Home insurance explained

Tuesday 27 June, 2023

This year sees new rules from insurers that could bring you savings on your home insurance renewal.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that insurers will have to offer the same deals to new customers and renewing customers for their home insurance.

Home insurance customers are particularly affected by hikes in renewals, so this is a good time to review your policy with your financial adviser.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the building itself and its structure – like the roof, floors, windows and in some cases external walls and garages. It will also cover permanent fittings in your kitchen and bathroom (but not your boiler – you’ll need specific boiler protection for that).

Mortgage lenders require homeowners to have buildings insurance in place. It’s there to protect your property’s structure from damaging events like fires, storms, earthquakes, flooding and natural disasters, as well as things like subsidence and even malicious damage or vandalism.

What does buildings insurance not cover?

Buildings insurance won’t cover:

  • Accidents or normal wear and tear in the home
  • Issues arising from neglect of the property
  • Damage to gates, fencing or plants
  • Effects of frost to external pipes and brickwork
  • Damage from pests, insects or birds

To cover some of these issues, your insurance provider may offer accidental coverage as an extra to your policy – but you’ll pay more for it. Your adviser can help you decide whether the cost of accidental damage cover is worth it in terms of what the policy actually includes.

It’s worth noting that buildings insurance coverage is invalidated if the property is left unattended for more than 30 consecutive days.

What does contents insurance cover?

In a home insurance policy, the contents coverage allows you to select a sum of money (for example  £10,000) that you estimate will cover the replacement of contents inside your home if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen.

These items could include electronics and entertainment consoles, kitchenware, furniture, antiques, gym equipment and jewellery. If you have a particularly expensive single item (like a piece of jewellery, a watch or a painting) you may have to declare it separately, depending on your provider’s conditions of coverage. This could increase your insurance premium, however. We can help you assess your contents and what your level of coverage should be.

Do you need contents coverage?

Although contents coverage is not compulsory when you own a property, most owners take out some cover (and most providers offer a discounted premium if you have buildings and contents insurance together). Having both means if you need to make a claim for something that affected the building but also some of  your contents (for example, flooding damage to your home’s foundation and soft furnishings) you would be able to claim for both – using the same policy.

Even if you are renting a property, some contents cover is a good idea to insure your valuable items and provide peace of mind should anything happen.

Home insurance – How we can help you save

Ellie Newman, your Thomas Oliver home insurance adviser, can search the market and find a home insurance policy that covers your property’s structure sufficiently, along with giving you the best advice on how much contents cover you really need. Ellie is here to make sure you’re not overpaying for a renewal and will examine your existing plan’s small print to check that it properly covers at-risk areas of your home and meets your needs.

Ellie can help review your home insurance – especially when it’s time to renewal – and help ensure you’re not overpaying for your policy. Call 01707 872 000 for a review of your home insurance. 

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