Home insurance FAQs

Have you got a question before taking out a Home Insurance policy? You have come to the right place.

We have collated some of the most frequently asked questions by Home Insurance customers that will hopefully give you answers. If your question isn’t on the list or you want to know more information then please do contact us.

Alternatively, please see our special Home Insurance Jargon Buster for more information.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance, in general, is divided into 3 types of policy: Buildings insurance, Contents insurance and combined Building and Contents insurance. Home insurance is cover that protects your home and belongings, just like how you would insure your car, life or income. It protects your home against things like fire, flooding, burglary, accidental damage, and that is just to start with.

Buildings insurance simply protects the structure of your property. An example of this would be if tiles blew off your roof in high winds, or if your property was damaged in a fire. Your insurance would cover the repair and damage, including any costs to rebuild your home.

Contents insurance is cover for your belongings within your property if they were damaged or if you were a victim of burglary, for example, you can also get cover for your belongings away from your home if they were stolen or damaged. Items such as TVs, computers, gadgets, carpets and curtains, as well as all other fixtures and fittings could get easily damaged, and the cost to repair or replace such items could be expensive.

Is it essential that I have home insurance?

There is no rule or law saying that you must have buildings or contents insurance, however, could you afford not to have it? If you are a homeowner, most mortgage companies will insist you have at least buildings insurance in place to protect the building that they have a secured interest in. In some cases, if you are a tenant of a property, your landlord will most likely have buildings insurance, meaning that you don’t have to take out such cover, but you may want to consider contents insurance to protect your belongings as the landlord or owner of that property will not have cover for you.

What is accidental damage cover and do I need it?

Many insurers can differ with their explanation of accidental damage but a straightforward definition is an unintended incident that damages your property or the contents. You spill your glass of red wine on your cream carpet, or you damage a pipe or wire whilst hanging the new family portrait on the wall. All of these unforeseen circumstances could be costly to repair or replace, but with accidental damage cover, your insurance policy could cover that cost for you.

Of course, it is an optional extra on your insurance policy so there is nothing saying you have to have it, however, accidents can happen when you least expect them so financially, you may want to have peace of mind that it can be covered for you. Insurance companies may offer different exclusions and inclusions for accidental damage so it is always best to check the small print to ensure you are getting the cover you need

What should I include under my contents insurance?

Before rounding up to the nearest thousand for all of your belongings, you want to sit down and really think about what you have and a rough value to each item. Overestimate and you could find yourself paying a higher premium. Underestimate and you could find yourself with a shortfall if you ever needed to make a claim. It is worth taking your time and going through each room in your house, tallying up how much items would be worth as well as making a note of what you have. Don’t forget to also include the contents of any out-buildings such as sheds and garages.

Should my mortgage provider supply my buildings cover?

Unless it is a specific requirement of your mortgage agreement, then no, you don’t have to take your insurance out with your provider. It is always best to shop around for things like home insurance, as it is a possibility that your mortgage provider will not be competitive with your quote.

Will increasing my excess make my premiums cheaper?

Home insurance policies have an excess, the amount you have to pay when a claim is made, just like car insurance. They will have a compulsory excess as well as the option to have a voluntary excess on top. By having a higher voluntary excess means you could make your policy cheaper, but don’t forget, setting it too high just to save yourself some pennies could result in you not being able to afford the excess if you make a claim.

Can I get cover if my pet’s cause damage?

As a general rule, most home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by pets. For a list of full exclusions see your policy documents.

Would changes in my circumstances affect my home insurance policy?

You will need to notify your insurer of any changes that you may make to your property and/or the contents of your property which may impact on your premiums and cover required. However, not all changes you make to your property will potentially increase your premiums. An example would beupdating the security to your property by installing a burglar alarm or better lock. This will make the property more secure and a lower risk of burglary.

I am going away for 3 months leaving my house unoccupied. Should I tell my insurer?

Yes. Your insurer will want to know if you are planning to leave your property unoccupied for a certain period of time. An unoccupied property, in insurer’s eyes, can be seen as high risk. More exposed to possible burglaries if nobody is home, or if the property had an undetected problem which then would worsen the longer it was left, eg a burst pipe, all makes this potential for higher premiums.

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