Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the structure of your property - such as the walls, floors, and ceilings - as well as any fixtures and fittings, like kitchen cupboards and bathroom suites. Permanent features like drains, cables, pipes and plumbing systems are also covered.
Policies can also protect structures you have outside, for example, sheds, garages, fences, swimming pools and tennis courts.
You can buy buildings insurance on its own or with contents cover as part of a combined home insurance policy.
Policies vary by insurer so it’s vital to check exactly what is and isn’t covered to avoid costly misunderstandings further down the line. Typically, you can expect your buildings insurance to cover events (known as ‘perils’) such as:
If you want even greater protection, you’ll be able to bolt on extra features for a small increase in your premium. Popular additions include:
Buildings insurance is not something you need by law, so you’re not obliged to buy a policy if you own your home outright – but, if you don’t have insurance, you’d have to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home, yourself.
If you have a mortgage, your lender could insist you have buildings cover and may also make it a condition of the loan.
If you do need a policy as part of your mortgage agreement, it’s good to know that you don’t have to buy it from your lender (unless you’ve bought a mortgage package that includes it).
If you’re a landlord, you can buy buildings cover as part of your landlord policy. On the other hand, if you’re a tenant, you will usually only need cover for your contents.
This is because the landlord is generally responsible for insuring the property itself (but always check this in the terms of your tenancy agreement, just in case).
The amount of cover you need, is known as the sum insured and it should be enough to rebuild your home if it was completely destroyed. It’s important to know that the rebuild cost is not the same as the market value.
If you’re not sure how to work out the rebuild cost of your home – don’t worry, most insurers work to a formula based on the number of rooms you have, where you live and how old your home is. If you want a more accurate figure, the Buildings Cost Information Service (BCIS) has a free calculator that you can use.
If you live in what’s known as a ‘non-standard’ home - for example, if it’s listed, has a thatched roof, timber frame or is a modular or pre-fab building - it could be worth asking a surveyor to assess your property. A surveyor will be able to give you a much better idea of how much cover you’ll need based on the unique features of your home.
Because non-standard homes are more likely to need specialist materials and skills to carry out repairs or rebuilding work, they often cost more to insure. While it might be tempting not to tell an insurer that your home is non-standard, not telling them could invalidate your policy – which means they can refuse to pay out should you need to claim.
It’s vital to have the right protection for your home but that doesn’t mean you should pay over the odds for it. With that in mind, there are several ways to lower the cost of cover without compromising on peace of mind – consider:
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to find a buildings insurance policy is to compare what’s available, which you can do right here at Asda Money.
Simply answer a few questions about your home and we’ll show you a range of quotes for you to choose from.
Call the team on 0330 0224116