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01 Jan 2020
Adam Bate

How much home insurance cover do I need?


Hand holding house

Need to work out how much buildings cover you need? What about contents? Our guide can help make sure you've considered everything.


If you're looking to insure your home and/or its contents, then it's definitely a good idea to know exactly how much you'll be covered for.

As a rule of thumb, buildings insurance covers the building itself, the outbuildings such as your shed, and any fitted fixtures like your kitchen and bathroom. If you're renting, then your landlord should have this covered.

And your contents would be anything you'd take with you if you decide to move.

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How much buildings insurance do I need?

When assessing how much buildings insurance you need, it's worth noting that you only need to insure the cost of rebuilding your home and not its market value.

A common mistake is when homeowners extend their home but forget to increase their buildings cover. In the event of a claim, a payout will only be made on the part of your house covered by insurance – a potentially costly error.

You can find the rebuild cost of your home on your home survey/buyer’s report or you can work it out by using the rebuilding calculator on the Association of British Insurers' website.

Take a look at our guide on how to calculate the rebuild costs of your home if you need any more information on this.


How much contents insurance do I need?

When buying contents insurance, don’t make the mistake of underestimating the worth of all your goodies.

Items such as books, jewellery, clothes, gadgets, furniture, and even your curtains and carpets can easily be left out when getting insured.

To work out exactly how much contents cover you need, use our contents insurance calculator. You can add up the value of your possessions room by room and it will total all your contents.

For more information, here are some tips to how to work our your contents insurance.

Protecting your valuables

Always check what's included on your policy by speaking to your insurer or checking the small print.

Some home contents insurance policies cover certain items and circumstances at no extra charge, while others only include them as additional extras.

For example, ‘high-risk’ or ‘high value’ items may need to be listed separately and protected with additional/extended cover. These may include:


Home insurance extras

  • Accidental damage – this protects you from such things as DIY disasters or accidentally staining your new sofa

  • Legal cover – offers you legal liability protection in certain circumstances such as being sued by someone who was injured in your property

  • Home emergency – cover for temporary repairs due to domestic emergency

  • Personal possessions - covers items you might take with you outside your home such as your phone or laptop

  • New for old - claims paid on a new-for-old basis

  • Alternative accommodation - provides emergency temporary alternative housing

  • Locks and keys - covers lost/stolen keys or damaged locks


What happens if I'm under-insured?

If for instance, your house is damaged by a storm and the cost of rebuilding it is £160,000, but your insurance is set to £150,000, this would mean you're under-insured.

So your insurer will only cover £150,000 for the rebuild and you'll have to make up the shortfall of £10,000.

The same applies when insuring your contents and valuables. Say your laptop is stolen when you're out and about, and you haven't taken out personal possessions cover, your insurance won't cover you.

When you compare home insurance quotes it's important to read the policy details to make sure you've got the right cover for what you need. 

Read more: How to reduce your home insurance premiums


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