Why do I need buildings insurance cover?

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What is buildings insurance?

If your home is damaged by:

  • Vandalism
  • Subsidence
  • Falling trees
  • Explosions
  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • A storm

Buildings insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing your property.

Properties are also at risk from falling trees, criminal damage and natural disasters so you’re sure to want the peace of mind to know that your home is protected.

Insurance to cover the physical structure of your property

The permanent, physical structure of your property is covered by buildings insurance – the walls, windows and roof.

As well as the bricks and mortar of your property, a buildings insurance policy will also cover permanent structures within your home such as fitted kitchens and bathrooms. It can also cover structures in the garden such as sheds and summer houses if you wish, plus extensions to the property, conservatories and garages.

It is important that you read the small print for each buildings insurance provider to discover exactly what is covered in a policy.

If you live in a flat and the freeholder is responsible for buildings insurance, you can take out contents insurance to cover your possessions and accidental damage cover to protect you against damage and breakages at home.

There is usually the option to add extra cover to your policy if you need it, but you will need to pay an additional premium. Legal expenses cover and accidental damage are some popular added extras, whilst landlords in particular might want to add accidental damage cover to their landlord contents insurance.

What will normally be excluded from buildings insurance?

There are a few things which are normally excluded from buildings insurance:

  • General wear and tear
  • Acts of war
  • Acts of terrorism

If your home is unoccupied for more than 30 days (opt for specialist unoccupied property insurance if this is the case)

Is buildings insurance compulsory?

It’s not compulsory to take out buildings insurance, but it is highly advisable and it is unusual not to have it. Mortgage lenders will most likely insist that you have adequate insurance. When buying a property make sure that you have buildings insurance set up when you exchange contracts.

How much buildings insurance do I need?

You need to make sure that you have enough insurance in place to cover the cost of rebuilding your home if you need to.

The cost of rebuilding your house is usually lower than the price you paid for it or the current market value. If you have just bought your home, the rebuild cost should be on the mortgage valuation. If you are renting the property, this will be the landlord’s responsibility.

It is vital to get an accurate rebuild cost figure as if it’s too high, you will end up paying out too much money unnecessarily. If the rebuild figure is too low, then you could end up with a large bill to pay if anything happens to your property.

What is unlimited buildings insurance cover?

Unlimited buildings insurance cover will pay out whatever the cost – but this might end up being more expensive. It is also wise to check that the figure the insurer has noted for the rebuild cost is accurate.

It is advisable to frequently check to the rebuild cost of your home to make sure the price is still correct. Any extensions or renovations you have made to your property will also change the rebuild cost.

Rebuild costs can be difficult to calculate for listed period properties, properties with English Heritage blue plaques and special or unusual dwellings, so you may need to ask a surveyor for a professional opinion to make sure that you are not left out of pocket.