What is buildings insurance?
The above scenario is extreme, but highlights why buildings insurance exists; it’s there to cover the cost of entirely re-building your home or repairing any damage to its structure.
And this isn’t just the main building. If there are outbuildings such as a garages, greenhouses or garden studios, these are also covered, as well as sheds and fences.
What you’re covered for
In insurance industry jargon, ‘fire and perils’ is the catch-all phrase for what buildings insurance covers you for.
This means that, in most policies (although they can vary), you’re largely covered for:
- Subsidence, heave and landslide
- Fire, explosions, storms and earthquakes
- Burst and frozen pipes
- Water leakage from pipes or tanks
- Oil leakage from heating installations
- Trees, streetlights and communications equipment such as aerials and satellite dishes falling on your home
- Burglary, and attempt burglary
- Malicious damage, riot and vandalism
- Impact damage caused by animals, vehicles and aircraft
Extras you may need
Most policies will cover you for the above as standard. However, extra cover you might want to consider includes:
- Public liability insurance – This covers you if you’re sued due to someone else’s property being damaged.
- Alternative accommodation – If the property becomes uninhabitable, due to flooding for example.
- Accidental damage – Many policies, perhaps surprisingly, don’t include accidental damage to underground water, gas and sewage pipes and electrical cables.
- Legal expenses cover – In the case of a dispute over damage that’s occurred, your legal costs will be met.
- Damage to boundary driveways, fences, walls, and gates etc. – Neighbouring properties can also be affected when things go wrong with yours.
- Glass cover – You may have very large, valuable quantities of glass in French windows, conservatories or glass partitions, for example.Emergency cover – For those who want the reassurance of 24 hour call out.
Who needs buildings insurance?
- Anyone with a mortgage – Buildings insurance is compulsory if you have a mortgage, and you’ll be breaking the terms of your mortgage if you don’t. The sum insured should be at least sufficient to cover the outstanding mortgage loan.
- Completing on a house purchase – You’re legally responsible for your new property’s insurance from the moment you exchange contracts, and not on completion.
- Anyone without a mortgage – You could choose not to insure the structure of your property, but, let’s face it, you’d have to be a little crazy!
- If you’re a leaseholder – In most circumstances, leaseholders will find that the freeholder of the building is responsible for insuring the building. However, check your lease as in some cases it may be part of the leasehold terms that you provide it.
- If you’re a tenant – You can breathe easy, you don’t own the building you live in so it’s not really a problem for you.
Policy Expert is an online Home Insurance broker, dedicated to helping customers find the insurance policy that’s right for them. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. Policy Expert is driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs (whether it be buildings insurance or other types of insurance that you want to compare quotes for). For more information on Buildings Insurance from Policy Expert, speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email email@example.com
James is a journalist and digital editor with over 13 years’ experience writing and editing for media and finance businesses. He specialises in personal finance and economics, but also covers property, travel and news.