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Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance protects you against the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it is damaged or destroyed. It covers:

  • the structure of your home (the roof, walls and windows)
  • any permanent fixtures and fittings such as fitted kitchen units and bathroom suites

Do I need buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is not required by law, but most mortgage providers will insist that you take out a policy before they give you a loan.

Even if you own your home outright you should still consider buildings insurance to cover you against the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if is damaged or destroyed.

If you live in a rented property buildings insurance is your landlord's responsibility, but you may want to take out contents insurance to protect your possessions.  

Most building insurance policies cover damage to your home resulting from:

  • burst pipes (escape of water)
  • falling trees
  • fire
  • flood 
  • riots
  • storm
  • subsidence
  • theft  

Building insurance does not cover any of your home's contents – for this you need contents insurance.

When you apply for a home insurance policy your insurer will ask the value of your home. You should always insure your home against the cost of rebuilding it, not its sale price or current market value.

What it covers

If your home is damaged or destroyed your buildings insurancewill cover the cost of:

  • repairing the building’s structure, including plasterwork and flooring
  • replacing fitted kitchens and bathroom suites
  • drying out the property in the case of flooding or escape of water
  • alternative accommodation if your home is uninhabitable while repairs are being carried out
  • rebuilding the entire property if it is completely destroyed

Specialist buildings insurance 

Some buildings are not covered by standard home insurance and may require specialist policies. Speak to an insurance broker [link to glossary item] through the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA) for advice on the best cover for you if: 

  • your home is made from non-standard materials, for example if it has a timber frame or a thatched roof
  • your home has specialist architectural features 
  • your home is unoccupied for more than 30 days a year, for example if it is a holiday home
  • you live on a farm
  • you are building your own home
  • you live in a listed building

Policy exclusions

Most building insurance policies will not cover you for:

  • general wear and tear (everyday things that happen to your property over time such as carpets wearing thin)
  • acts of war or terrorism