What should I consider when choosing buildings insurance?
Before buying a buildings insurance policy it’s important to check:
- What’s included as standard
- The amount of excess
- How long you can leave your home unoccupied
- Whether alternative accommodation is included
- How much no-claims bonus (NCB) you have
- What isn’t covered by your policy - known as exclusions
What’s included as standard usually includes damage by fire, floods, storms and subsidence. But accidental damage insurance is often an optional extra that comes at an added cost.
The amount of excess is an agreed amount of money you pay in the event of a claim. There’s often a compulsory excess set by the insurer. But you might be able to reduce the cost of your policy by agreeing to a higher voluntary excess. This can help you save money, but it’s important not to agree to more than you could afford.
How long you can leave your home unoccupied is something to take into consideration if you’re likely to be away for long periods of time. Many standard policies don’t cover your home if it’s left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.
Alternative accommodation is important if your home suffers serious damage by fire or flood. Be sure to check with your provider that this is provided if you’re concerned about damage to your home. There might be limits as to how much you can claim for alternative accommodation.
No-claims bonus (NCB) should build up if you don’t make a claim during the policy year. The longer your NCB is, the greater the discount you usually get when you buy or renew your policy.
What isn’t covered by your policy (exclusions) might include accidental damage to your home, poor workmanship and general wear and tear. You might also not be covered for damage caused by frost, insects, birds and other pests.
How much does buildings insurance cost?
The average price of buildings insurance is:
Prices will vary considerably depending on the type of home you want to insure. Insurance companies will consider various factors from the property’s location to its size and age. As a general rule, larger and listed properties will cost more to insure. So will those in areas where there is a higher risk of flooding.
2August 2021-August 2022 Confused.com data - top average premium excluding quotes with claims, incidents or accidental damage.
How do I get a cheaper buildings insurance quote?
There are ways to make sure you don’t spend more than you need on your buildings insurance:
- Don’t over insure
- Build up your no-claims bonus (NCB)
- Explore different policy options
- Pay annually, if you can
- Shop around
- Install smoke alarms
Don’t over insure. Make sure you give an accurate cost of rebuilding your property, or you might end up paying for more cover than you need.
Build up your no-claims bonus (NCB) to save money for future policies. If you’ve not made a claim in the last 5 years, you're usually rewarded with a discount from the insurer. The more years you go without claiming, the bigger the discount you usually get. This might make you think twice about making smaller claims that you could afford to repair yourself.
Explore different policy options to try and find a cheaper policy. If you’re a homeowner, it’s typically cheaper to opt for a combined policy covering both buildings and contents insurance from the same insurer.
Pay annually, if you can, rather than paying monthly installments. If you pay monthly, insurers can charge interest and admin fees on top.
Shop around to find a cheaper policy. Don’t just accept your renewal quote from your existing provider. Even if it's similar to last year's price, you might be able to get the same cover for less elsewhere.
Installing smoke alarms could also reduce the price of your insurance. Regardless of potentially saving you money, you should have smoke alarms fitted and regularly maintained in your home.
Different policies offer varying levels of cover. Pick the one that offers the right level of cover for your home. There’s no point getting the cheapest policy if you can’t claim on it when you need to. But equally, you shouldn’t pay for cover you don’t need.
Need more help?
No. Only the owner of a property can buy the buildings insurance. If you’re not the building owner but you’re worried about appropriate buildings insurance, you can check with the building’s proprietor or landlord to check this cover is in place.
If you’re a tenant, you might want to look at contents insurance to make sure your personal possessions are covered.
Yes, you can protect your home against flooding even in a flood risk area. The government and insurers have an agreement which allows for affordable insurance even in flood risk areas. This scheme is called Flood Re.
Find out more about flood insurance.
No. Although your mortgage lender requires you to have buildings insurance, you don't have to buy it from your mortgage provider. That's unless it's a specific requirement of your mortgage contract.
Lenders often offer policies from their own insurers. They're usually the only insurer offering you buildings cover when you’re arranging your mortgage. So there’s less need for them to competitively price your insurance policy.
You can often save money by shopping around and comparing quotes from a number of insurers. That's where we can help.
You should be able to find out the age of your property on the title register or title deeds that prove you own your property. Your conveyancer should have sent this to you when you bought the property.
What our home insurance expert says:
Most mortgage providers insist you have buildings cover in place. But even if you own your property outright, buildings insurance is still a no-brainer. This is because structural repairs to your home can be pricey, especially if any damage caused requires a full re-build of the property. Buildings insurance offers you peace of mind that if something does happen, you’re not left out of pocket.
Home insurance product manager