
- Any high-value items you have
- Your claims history
What affects the cost of home insurance?
What our home insurance expert says:
Budgeting is more important than ever as the cost of living rises and saving money where possible is a top priority for most households. If you’re looking to get the best deal on your home insurance, my top tip is to compare quotes. Don’t let your policy auto-renew - compare home insurance providers for the cheapest deal and you could see big savings.
Home insurance product manager
How can I get cheaper home insurance?
Our home insurance expert Jessica Willock shares her top tips to help reduce the cost of your home insurance:
- Consider a combined home insurance policy
- Increase your home insurance excess
- Improve your home security
- Build your no-claims bonus
- Pay for your insurance annually
- Shop around
Consider a combined home insurance policy if you need both buildings and contents insurance. Buying both from the same provider could be cheaper than buying from 2 separate insurers. When getting a home insurance quote, compare the cost of combined cover against separate policies to see if you can save.
Increase your home insurance excess. If you can afford to pay a higher voluntary excess in the event of a claim, it can help cut the cost of your insurance. But remember, you pay that excess amount if you need to make a claim in future.
Improve your home security with secure door locks or a burglar alarm. This could help reduce your insurance costs and risk of burglary.
Build your no-claims bonus. Most insurers offer a no-claims bonus on your house insurance if you’ve been claim-free at least a year. Typically, the more years you go without claiming on your home insurance, the bigger the discount you might get.
Paying for your insurance annually, if you can afford it, is generally the cheapest way to pay for your home insurance. Most insurers tend to charge interest or an admin fee if you opt to pay monthly.
Shop around and compare home insurance quotes to find a cheaper deal. Don’t let your policy renew automatically, even if the price seems similar to last year. Instead, get a new home insurance quote here at Confused.com. You could find the same level of cover you need with a different insurer at a cheaper price.
For more ways to save, check out our tips for cheaper home insurance.
Why choose Confused.com?
We’re 100% independent and not owned by an insurance company. The prices we show you are based on the details you give us. We’ll always show you our best prices that are available at the time, no matter who they’re from.
What home insurance optional extras are available?
There are several extras you can add to your home insurance policy for extra peace of mind, including cover for:
- Home emergency
- Accidental damage
- Legal protection
- High-value items
- Personal possessions
- Alternative accommodation
Home emergency cover provides immediate help for things that could impact your health or your home’s security. This includes a broken window, issues with your plumbing or if your boiler breaks down. This add-on often comes with a 24/7 helpline. If you’re a landlord, you can get specialist landlord home emergency cover.
Accidental damage cover protects you against unintentional accidents in your home. So you should be covered if you spill red wine on the carpet or put your foot through the ceiling while working in the attic.
Legal protection could help cover the cost of any legal proceedings to do with your home. This includes legal disputes with neighbours or poor work carried out by tradespeople on your property.
High-value items cover protects individual belongings worth over £1,000. You can add them to your home insurance quote to protect them if they get lost, damaged or stolen. You’ll also have the option to protect them away from home.
Bicycle insurance covers loss, theft or damage to yours or your family’s bikes. When you get a quote, you can set each bike’s value, which should help you get a like-for-like replacement if yours is stolen.
Personal possessions cover protects individual belongings worth less than £1,000 away from home. This covers items like cameras, phones, or jewellery if they get lost, stolen or damaged when you’re out of the house.
Alternative accommodation helps cover the costs of temporary accommodation if your property is left unhabitable following a flood, fire, subsidence or storm damage, your insurer should help you find alternative accommodation and cover the costs while the problem is sorted.
You might find some home insurance providers offer these policy extras as standard. It's worth checking your home insurance policy to see exactly what’s covered and what might come at an extra cost.
Need more help?
If you want to protect any belongings outside the home you need to add personal possessions cover as an extra. This helps protect possessions such as your:
- Mobile phone
Some insurers include this as standard, but you can add it to your contents policy.
This covers items worth less than £1,000 each away from home. You can add cover for high value items worth more than £1,000 or laptops and bikes in your quote.
Yes. There are 2 kinds of excess - voluntary and compulsory.
As the name suggests, you can’t change your compulsory excess - that’s set by your insurance company. But you can increase or decrease your voluntary excess. In fact, increasing your voluntary excess is one way you could lower your home insurance costs. This does mean you have to pay more if you make a claim.
Yes, flood insurance is usually covered in most home insurance policies but it’s worth checking the finer details with your provider.
The ABI (Association of British Insurers) launched the Flood Re. scheme in 2016, to help those living in flood risk areas find affordable home insurance. All home insurance providers in the UK pay into the scheme, with the money raised used to cover homes at risk of flooding.
Your credit score shouldn't impact the price you pay for your home insurance. Insurers look at your credit score to:
- Check your financial profile
- Verify your identity to help prevent fraud
- Provide you with their best price and payment options
Home insurance will cover roof leaks if you have home emergency cover. Cover for roof damage can be included as standard with some insurers but always check your policy details to be sure.
No, most home insurance policies don’t cover boilers as standard. Boiler breakdown is often covered under home emergency, an additional extra you can choose to add to your policy when you get a quote.
The amount of cover you need to be fully protected largely depends on two factors:
- The rebuild cost of your house
- The total value of your possessions
Your home’s rebuild cost is different to its current market value. A house that’s worth £200,000 might only cost £150,000 to rebuild, for example. Overestimating this amount could increase your home insurance costs, so it’s worth checking if you’re not sure.
When working out the value of your contents, think of everything you’d have to replace if the entire house was gone. This includes:
- All gadgets and electronics
- All clothes and jewellery
- All furniture
- All books, CDs, DVDs, games, toys and musical instruments
- The food in your cupboards, fridge and freezer
The amount of excess you pay is up to you and what works best with your circumstances. If you can afford to pay a higher excess in the event of a claim it could lower the cost of your insurance policy, saving you money.
This depends on the work being done. Most insurers cover smaller DIY claims like drilling through a pipe. But if you’re planning on doing major building work like renovating an attic or adding a conservatory, you need to contact your insurer.
This is to make them aware of the potential risks associated with the construction work. Although this might increase the cost of your premium, it’s important to have the right cover in case you need to make a claim while the building work is taking place.
Listed buildings might need specialist materials and particular methods of repair to maintain the look and feel of the original building.
A standard home insurance policy should also cover listed buildings. When you get a quote, we’ll ask you whether the property is Grade I or Grade II listed, or if it has a preservation order.
If you’re not sure whether your house is a listed building, you can check at Historic England, Cadw, Historic Environment Scotland or the Historic Environment Division.
Knowing what door locks you have could help give you a more accurate quote. Here’s how to tell at a glance:
- A 5-lever mortice deadlock is a wooden door that doesn’t lock automatically and has the words ‘5 lever’ engraved in the faceplate
- A 5-lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS 3621 is the same as a standard 5-lever mortice deadlock, but with a Kitemark on the faceplate along with a serial number
- A key-operated multi-point locking system is a plastic (UPVC) or composite door, and you have to turn the handle up to lock it
- A rim automatic deadlatch with key-locking handle is set into the surface of the door, rather than its edge
Find out more about the different types of door locks.
If you need to claim on your home insurance, contact your insurer as soon as possible to give details, receipts, and any photographic evidence of the incident. Having this information to hand helps them process your claim faster.
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 could also lower your insurance costs.