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Home insurance

What is home insurance? 

Home insurance tends to fall into two categories:

  • Buildings Insurance – Covers the structure of your home and any permanent fixtures and fittings, such as fitted kitchen units and bathroom suites, if they are damaged or destroyed.
  • Contents Insurance – Covers the cost of replacing or repairing your possessions if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. 

You can buy buildings and contents insurance separately or as a combined policy. Combined policies often include a discount for buying together and it can help make life easier if you have to claim.  

Buildings and Contents policies also usually cover some of your personal legal liabilities, for example if a visitor injures themselves on your property and you are found to be legally liable for their injury. Your contents policy may also provide personal liability cover for you and members of your household when away from the home. Your policy may also cover items such as mobile phones, laptops and jewellery away from the home as standard or as an add-on.  Check your policy to see what’s covered, or speak to your insurer.

Home insurance covers you against damage caused by a variety of perils, such as: 

What type of property insurance do you need? 

If you are a mortgage holder:

    • If you have a mortgage most providers will insist you take out buildings insurance as part of the conditions of your loan. Find out more about what insurance you need for your mortgage here.

If you own your property outright:

    • Even if you have already paid for your home you should still consider buildings insurance to protect against the cost of repairs or rebuilding. 
    • If you are a leaseholder, your freeholder will generally be responsible for purchasing buildings insurance. If you live in a leasehold block, then the buildings insurance may be organised through a managing agent. Leaseholders will pay via service charge. However, it is best to check the terms in your lease in order to clearly understand what your responsibilities are. If you are a leaseholder, you should still make sure you have the correct contents insurance in place to protect your belongings.
    • If you own the freehold, then generally you will have the responsibility for purchasing buildings insurance cover.  

If you are a tenant/rent your property:

    • If you have a rented property, buildings insurance is your landlord’s responsibility., however contents insurance for your own possessions will be your responsibility. Find out more about buying the right contents insurance here.

If you are a student:

    • If you are a student, it may be possible for your parents’ home insurance policy to be extended to cover possessions at university, or, there may be an insurance cover already in place in student halls. Find out more about what insurance students might need here.

More information 

For more information on buying home insurance see the ABI’s Home Insurance: What you need to know booklet 

See the ABI’s tips on how to cut the cost of your home insurance premium while still ensuring you are adequately covered.  

Contact your home insurance provider as soon as possible if your home or possessions are damaged or destroyed and you need to make a claim. Most insurers run 24-hour claims helplines – you should make a note of this number and keep it somewhere safe.