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Buildings insurance

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1Correct as of April, 2023

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is designed to help you cover the cost of any repairs you need to make to the physical structure and permanent fixtures of your home.

This includes the:

  • Roof
  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Bathroom fittings

It'll also usually also help you cover the full rebuild cost of your home should disaster strike.

Buildings insurance is just one half of home insurance. It doesn't cover any loss or damage to your home’s contents or any of your personal possessions. For that, you need contents insurance

What does buildings insurance cover?

Most policies will cover any damage done to your home's physical structure by:

  • Flooding, fire, storms and natural disasters
  • Subsidence and fallen trees
  • Vehicle collisions
  • Water damage caused by burst pipes
  • Vandalism

Garages, sheds and fences are usually covered too, though this can differ from policy to policy.

Most insurers also offer optional extras that you can add onto your policy to ensure it covers exactly what you need it to. These include:

  • Accidental damage cover which covers things like putting your foot through the ceiling while working in the attic
  • Legal expenses cover which can help cover the cost if you need to go to court over something like a boundary dispute
  • Home emergency cover to help cover the cost of emergency repairs to your utilities (water, gas and electric)
  • Boiler breakdown cover to help cover the cost of callouts, labour, repairs and even replacement if your boiler breaks

Some of these may be included as standard with your policy, so it's always worth checking with your home insurance provider to see exactly what you're covered for.

Typically, insurers don’t cover for gradual damage caused by things like damp. If you have signs of damp in your home it’s best to get them checked by a professional. Our guide can help you to spot the common signs of damp.

Do I need buildings insurance?

While buildings insurance isn't a legal requirement like car insurance is, it can still be a good idea to have it in place

You might benefit from it if:

  • You own your home outright: as buildings insurance can help you cover the cost of any essential repairs you need to make to your home, as well as the cost of a complete rebuild if disaster strikes.
  • You have a mortgage: as most lenders will insist you have it in place. They may recommend you policies from their own insurers, but you don’t have to do this, and can often find cheaper cover by comparing quotes.
  • You're a landlord: as it's your responsibility to maintain your property and pay for repairs. Specific landlords insurance might be an even better fit, as it can help cover some of the other costs landlords face.

But you may not need it if:

  • You're a tenant: as if you rent, maintenance and repairs to your home are your landlord's responsibility, so it’s down to them to cover the cost. Tenants insurance can help you protect your contents though.
  • If you own a flat: as flat insurance should be arranged for the building as a whole (not just your flat). This is usually done by the freeholder, or the leaseholders combined if they jointly hold the freehold. Simply, if you own a freehold flat it’s your responsibility to buy buildings insurance. If you own a leasehold flat, the building should be covered by your landlord.

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*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (April ’23). 51% of home insurance customers could save £174.41 on a combined policy.
**Single annual policy. Shell Go+ account required. Only one £10 fuel reward can be used per transaction and each can only be used on fuel purchases of £10 or over. HelloFresh 18+ subscription service. Geographical exclusions apply. T&Cs apply

How much should I insure my house for?

You should insure your building for the amount that it would cost to rebuild it from scratch.

This is known as the rebuild value and is different to the amount you might have paid for your home when you bought it. It might aso be different to what you could sell it for now.

The chances are you won’t know how to calculate the rebuild cost of your house by yourself. But don’t worry if you don’t know where to start.

When you get a buildings insurance quote, we work with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to help you calculate your estimated rebuild cost using its Building Costs Information Service.

This looks at:

  • The age of your property
  • The building materials used
  • The location of your property
  • Subsidence risk
  • Flood risk
  • Whether or not the property is listed
  • The number of doors, windows and rooms

How much does buildings insurance cost?

Prices will vary considerably depending on the type of home you want to insure. Insurance companies look at a wide range of factors when coming up with your quote. This usually includes everything from your home'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.

The average price of buildings insurance is:


2October 2022-January 2023 Confused.com data - average purchased premium price.

If you're lookng for ways to keep the cost of your home insurance down, make sure you:

  • Don’t over insure, as you could end up paying for more cover than you need.
  • Build your no-claims bonus (NCB) as the longer you go without claiming, the more of a no claims discount you'll usually be rewarded with.
  • Explore policy options like combined contents and buildings insurance, as this is often cheaper than taking out two separate policies.
  • Pay annually as insurers will often charge you additional interest and admin fees if you pay monthly.
  • Compare quotes instead of accepting your renewal price. You might be surprised with just how much you can save.
  • Install smoke alarms and other safety measures, as these can be a simple way to reduce youyr risk, and in turn, what you pay for your policy.

Compare buildings insurance quotes

We compare up to 64 trusted insurance companies1 to get you our cheapest deal in minutes

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What should I consider when choosing buildings insurance?

Comparing quotes is a quick and easy way to save on your insurance, but before you settle on a policy it's a good idea to make sure it's the right one for you.

Have a look at:

  • What’s included as standard
  • Your excess amount
  • How long you can leave your home unoccupied
  • Whether alternative accommodation is included
  • How much no-claims bonus (NCB) you have
  • Your policy exclusions

What’s included as standard as most policies will include damage by fire, floods, storms and subsidence, but may not cover accidental damage, which is sometimes only available as an optional extra.

Your excess amount is the amount you'll have to pay towards any claims you make. Typicaly, the more you agree to pay, the cheaper your insurance might be. But it’s important not to agree to more than you could afford.

How long you can leave your home unoccupied can differ from policy to policy. Many insurers will only cover your house for 30 days if it's left unoccupied. If you're likely to be away for long periods of time, it's something to think about.

Alternative accommodation provides you with somewhere else to live while your house is undergoing extensive repairs. It might be included as standard on your policy, but some insurers only offer it as an optional extra. If you don't have you could stay in the event of a fire or flood at your home, it might be worth considering. 

Your policy exclusions are things you might not be covered for. This can include things like poor workmanship, general wear and tear and things you may not have expecte like damage caused by frost, insects, birds and other pests. It's a good idea to be aware of what you aren't covered for, as well as what you are.

What do I need to get a quote?

To compare quotes, we'll need a few details from you. Having these to hand can speed up the process, and help us find you the right policy quickly. 

We'll need to know:

  • What type of heating system you have
  • The rebuild cost of your home
  • The date you bought the property
  • The year your home was built
  • Details of any previous claims

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What our home insurance expert says:

Structural repairs to your home can be extremely pricey, especially if the damage is so bad your house needs a full rebuild. Buildings insurance is a no-brainer for this reason. It offers you peace of mind that if something does happen, you’re not left out of pocket.

Need more help?

Can I get buildings insurance in a flood risk area?

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.

Does buildings insurance cover renovations and extensions?

Your buildings insurance should cover your whole property. If you decide to have an extension or make major changes to your property it’s important to tell your insurer. This ensures you have the right amount of cover for your home.
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