Home Insurance What's Covered?Most people will have some kind of home insurance cover, whether it’s contents insurance, building insurance, or both. Many first time homebuyers will be offered insurance along with their mortgage, but in many cases this is not compulsory and a cheaper option and one that meets all your needs may be available elsewhere-so shop around.

Before buying home insurance have an idea of the type of insurance you need, and how much you are willing to pay.

If you already have insurance, does it cater for all your requirements?

Many people just renew their insurance when they get a letter through the post reminding them that the cover is ending soon. But very few people think of looking to see what other insurance companies have to offer, and they may be missing out on reducing their monthly payments, or getting more benefits for the same payments.

So what kind of insurance can you get and what does it cover?

Contents Insurance

The usual household contents insurance covers the normal items like;

  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Storm Damage

Some companies offer other cover and services at no extra cost for items like:

Business Equipment – Computers, faxes, modems, communications equipment, word processors, other office equipment and even office furniture. There is normally a maximum amount they will cover, usually around 10% of the total cost of the equipment up to a maximum of £2000-£4000.

Lock Replacement – Replacing or buying new locks if keys are stolen.

Wedding and Christmas Insurance – Some companies will offer a temporary increase of cover of up to 10% for the Christmas period and for Family Weddings.

Payment Protection – May be offered if you become unemployed or are sick and cannot work for a period of time (usually after 28-30 days). Payments are usually covered for a period of up to 12 months, but check the terms of your policy, as they vary from company to company.

Helplines – Offering free legal advice, or for domestic emergencies like burst pipes. The companies will find a suitable tradesperson in your locality to call at a convenient time and give you an estimate.

Leakages – From water tanks, or heating systems

Theft – or attempted theft (including garages and outbuildings)

Loss or Damage to Food – In freezers due to power cuts or equipment failures.

Some companies may offer one or more of these services at no extra cost, so do look around to find one that suits your needs. If you feel that the cover limit you have is too little to replace the possessions you have, you may be able to decide on your own sum insurance. Payments will normally increase if you choose this option.

Building’s Insurance

Usually covers;

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm/Lightning
  • Earthquake
  • Subsidence
  • Rebuilding costs

Rebuilding costs for homes with up to five bedrooms can vary, but cover can be up to as much as £400,000. If your home has more than five bedrooms you will have to choose a figure you want to insure it for.

Many companies also offer cover for less obvious causes of damage;

  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage to your property caused by a collision involving a vehicle.

Some companies will offer these as part of your normal cover, while others may charge an extra premium.

Other items that may be included:

Home Emergency Cover – This covers items like labour charges, call out charges, and parts for any emergency repairs you may need to make. The amount covered varies from company to company.

Payment Protection – Usually the same benefits you would receive with contents insurance.

Other Extras – Some companies have an incentive scheme that will give you discounts on household appliances, holidays etc. There is normally a qualifying period before you can start to receive the benefits of these programmes.

Personal Possessions – Covering valuables like bicycles, jewellery, clothes and money that may be lost or stolen when away from the family home. This cover normally applies to anywhere in the UK.

Additional cover can be added to most policies-the fees for these will vary between companies.

These are just some of the areas covered by home insurance. Some companies will offer more benefits and different types of cover.

So as you can see, it pays to shop around for the best deals and types of cover available, so you can find one that is suitable for you.