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types of cover

There are several types of home insurance available in the UK. There is Buildings Insurance; which covers things such as drains, pipes, permanent fixtures and fittings and out of the home items such as gates and fences. Content insurance; which provides cover for theft or damage for items such as carpets, electrical goods, computers, camera’s, furniture and jewellery like rings and watches. If you are a landlord, have tenancy agreements or buy to let, you will need different and specific policies.

buying online

You will find that most online house insurance quotation engines ask a comprehensive set of questions, such as: is the home a terraced, semi-detached, detached, flat or bungalow etc. The construction type is also usually of interest, i.e. whether the house is made of brick, stone, concrete or timber framed for example. Roof type – this is also of importance, whether tile, slate, concrete or asphalt or whether it has a flat roof.

buildings insurance

A lot of people tend to purchase buildings cover from their mortgage lenders. It is not compulsory to do so, but the mortgage lender will insist that the policy cover is of a certain minimum standard. This makes sense because they have a vested interest in the property being fully covered. If you do purchase a policy from another source, your lender will require you to submit a specimen policy for review – they may make a charge for this service. When getting a quote for this type of cover it is important to remember that it is the re-build cost that is required to be disclosed and not the value of your home. For example, if your home were to burn down, the land would still be there so this cost must be deducted and other factors such as market rates need to be taken into account.

contents insurance

This provides cover for items such as carpets, electrical goods, computers, camera’s, furniture and jewellery like rings and watches. An important thing you must decide about this section of cover, is whether you require New for Old benefit. Basically, if you had a stereo that broke and didn’t have this cover, you would only receive the amount the stereo is worth today allowing for it’s age etc. Whereas if you had New for Old cover, you would receive a brand new replacement stereo. Some other aspects of contents insurance which can be added are; Accidental Damage cover – this would provide insurance for if you or anybody else caused damage to your contents by accident, i.e. spilt paint on carpet. All risks cover – this is necessary if you have valuables, such as rings / watches, that are regularly taken out of the home.

Whilst some forms of jewellery are covered as standard by contents policies, most will have a maximum limit for single articles. If you do have any valuables that are worth more than the single article limit, they will simply need to be specified on your house insurance policy. This will increase the premium, but will ensure that they are properly insured. This is certainly the case for bicycles. Almost all insurers will require you to specify these separately.

general advice

Two key things insurers will expect you to have are:

Five-lever mortice deadlocks fitted to front and back doors. The locks should conform to the BS3621 standard. These can be opened only by a key, rather than an implement such as a plastic card or by someone smashing a window and trying to open the door.

All ground floor and other accessible windows fitted with key-operated window locks.

You can even get a discount on some policies – sometimes up to 10% - by fitting burglar alarms or locks above the minimum required standard. Joining a neighbourhood watch scheme can also reduce your insurance premium.

Here are ten important questions you should consider when choosing your contents policy:

1. Is it new for old as standard?
2. What is the policy excess?
3. What cover do I get under accidental damage cover?
4. Do I have to pay an additional premium for pedal cycles?
5. Does it cover food in the freezer?
6. Will it cover the business equipment at my property?
7. Am I covered on my contents if I have a burst pipe?
8. Does the sum insured cover my jewellery?
9. Will it cover my contents when I am abroad and am I covered for liabilities to third parties?
10. Can I receive a discount by taking out both buildings and contents insurance with the same company and can I get a no claim discount for my no claims history?

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