The average home insurance policy covers the basic requirements of financially protecting your possessions and property from loss, theft and damage.
But when you’re buying an insurance policy for a building and its contents, there are also usually optional ‘extras’ on offer which you can choose to add. Such extras may increase the cost (although often not by a great deal), but could potentially save you from a world of financial pain.
Bear in mind that they may or may not be appropriate to your situation, and you don’t have to add any if you don’t think you actually need them.
Here are the potentially most useful optional extras:
Accidental damage cover
Adding accidental damage cover to a policy means your insured against damage which is your fault, or caused by friends, family and neighbours.
The sorts of accidents accidental damage covers you for would typically include an overflowing bath, a ball kicked against a window or reversing into a garage door.
It can prove especially useful if you have children or pets, but carefully check exclusions as some cover is far more comprehensive than others, depending on the insurer and policy. You would pay between £80 and £120 a year on top of standard home insurance costs for accidental damage cover.
Away from home cover
If you want your possessions to be covered when you take them with you away from your home, the chances are you’ll have to add ‘away from home’ cover, although more expensive policies may include it as standard.
Losing an iPad or having a laptop, jewellery or handbag stolen can prove costly, and making sure you’re covered if you’re out and about is, arguably, a very good idea for most people.
Away from home cover would usually add around £60 to £80 a year to your premiums.
Legal expenses cover
Legal expenses cover is available to provide financial assistance if you get involved in a dispute and need to pay legal costs and possibly go to court.
When added to home insurance, the sorts of things it is designed to help you with are breach of contract for goods and services (such as shoddy building work), employment disputes, disputes with neighbours such as those concerning property boundaries, and personal injury claims.
Bear in mind that most legal expenses cover doesn’t include marital, medical or moving home disputes.
It’s usually relatively cheap, often costing only £20 to £30 extra each year.
Home emergency cover
The sorts of emergencies many homes can suffer, such as burst pipes or broken down heating systems in the middle of winter aren’t usually covered by standard buildings and contents policies.
Adding home emergency cover means you can get relatively instant assistance to put things right; 24-hour, year-round helplines are on offer and the cover usually pays for emergency repairs including call out charges, parts and labour (up to a maximum fixed sum).
Check carefully for exclusions as policies vary considerably on rules regarding claim limits, boilers and central heating systems, hours of labour, parts cover, number of claims and what constitutes an ‘emergency’.
Home emergency cover starts at around only £50 a year, but at that price level it won’t be very comprehensive. Good cover costs closer to £150 a year and more.
Other additional add-ons and extras
Additional add-ons and extras that are available but which often come as standard with many policies, or are a less serious consideration for most people, include; additional cover for bicycles, sports equipment, gardens, students, lodgers, gadgets, working from home and identity theft.