What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance should cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged because of an event it’s been insured for – such as fire, flood or storm damage. Many policies will include cover for damage caused by burst pipes, leaks or electrical fires, as well as cover for outside structures, such as fences, garages and sheds (but there may be limitations placed on this).

Do I need buildings insurance?

If you’re a homeowner with a mortgage, your lender will usually insist that you have adequate buildings cover for the term of your mortgage – that is, while the mortgage company has an interest in the property. You’ll typically be required to have buildings insurance in place on the date you exchange contracts, as this is when you become legally responsible for the property.

If you don’t have a mortgage, there’s no legal requirement to have buildings insurance, but do remember that repairs to your home can be very expensive. Taking out a buildings insurance policy could save you money in the long run and might give you peace of mind too.

If you share a freehold, then make sure you mention this to your insurance provider. Buildings cover for shared freeholds can be slightly different to insurance for individual properties.

If you’re renting, then it’s your landlord’s responsibility to have buildings insurance in place – the only thing you need to worry about as a tenant is your own contents insurance.

What’s the difference between buildings and contents insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home – the roof, walls, ceilings, floor, doors and windows – as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings, such as your kitchen or bathroom. It also covers pipes, cables and drains that belong to your house.

Depending on the level of contents insurance you purchase, it could compensate you for loss or damage to your possessions, such as jewellery, furniture and white goods (your fridge, for example).

Insurance providers often bundle together buildings and contents insurance under the generic term ‘home insurance’. It can often be more economical, and less hassle, to buy the two together.

Do I need any documents to get a buildings insurance quote?

No, you’ll just need to know basic information, such as the type of property you live in, how many rooms it has and how much it’s worth. You’ll also need to know how much it might cost if you had to rebuild your home.

How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my home?

The rebuild value is the amount it would cost to rebuild your home at the same location should it be completely destroyed by fire, flood or any other disaster (it’s not the same as the market value). If you underestimate the rebuild value and your home is completely destroyed, then your insurance may not cover the full costs.

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