Guide to Home Insurance
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Your home and its contents are likely to be the most valuable things you own, and not just in terms of money. So making sure your property is well protected is vital.
Insuring your home and the things in it
There are two types of home insurance: buildings and contents. Some companies will offer a combined policy that covers both. If you own your home, you might have both.
The cost of insurance can vary enormously, so it's important to compare the cover as well as the price to understand what you will get for your money.
Getting the right cover is important. A policy may be cheaper because it won't pay out in certain circumstances that you want to be covered for.
You should also check the excess – this is the amount you'll have to pay towards the cost of a claim. You may get a cheaper policy by agreeing to pay a higher excess, should you need to make a claim.
It's a condition of any mortgage that you have adequate buildings insurance. You may be offered building insurance from your mortgage provider, but this may not be the best policy for you, so it pays to shop around.
If your property is leasehold and you pay a management or maintenance fee, check if you are already covered for building insurance.
Buildings cover is based on what it would cost to rebuild your home, not what it is valued at. Rebuild costs are usually less than purchase prices.
If your home is damaged or destroyed by fire, flooding or subsidence, your building insurance will generally cover the cost of repairs. However, some policies may have exclusions, so check your policy to make sure you are covered, especially if you think your home may be at risk.
It should also cover damage to fixtures and fittings like windows, doors, bathrooms and kitchens, and outbuildings like sheds and garages.
Cover can vary, so check the details of the policy before you agree to anything.
There are different levels of cover, but in its most basic sense home contents should cover your belongings against damage or loss caused by fire and theft. Some policies also cover you for accidental damage or allow you to add this to your policy.
We have more and more personal gadgets in our lives these days: smartphones, tablets and laptops. These personal possessions are not always covered by contents insurance, and if they are, they may only be covered while inside the home. You might want to look for a policy that covers personal possessions outside of the home as well.
New for old cover. This means that if something is lost, stolen or damaged beyond repair, they will offer you a brand new replacement, regardless of how old the item you're claiming for was.
If you work from home your contents insurance may not cover you if your office equipment is damaged or stolen. Some policies will cover this, but you might want to compare policies with a specialist business insurer.
Check the excess. Cheap policies may end up costing you much more if you need to make a claim.
Top tip - Look for the E's.
That's the excess (how much you have to pay towards any claim) and the exclusions (things you won't be able to claim for).