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Here are some frequently asked questions about home insurance. Have a different question? Contact us today.
What is home insurance?
Home insurance is an insurance policy that protects your property and belongings. You can buy buildings insurance and contents insurance separately, or you can buy the two together as a combined buildings and contents insurance policy.
Is home insurance required?
Home insurance is not a legal requirement, however your mortgage lender will insist you have a buildings insurance policy as this covers the cost of a complete rebuild of your home if the worst was to happen.
Should I auto-renew my home insurance?
Insurers tend to offer their best deals to new customers only, so you should always shop around for a new quote each year to save money.
How can I save money on my home insurance?
There are ways to reduce the cost of your home insurance – our money-saving tips will tell you how.
Buying a joint buildings and contents insurance policy is normally cheaper than buying the two separately, and shopping around for the cheapest home insurance on a site such as ShieldWise will help you compare the right deal for you.
To get a cheaper deal, you could consider upping your home security, increasing your excess and paying annually rather than monthly for your home insurance. It’s also worth building up your no claims bonus and insurers will usually offer a no claims discount if you’ve gone several years without a claim.
What does home insurance cover?
Home insurance protects your property’s structure and contents against loss, theft, or damage caused by flooding, fire, storms, subsidence, and escaped water.
This means that, depending on the details of your policy, you’ll be able to claim repair or replacement costs for structural damage to your home, furnishing, fixtures, electrical goods, and other items in your home, alongside the potential cost of rebuilding your property.
Does home insurance cover accidental damage or breakdown?
Home emergency cover, which typically covers events such as a boiler breaking down, blocked drains or electrical failure, can be included in home insurance policies, sold as an extra feature, or sold separately. Check what you’re buying so you don’t duplicate cover.
Accidental damage isn’t always included, so it’s worth checking your policy. If not, most insurers will let you add this on for a small fee. Accidental damage can come in particularly handy if you have young children, but it does not often cover damage caused by pets.
Does home insurance cover gardens?
Standard buildings and contents insurance policy will generally include a certain amount of cover for garden items or the garden itself, such as patios, fences or sheds.
It’s worth checking with your insurer about any caps on the amount of cover for your garden as this may be low, and if there are exclusions, such as if belongings are not securely in a shed or garage. Your garden may also not be covered in the event of storm damage, as your building might be.
You can take out specialist garden insurance if you have expensive items in your garden and you would like to protect them.
Do I need to tell my insurer if I make changes to my property?
If you alter the structure of your home, such as getting an extension built, adding a conservatory, or buying an expensive item, you will need to inform your insurer.
Do landlords or tenants need home insurance?
Tenants don’t need building insurance – that’s the landlord’s responsibility – but it’s a good idea for them to buy contents cover.
Landlords should buy landlord insurance for their properties as opposed to standard buildings or contents cover.
How much do I need to insure my home for?
Your building needs to be insured for its total rebuild cost – how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it was totally destroyed.
It’s important you don’t overpay on your insurance by insuring for the rebuild cost rather than the market value of your property. The rebuild cost is usually lower as the market value as this will account for the local area as well as the property itself, such as proximity to public transport and schools, and the crime rate in the area.
If you have recently bought your home the rebuild cost will be on your mortgage valuation or survey.