What is buildings insurance?
Buildings insurance covers the cost to repair damage to or rebuild the structure of your home. This includes its windows, walls roof, outbuildings, and fitted kitchens and bathrooms. It provides cover for damage caused by events like fires, storms and floods.
Buildings insurance does not cover the items inside your house, like furniture, carpets, clothes, electronics and personal items. You'll need contents insurance to insure these. Limits, terms and exclusions apply to all buildings insurance. Check yours to find out what is and isn't covered.
How does buildings insurance work?
When you get buildings insurance, you insure the structure of your home against damage from an insured event. You’ll also be insuring the property for the full cost of rebuilding it from the ground up.
Buildings insurance works in two main ways:
Specific sum insured buildings insurance
This is where you are insured for a specific amount, usually how much it would cost to completely rebuild your property.
This includes all the work needed to clear the space and start again from scratch. You’ll need to know this figure when sorting out your policy. It is vital that you are insured for the right amount, or you could be left underinsured. If you are insured for less than it costs to repair or rebuild your home, you’ll have to pay more towards the work.
Unlimited sum insured buildings insurance
This is where the amount you can claim on your buildings insurance isn’t capped at a certain amount. This means you don’t need to know how much it would cost to rebuild it.
Don’t worry, having an unlimited sum insured policy doesn’t mean you’ll pay more than you need to. Your insurer will use what you’d told them about your home to decide how much to charge. This includes factors like your address, what type of property you live in and how many bedrooms you have.
Whichever cover you choose, you’ll pay a cost to your insurer, called a premium. You can do this monthly or once every year.
How to claim on buildings insurance
To make your claim, you may need to:
- Make a list of the damage.
- Take pictures of the damage.
- Keep the damaged items if you can.
- Explain to your insurer what happened.
- Provide copies of receipts for damaged items, if you have them.
If your claim is accepted, your insurer will pay the costs of repairing the damage, replacing items or rebuilding the property. The amount they pay will depend on your excess and policy limits. Don't start work or pay any tradespeople for repairs until you've spoken to your insurer.
What does buildings insurance cover?
Buildings insurance covers the cost to repair damage to the structure of your home. It covers fixtures and fittings, walls, windows, doors and the roof.
Buildings insurance usually includes:
- Somewhere to stay. Pays for the cost of a temporary place to stay if your home is unfit to live in due to a claim.
- Accidental damage to underground pipes and drains. Protects against the cost of repairing pipes and drains that you're responsible for if they've been accidentally damaged.
- Home owner's liability. Covers the costs involved from your breach of your legal responsibility as a home owner. For example, this could be a claim made against you by a visitor who is injured while at your home.
What isn’t covered by buildings insurance?
There are some things that your buildings insurance will not cover. These include:
- Wear and tear. Damage that happens slowly over time, like damp, condensation or rust.
- Gates and fences. Storm damage to gates, fences and hedges is usually not covered.
- Insects, birds and pests. You may not be able to claim for damage done by pests or the cost to get them removed.
Do I need buildings insurance?
If you have a mortgage, you will need buildings insurance. Mortgage providers require you to have buildings insurance that covers the total value of your mortgage.
If you are a renter, you won’t need to buy buildings insurance. Instead, your landlord should arrange cover for your home. You can protect against the cost of damage to the things you own with renters or contents insurance.
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Buildings insurance: FAQs
Does buildings insurance cover subsidence?
Yes. Buildings insurance policies will cover subsidence. Check your policy documents for full details on what you are covered for.
Do you need building insurance on a new build?
Yes. If you buy a new build property you will still need buildings insurance. This will cover your new home if it is damaged or destroyed by things like fire, floods or storms.
Are conservatories covered by buildings insurance?
Yes. If you have a conservatory it will be covered by your buildings insurance. If you plan to build a new conservatory, you will need to let your insurer know to make sure you are covered.