As a homeowner, it's vital to adequately protect your most valuable asset against damage or loss. That's where building and contents insurance comes in.
Read on to learn what it is, what it covers (and doesn't cover), and the benefits of taking out a policy.
What is building and contents insurance?
Building and contents insurance covers your home and household belongings against damage or loss.
It is possible to purchase building insurance and contents insurance as separate plans. However, it's usually cheaper to buy both together from one provider in a combined home insurance policy.
Of the two, building insurance is the most important and often a mandatory requirement when taking out a mortgage.
What does building and contents insurance cover?
In the worst-case scenario, were an accidental fire to completely destroy your home, building cover would provide the funds for the clearing and rebuilding of a brand-new property.
Contents insurance covers the cost of replacing any belongings stolen from your home, or repairing or replacing damaged items.
Building insurance typically covers:
- Fire or smoke damage
- Severe weather damage such as storms, lightning strikes, or flooding
- Burst pipes or other escaping water events
- Trees or branches falling on to the property
- Cars, planes, or animals damaging your home (exclusions apply - see 'What isn't covered' below).
- Other accidental damage.
Enhancing your cover
Optional extras can be added to the policy such as:
Pedal bikes are covered under the regular household contents policy.
However, this add-on covers the bikes you and your family ride when out and about (often worldwide), as long as they are stored or secured properly to a lampost or other immovable fixture.
Expensive item cover
You can insure individual pieces of expensive equipment like laptops or photography gear against theft. This covers you both at home and when out and about, worldwide.
Mishaps and accidents happen and can prove costly. This optional extra protects you against accidental damage. For example spilling coffee onto your music system, or dropping an expensive vase.
No-claims discount protection
This option protects your no-claims discount when you make a first claim.
Family legal protection
Also known as legal expenses cover, family legal protection provides you with 24/7 legal advice for a multitude of legal predicaments. Legal costs, typically up to £100000 per claim are also included.
Here are some common use cases:
- Legal defense if you are sued
- Employment issues, such as unfair dismissal
- Consumer rights. Legal advice and help if you've been scammed, purchased faulty goods, or not received an item.
- Home and environmental disagreements. Think of noisy neighbours, or boundary disputes.
- Personal injury. Legal representation to fight your corner if through no fault of your own, a preventable accident causes you harm or injury.
- Medical or cosmetic treatment issues – ie when the treatment you've received is sub-par or negligent.
What isn't covered?
Every building and contents insurance provider will have a list of policy exclusions. There may be slight differences between insurers, but by and large they won't cover:
- damage caused by rodents or household pets, eg to furniture through scratching, biting, or chewing.
- storm damage to property borders. Eg, hedges, fences and gates
- general wear and tear, including appliances that have stopped working properly due to age.
- damage due to poor maintenance
- deliberate damage to property or contents