Protecting yourself with Property Insurance

Depending on the statistical source, the average value of a home in the UK is now anywhere between £170,000 and £250,000, and the average home’s contents is worth around £50,000.

That all adds up to a big investment to risk losing if you haven’t any insurance.

Property insurance, or home insurance as it’s commonly called, is available to make sure you’re financially covered for the sort of events which happen somewhere in the UK every day.

Whether your property is damaged by floods, storms or fire, suffers from subsidence or drainage problems and burst pipes, or your possessions are stolen while you’re out, a home cover policy should ensure that you can return to your previous financial position with little, if no cost, to yourself.

What is property insurance?

There are two main cover elements which make up property insurance:

  • Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers everything in your home that is fixed and permanent:

What it protects you for – Essentially, buildings cover is there to financially protect you if the structure of your home is damaged, or even totally destroyed by such events as fires, floods and storms. You’re also protected from the likes of subsidence, tree damage, drainage problems, malicious acts and collision.

Level of cover – The maximum level of cover you need should be based on the amount it would cost to totally re-build your home from scratch (i.e. the associated building, architectural and legal costs), not how much you’d get for it if it was sold.

Outbuildings and external structures – The better buildings policies also include cover for outbuildings, such as garden offices, garages, sheds and greenhouses as well as fountains, patios and garden walls.

  • Contents insurance

With Sainsbury’s bank putting the cost of replacing the average home’s contents at around £55,000, it’s certainly a good idea to insure your possessions with contents insurance.

Whether you rent or own the home you live in, you should cover what can take a life time to build up against loss, theft or damage.

What constitutes ‘contents’ – Contents cover is there to protect all the things you would take with you if you moved home, from TVs, furniture, computers and clothing, to moveable fixtures and fittings such as carpets, white goods, curtain poles and free-standing kitchen units.

What events does it cover – It financially protects the contents of your home from the effects of such events as burglary, fire, burst pipes, storm damage and flooding.

What you need to ask yourself – It might be tempting to think you don’t need contents cover, but ask yourself if you could afford to replace the complete contents of your home after a fire or flood had totally destroyed it?

Additional protection you might need to add

Most half-decent home insurance policies include those elements described above as standard.

However, depending on your needs and circumstances, you may want to buy additional cover in the form of ‘add ons’ which don’t come as standard with most policies. These might include:

  • Away from home cover
  • Accidental damage cover
  • Legal insurance
  • Home emergency cover
  • Key and lock cover
  • Extra cover for specific highly valuable items

Best ways to buy home insurance

Both buildings insurance and contents insurance can be bought either as totally separate policies. However, the most cost-effective option is nearly always to buy them in one home cover policy.

Make sure you get plenty of like-for-like home insurance quotes from comparison sites and insurance brokers. Remember that brokers often have access to deals you can’t find on aggregator sites, and can help ensure you’re correctly insured and understand the jargon involved.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.