Buildings Insurance Guide

Get a deeper understanding of buildings insurance

There’s a lot to consider when buying a property, with buildings insurance usually being a key thing which needs to be in place before you buy. While we’ve covered the basics on buildings insurance, there’s additional information below to help answer additional questions you might have.

Who needs buildings insurance?

 

For homeowners who’re taking out a mortgage to purchase their home, your lender might insist that you have buildings insurance cover as a condition for your mortgage. However, you won’t need to take out buildings insurance through your mortgage provider (unless it’s part of a mortgage package), allowing you to shop around for the best deal on buildings insurance policies.

For homeowners who’re buying their home outright without a mortgage, there is no law which requires you to have buildings insurance. But, by choosing to go without a policy, you would take on all the burden yourself if something were to happen to your house. All the cost for repairing or rebuilding your home would have to be handled yourself, so practically all homeowners take out some form of buildings insurance policy to protect their property.

If you’re a landlord then you can get buildings insurance as part of a landlord insurance policy that covers you for damage to your building caused by tenants.

If you’re renting a property as a tenant, you will only need content insurance to cover your belongings, as the building is typically covered by the landlord, but it’s worth checking your tenancy agreement to ensure this is the case.

How much buildings insurance cover do I need for my home?

 

The amount of cover you’ll need for your buildings insurance, known as the sum insured, should be enough for you to fully rebuild your home if it were completely destroyed. It’s important to note that rebuild cost is not the same as your property’s market value. If you underestimate the rebuild cost of your home, it is likely that your insurance won’t be able to cover the full cost and you can be left out of pocket.

You can work out how to calculate the cost of rebuilding your home using the free calculator provided by Buildings Cost Information Service (BCIS), or you can let a provider work out how much your property rebuild cost would be using their formula which looks at the size, location and age of your property.

If you have a ‘non-standard home’ – a property which has specific, unique features which fall outside of what would be considered a standard home – you can ask a surveyor to assess your property and give you a more accurate idea of how much cover you’ll need due to the specialist materials or skills required to rebuild your property.

Should I get buildings insurance and contents insurance together?

 

One way that homeowners can reduce the cost of home insurance is by combining their buildings and contents insurance policies. This is because buying both policies from one provider as a single combined policy is a way of incentivising buying insurance from a sole provider.

It can also help you when it comes to making a claim, as your buildings and contents insurance claim can go to one provider instead of two and can minimise disputes later down the line.

Are garden walls covered by buildings insurance?

 

Most standard buildings insurance policies cover your garden within the permanent features of your home, meaning that things like fencing, gates and garden walls would be covered for accidental damage. This would include damage from falling trees and severe weather, so you could recover the cost of having them repaired.

One question that gets asked a lot is who is the best provider of buildings insurance – which is an incredibly difficult question to answer. Who’s the best depends on what kind of buildings insurance policy you’re looking for, whether that’s the one that has the widest type of cover or the cheapest buildings insurance premiums.

The best way to find the buildings insurance suited to your needs is to do a proper price comparison based on what you want your policy to include. All you need to do is answer a few questions and you’ll be able to see the policies which meet your requirements best.

Top Home Insurance FAQs:

Do I need Home Insurance?

Neither buildings insurance nor contents insurance are actually legally required so, technically, no you don’t need them. However, some mortgage providers will require you to have at least buildings insurance before lending you money to make sure that their loan is protected and, without home insurance, you run the risk of being responsible for the full cost of any repairs your home needs after a serious incident like a fire.

Especially if you own your home, getting home insurance is a sensible decision to make sure you’re not caught out unprotected in the event of a disaster.

Is theft covered by Home Insurance?

This will vary from provider to provider but, generally, theft of your belongings will be covered by contents insurance. Following the general rule that contents insurance is to cover your possessions while buildings insurance insures you for damage to the structure of your home, standalone buildings insurance typically won’t include coverage for theft.

What does accidental damage mean?

Again, the definition of accidental damage varies depending on who you choose to take a home insurance policy with. In most cases, however, accidental damage cover will protect you against damage that’s caused suddenly by non-deliberate actions. This could include knocking over a glass of wine and ruining your carpet, drilling into your wall and hitting a pipe, or even a toddler bumping into your TV and causing it to topple and break.

Will I need a credit check?

If you choose to pay for your home insurance policy in monthly instalments over the course of the year, it’s likely that a credit check will be necessary to make sure you can pay the full sum back. This will usually be a soft credit check, however, which won’t leave a record on your credit history. When you buy annually, credit checks generally aren’t required.