What are the different types of homeowner insurance?

Most mortgages require that you take out home insurance, and even if you are mortgage free it’s always high advisable. But what are the different types of homeowners insurance available?

Your building

The ‘building’ part of your home insurance covers the structure of your house, as well as the permanent fixtures within it, such as your kitchen and bathroom. Typically building’s insurance covers you against damage caused by such things as fire, flood and theft. Often your insurance will include structures outside of your home such as garden walls (not fences), garages, green houses and sheds. However, be sure to check the details of your particular policy before you sign anything, so you are certain what’s included. If you own a leasehold property, be sure to check that the freeholder has building’s insurance in place.

Building insurance typically includes the rebuild costs of your home, if you’ve had a survey recently; this will usually include the estimated rebuild costs, or for a reasonable fee you could ask a chartered surveyor to calculate the costs for you. Alternatively, there are online tools you can use to help calculate the rebuild cost otherwise look out for insurance policies that come with “unlimited” rebuild costs. The size, age and type of property you have will impact on the rebuild costs, so ensure you have insurance that is comprehensive enough to cover your property. Remember, if you’ve made any changes to your property in the last year, you may need to increase your rebuild cover.

Specialist insurance

Remember if you own a listed building, live in a conservation area, or you own a building which does not a have a standard construction, your rebuild costs could be more than usual. So, you may need to seek out more comprehensive cover or a specialist insurance policy tailored to your needs.

Listed buildings insurance

Listed buildings are beautiful, intriguing and of historical importance, so if you have a Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II listed a home, look out for a policy that caters to the specific needs of your property. Remember in listed buildings you need to have the right permissions in place before you carry out any work and you must repair things using “like for like” materials. Join The Listed Property Owners Club for advice; and also find a home insurance policy that caters to the needs of your historic home.

Non-standard construction

Also, if your home has a non-standard construction such as a timber frame or a thatched roof, you’ll probably need a specialist insurance policy, even if your property isn’t listed. Some insurers offer policies for particularly high-value homes or those with a non-standard construction.

Second home insurance

Remember if you own a second home or holiday home that’s not occupied all year round, you’ll need to take out a specialist homeowner’s policy. Buildings that stand empty for much of the year are at greater risk from burglary than those where people are in residence. Standard home owners policies only allow you to be absent for up to 30 days a year. Also, if you are renting out your second home you’ll need landlords insurance.

Your contents   

Many home insurance policies include combined buildings and contents insurance. The ‘contents’ part of your home insurance, provides cover for all of the things within your home.  If you added up the value of absolutely everything within your house from each kitchen utensil to your books, clothes, IT equipment, entertainment systems and furniture – the cost would be considerable. So ensure you have adequate contents insurance to cover all of your belongings should the need arise. It’s also wise to look out for policies that replace your home’s contents with ‘new’ rather than second-hand goods. Also, remember that some policies have very limited accidental damage cover. Your contents insurance is likely to have a limit on the value of individual items, so if you have any particularly valuable items in your home, look into insuring them separately.

At home and away

Some home insurance policies come with the option to include cover for your belongings away from home, like your mobile phone and IT equipment. So, be sure you understand the finer detail of the policy you are taking out, so you understand its limitations and reap the benefits of any additions.

Insurance add-ons

Many home owner’s insurance policies come with optional add-ons these days such as liability insurance, legal fees cover and more in-depth accidental damage cover. So consider your circumstances, what additional insurance cover do you need to provide peace of mind? Also, it’s important to understand the limitations of any add-ons you take out.

Be open with your insurer

Remember the insurance industry is based on trust, so be completely open with your prospective insurer about any problems affecting your property or the area around it. If you don’t reveal key details about your property that could later turn out to be important, you’ll risk finding that your insurance policy is invalid.

If you’re not sure which is the best insurance policy for you, then talk to an experienced advisor, contact Call Wiser today.