Buildings insurance

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What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance offers protection for the permanent fixtures in your home such as the roof, walls, floors, bathroom fittings and ceilings. Garages, sheds and fences also tend to be covered. A good policy should cover the full repair/rebuild of your home should the worst happen.

If you have a mortgage, buildings insurance is usually compulsory as the lender will insist you’re covered to protect their investment. If you’re renting your home, your landlord should have a policy in place to protect the building.

What does buildings insurance cover?

Buildings insurance could cover the cost of repairing damage caused by:

  • Flooding, fire and storms.
  • Structural damage caused by subsidence and fallen trees.
  • Water damage to your house caused by burst pipes.
  • Accidental damage (sometimes an optional extra).

How much cover do I need?

Start with calculating the rebuild cost of your house – once you know this figure you’ll have a better understanding of how much cover you need.

When you get a quote we work with our friends at RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) to calculate an estimated rebuild cost based on the details you provide. We look at things such as type of property, location and construction type e.g. brick walls and a tiled roof. It’s important you check this estimate against your own to ensure you’re adequately covered should you make a claim.

If your house has a rebuild value of over £500,000 - your home might be classed as 'high value'. This usually happens with listed buildings as repairing any damage may require specific materials, which can increase costs. It's worth talking with your insurer, as some offer high value home insurance as a specific policy.

If you're a landlord, you may need a specialist policy that is designed for rental properties to cover the extra risks involved.

You’ll need to let us know if your property is at risk of or has previously been flooded by an external source e.g. a river, heavy rainfall or the sea.

Roughly one in six properties in the UK is at risk of flood damage, and the number of people at risk is predicted to grow significantly over the next few decades.

How can I reduce the cost of buildings insurance? The average price of buildings insurance is £108* but premiums can vary considerably depending on the type of home you want to insure. Here's some tips:

  • Don’t over insure
  • Avoid ‘guesstimates’ when it comes to insuring your home. It’s important to give an accurate cost of rebuilding your property, otherwise you’ll end up paying for more cover than you need.

  • No-claims bonus
  • If you’ve not previously made a claim you’ll usually be rewarded with a discount from the insurer. The more years you go without claiming, the bigger the discount applied.

  • Explore policy options
  • If you’re a homeowner it’s typically cheaper if you opt for a combined policy covering both buildings and contents insurance from the same provider.

    * data for buildings insurance premiums in June 2018.

  • Pay annually
  • Monthly instalments can be the easier option at times, but this can be the more expensive option as insurers often charge interest and admin fees on top of your premium.

  • Shop around
  • Don’t just accept your renewal quote from your existing provider. It’s not always the best deal.

  • Install smoke alarms
  • Regardless of this saving you money, you should have smoke alarms fitted and regularly maintained in your home.

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