Why should I get home insurance?
- To protect your home and belongings
- Mortgage lenders insist homeowners have it
- To save you from having to pay in full if something goes wrong
Home insurance protects your home and belongings in the event of an accident or emergency.
Most mortgage lenders insist you have buildings insurance in place if you’re a homeowner, even though it's not a legal requirement. Unexpected damage to your home can sometimes cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds. So, think about whether you could afford to pay out if something were to happen.
You don’t usually need buildings cover if you’re renting. But you might want contents insurance to help cover the cost of replacing your things.
What home insurance policy is right for me?
There are 3 home insurance policies to choose from. The average price per year for each are2:
Buildings and contents insurance
2 April 2022 Confused.com data - top average premium excluding quotes with claims or accidental damage cover.
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. You’re likely to need this cover to protect your home and everything you own inside it.
Buildings insurance protects the structure and permanent fixtures in your home such as the roof, walls, floors and fitted kitchens. Garages, sheds and fences are also usually covered. A standard buildings policy covers for 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, kitchenware, clothes & jewellery and any soft furnishings.
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 buildings and contents insurance. Buying both from the same provider could be cheaper than buying from two separate insurers. When getting a home insurance quote, compare the cost of combined cover against separate policies 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 might need to pay that excess amount if you need to make a claim in future.
Improve your home security with things like secure door locks or a burglar alarm. This could help reduce your insurance price.
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. 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.
What details do I need to get a home insurance quote?
Getting a home insurance quote is easy. All you need are these details to help you find cover quickly:
- Basic information about your home
- What door locks and alarms you have
- The value of your home contents
- Details of previous claims
- The cost to rebuild your home
- Details about your roof
Basic information about your home includes the year your home was built as well as what type of building it is e.g. mid-terrace, bungalow. We’ll also ask the date you moved in or bought your home.
What door locks and alarms you have help insurance companies get a picture of how secure your home is. If you’re unsure, our guide on door lock types could help.
The value of your home contents is the total amount you’d have to pay to replace everything in your house. You can use our contents calculator to estimate the value of your personal belongings.
Details of any previous claims should be listed in your renewal documents. If you don’t have these to hand, you can contact your previous insurance company.
The cost to rebuild your home is how much it would cost to completely rebuild your house from the ground up, not including any of your possessions. We’ll automatically estimate the value of your home, but you can enter your own amount. For more information, find out how to calculate the rebuild cost of your home.
Details about your roof include the materials it’s made from e.g. tile, slate or thatched. We’ll also ask you how much of your roof is flat, if at all.
What home insurance optional extras are available?
There are a number of additional 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 could include 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 could help 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.
What our home insurance expert says:
Don’t settle for your insurer’s renewal offer. If you’re looking to get the best deal on your home insurance, my top tip is to compare quotes. Don’t jump at the cheapest or first option you see - check the policy details to make sure you have the cover you need. That way if you need to make claim you won’t be left out of pocket.
Home insurance product manager
Need more help?
If you’re working from home as a result of coronavirus, it won’t affect your home insurance policy.
Any work laptops or equipment should be covered under your employer’s liability insurance.
If you’re worried about any personal equipment getting damaged, check your contents policy to see your cover limits and exclusions.
If you want to protect any belongings you carry with you outside the home like your mobile phone, bags or jewellery, you’ll need to add personal possessions cover as an extra.
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.
Your home insurance excess is the amount you pay in the event of a claim. There are two 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. However this could mean you will have to pay more in the event of 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.
Insurers will look at your credit score to check your financial profile, verify your identity to help prevent fraud and to provide you with their best premium and payment options but it shouldn’t affect the price you pay.
Roof leaks will be covered under your home insurance 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.
It’s not a legal requirement to have home insurance but it can help to give you peace of mind if something happens. It’s worth noting that if you’re buying a house, most mortgage lenders require you to have buildings insurance in place to cover the structure of the property.
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.
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.
Yes and no. 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.
There are a few things that can affect how much home insurance costs, including:
- The size and location of the property
- The number of people living there
- The total cost to rebuild your home
- The cost to replace all your belongings
- The level of security at the property (e.g. burglar alarms, door and window locks)
- Any additional features you add to your policy (e.g. accidental damage cover)
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 or Historic Environment Scotland.
If you’re renting, you shouldn’t need to get buildings insurance - that’s down to your landlord. It’s worth asking them if they have a buildings insurance policy in place.
If you want to protect your belongings, you might want to consider a contents insurance policy. If the house was destroyed, your landlord’s policy only covers the building itself, not any of your possessions.
If the place is furnished, your landlord might have a contents insurance policy in place specifically to cover the items they’ve included.
Knowing what door locks you have could help give you a more accurate quote. Here’s how to tell at a glance:
- Five-lever mortice deadlock is a wooden door that doesn’t lock automatically and has the words ‘5 lever’ engraved in the faceplate
- Five-lever mortice deadlock conforming to BS 3621 is the same as a standard five-lever mortice deadlock, but with a Kitemark on the faceplate along with a serial number
- Key-operated multi-point locking system is a plastic (UPVC) or composite door, and you have to turn the handle up to lock it
- Rim automatic deadlatch with key-locking handle is set into the surface of the door, rather than its edge
Home insurance policies usually provide cover against loss and damage caused by:
With buildings insurance, this covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home after an incident.
With contents insurance, your policy covers the cost of fixing or replacing your possessions that have been damaged or stolen.
If you need to claim on your home insurance, contact your insurer as soon as possible to provide details, receipts, and any photographic evidence of the incident. Having this information to hand will help 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 can also lower your premium.