Getting the right home insurance

Published by Hannah Ricci on 14 December 2007.
Last updated on 25 August 2011

House in chains

Buildings insurance

This will cover both the structure of your property and its permanent fixtures and fittings such as baths and toilets, fitted kitchens, bedroom cupboards and interior decorations.

It will also insure against events that damage your home, such as lightning or an earthquake, subsidence, storms and falling trees and branches.

Contents insurance

This will cover the damage or loss of the possessions in your home that you would normally take with you if you moved. You can also include cover for accidental damage and items used outside your home, such as a camera, mp3 player or laptop, but this will increase the cost. You don't have to buy buildings and contents insurance from the same provider and it's worth getting a few quotes to find the best deal.

How much cover do I need?

The sum assured is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out in the event of a claim. The Association of British Insurers says it is your responsibility to ensure that the sum insured meets the full cost of rebuilding your property and replacing the contents inside. Underinsurance could mean that your claim is reduced or rejected altogether.

Small print

Policies exclude certain risks and possessions and these will be explained in the policy document. It's crucial you read and understand them to avoid being stung when you come to claim. Common exclusions include if you let your home or if it is unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days.

Check your cover

Review your policy regularly to ensure it still meets your needs. If you've recently made some big purchases, make sure you're not underinsured. Increasing the amount of cover will usually result in higher premiums, so whenever you come to renew, always shop around for the best deal.

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