What is the best home insurance 2021? | moneyfacts.co.uk

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nigel woollsey

Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer
Published: 10/12/2020

How do we review which home insurance policies get the best rating?

Moneyfacts undertakes an annual review of all the home insurance products available in the UK marketplace. Our product experts look at numerous elements offered by each product and especially the benefits that these bring to the customer. Policies are then assigned a star rating based on their attributes.

We breakdown all home insurance products into one of three categories: home insurance for contents, home insurance for buildings and high net worth home insurance. 

Those that offer the best range of features and benefits are awarded our top rating of five stars.

How does a star rating help me find the best home insurance?

Our star ratings provide consumers with an independent and impartial opinion based on our expert view of the whole market. Customers can use our star ratings as a signpost to the products and providers that offer the best benefits and service to choose from.

What parts of the policy do we look at?

The many factors we look at to determine star ratings include:

  • Maximum sums insured
  • Standard excesses
  • Accidental damage cover
  • Valuables single item limits
  • Legal expenses
  • Personal possessions cover
  • Money and card cover
  • Set-up, adjustment, renewal and cancellation fees
  • Voluntary excess discount
  • No claims discount options
  • 24-hour emergency helpline
  • Alternative accommodation
  • Owners / occupier personal liability
  • Subsidence cover
  • Mobile phones cover
  • Home emergency cover
  • Burst and blocked pipes
  • Outbuildings cover
  • Garden cover
  • Home emergency repair guarantee
  • Keys cover
  • Freezer cover
  • Deeds and documents cover
  • Residential care cover
  • Students cover
  • Gift cover
  • Business equipment cover
  • Pedal cycles cover
  • Special events

Featured home insurance providers

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All our featured home insurance providers have achieved a four or five star rating for their home insurance.

Provider

Key features

Find out more

Aviva Home Insurance

  • 5 Star rated buildings and contents insurance from just £123 - that’s all 10% paid, excludes optional extras.*
  • Get a quote for Aviva Home Insurance in  minutes!

  • Claims team - their claims team is available for you to make a claim 24/7, 365 days a year.

  • They settled over 87,000 Claims in 2020.

  • Approved local tradespeople - they can appoint an approved specialist who is local to you.**

  • Replacement locks cover - if keys to your home are accidentally lost or stolen, they'll pay to replace the locks or lock mechanisms.***

  • *10% of all customers buying home buildings and contents insurance with us from 1st November 2020 to 31st January 2021 paid this price or less (excluding optional extras). The price you'll pay depends on individual circumstances and cover chosen.
    **Aviva will only appoint tradespeople if they feel the damage is likely to be covered under your insurance.
    *** This includes external doors, alarm systems and domestic safes only, up to a total value of £1000

 

Direct Line Home Insurance

  • If you buy a combined contents and buildings Direct Line Home Insurance Plus policy online you can save 35%.
  • The deal excludes optional extras and the Select Premier policy. Minimum premiums apply.
  • Direct Line Home insurance offers insurance cover for your home and belongings, you can choose the right level of cover to suit your needs.
  • Get peace of mind when you’re covered by Direct Line, so if an unexpected event happened at home, like a burst pipe or theft; they’ll be on it to repair your home or replace your belongings after they’ve been stolen, damaged or destroyed.
  • You won't find Direct Line on price comparison websites as they prefer to deal with their customers direct.
  • Underwritten by U K Insurance Limited

 

 

LV Home Insurance

"It’s our heart that sets us apart, which is why we’re the UK's No1 insurer for customer service*

• We'll give you a personal claims handler to look after you
• £1 million cover if you need to rebuild your home
• Choose up to £100,000 for your contents cover
• 24-hour UK emergency helpline if you need help in a hurry
*UKCSI survey January 2021"

 

 

Age Co Home Insurance

 


  • Over 50s Home Insurance
  • No hidden fees
  • UK based call centre
  • 'New' for 'Old' cover
  • Award winning service
  • 24-hour legal helpline
  • Age Co over 50s Home Insurance offers both buildings insurance and contents insurance, which can be bought separately or as a package.
  • Net Profits donated to Age UK 

 

Admiral Home Insurance


  • Choose from three levels of cover - each with a range of different features. Select the most suitable cover for your needs online or over the phone with one of the friendly team.
  • Family Legal Protection - Up to £100,000 in legal costs to cover claims such as: property and employment disputes, along with personal injury claims.
  • Home Emergency Cover - 24-hour emergency call outs if you suffer an emergency that results in total failure.
  • Boiler Emergency Cover  
  • Accidental Damage Cover - Available on buildings and contents insurance, for accidental damage to personal belongings, fixtures and fittings at home.

 

The AA Home Insurance


  • Flexible levels of contents cover, starting from £40,000
  • Unlimited buildings cover for homes worth up to £1 million
  • £45,000 alternative accommodation cover if your home can't be lived in due to an insured event
  • Accidental damage cover is included within your contents cover level for non-portable gas and electrical items – e.g. a TV or washing machine
  • Up to £3,000 cover for items stolen from outbuildings or garages
  • A dedicated UK claim line that’s available 24 hours a day

 

Home Protect Home Insurance

  • Unoccupied, undergoing renovations, holiday homes, landlords, lodgers, listed buildings, running a business from home and more all covered
  • Policies underwritten by AXA Insurance
  • Buildings insurance Defaqto 5 Star Rated
  • Rated Excellent on Trustpilot from over 7,000 reviews
  • 24/7 Claims Helpline
  • Basic Legal Expenses and Home Emergency included as standard

 

More Than Home Insurance

 


  • Providing quality cover since 2001 with 7.8 out of 10 customers renewing their More Than Home Insurance cover. MORE TH>N DATA Jan – Oct 2020
  • Award winning Home insurance with their upgraded Buildings and Contents Cover rated 5* by Moneyfacts for 5 years in a row (2017-2021)
  • UK-based call centres on hand to help
  • Choose from two levels of cover; Primary and Upgraded
  • Up to £1 Million buildings cover and up to £100,000 Contents cover as standard.
  • Up to £200 Home Emergency Assistance as standard. Must use a More Than authorised tradesperson. Home emergency assistance is not available for the first 7 days the policy is taken out.
  • Alternative accommodation cover as standard if your home becomes uninhabitable as a result of a valid claim

 

Coverbaloo Home Insurance

  • We provide high cover limits as standard (up to £1m for buildings and up to £100k for contents)
  • Our underwriter, RSA, is amongst the best in the UK for paying claims, with an acceptance rate of over 97.5% for the last 3 years.
  • Choose from a wide range of optional add-on covers like Home Emergency, Personal Belongings, and Legal Expenses
  • You won’t find us on comparison sites

 

John Lewis Home Insurance


  • Unlimited Buildings and Contents Cover
  • Unlimited Matching Sets Cover
  • Unlimited Alternative Accommodation Cover
  • Cover away from the home, anywhere in the world
  • New for old, and like for like
  • Up to £100,000 in Legal Cover

 

Sagic Home Insurance


  • Cover for Building and Contents, Tenants and Landlords
  • Cover for accidental damage
  • NO interest on monthly payments
  • NO amendment fees
  • NO credit card charges
  • NO cost for postal confirmations
  • Additional 30% content cover free during the Christmas period
  • SAGIC is owned 100% by the Salvation Army

    SAGIC are able to return its surplus funds to The Salvation Army to support its frontline services.

M&S Home Insurance

  • Save 20% when you buy a new policy online*
  • Pay monthly at no extra cost; 0% APR representative
  • You can choose an alternative cash settlement instead of repairing or replacing an item when you claim
  • Compare home insurance cover options – choose from standard or premier
  • Cover for alternative accommodation
  • Cover for fire, flood, subsidence, storm damage and escape of water
  • M&S Home Insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Limited. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Find out more

    M&S Home Insurance is not available to customers who live in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man

    *Excludes renewals and optional extras. Subject to minimum premiums and may be withdrawn at any time.

Swinton Home Insurance


  • Build your Home Insurance to suit you.
  • Add a handy optional extra to your policy at any time.
  • Home Legal Expenses comes as standard with our Premier Home Insurance and can be added to our Classic and Essentials Home Insurance policy.
  • Access your documents online and make changes or renew your policy.
  • You can also choose to take out separate buildings and contents insurance policies.
  • Combined buildings and contents insurance from £107 per year.

 

Endsleigh Home Insurance


  • Sleep easy with our affordable range of buildings and contents insurance cover. Protect your home and everything inside

  • Get up to £500,000 cover for damage to the structure of your home and permanent fixtures

  • Protect the items that are most valuable to you whilst you're out and about. Items such as laptops and mobile phones can be covered up to £1,500

  • Up to £150,000 cover to protect your belongings against fire, theft, smoke and flood, with optional accidental damage cover.

 

Policy Expert Home Insurance

  • Prices fixed for 2 years
  • The UK's number 1 rates home insurance provider
  • Three tiers of cover: Essential, Premier, and Midas
  • Policy wording approved by plain English campaign
  • Trusted by over 700,000 customers
  • 91% of customers save money by switching
  • All policies work on a "new for old" basis

 

Note

Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. Moneyfacts.co.uk will receive a small payment either if you click the links or if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions.

Disclaimer

The list of home insurance providers on this page is a selection of services available and gives you an idea of the kind of options available. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting any of the providers listed. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts.co.uk will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts.co.uk recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

Get an insurance quote

An alternative to working with the insurance providers above is to use an insurance broker. Quotezone offers you an immediate quote from their selected panel of insurers.

Find out more

Home Buildings Insurance – Five Star

AA - Home Insurance Plus

Admiral - Platinum Home Insurance

Age Co - Home Insurance

Age Partnership - Home Insurance

Ageas - House Guard Prestige

Aviva - AvivaPlus Premium

Aviva - AvivaPlus Regular

Aviva - Home Insurance

Aviva- Home Plus

AXA Direct - HomeSafe

AXA Direct - HomeSure

AXA Insurance - AXA Advanced

Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance Comprehensive

Baptist Insurance - Home Insurance

Barclays - Barclays Home Insurance

Barclays - Barclays Premium Home Insurance

Bradford & Bingley - Home Insurance

British Gas - Home Insurance

Cavere Insurance - Cavere Home Insurance (RSA)

Cavere Insurance - Home Insurance (Ageas)

Chelsea Building Society - Home Insurance

Cherish Insurance - Cherish Home

Churchill - Home Insurance

Churchill - Home Plus

Clydesdale Bank - Home Insurance

Confidas - Home MAX

Co-op Insurance - Co-op Home

Covea Insurance - Profile

Coverbaloo.co.uk - Home Insurance

Cumberland Building Society - Home Insurance

Direct Line - Home Insurance

Direct Line - Home Insurance Plus

Direct Line - Select Premier Insurance

Ecclesiastical - Home Insurance

Emerald Life - Premier Home Insurance

esure - Home Insurance

first direct - Home Insurance

First2Protect - Your Home

Frontier Insurance - My Cover

Halifax - Home Insurance Ultimate

Hastings Direct - Hastings Direct

Hastings Direct - Hastings Premier

Hilltop Finance - Home Insurance

Hiscox - Home Insurance

Homelyfe - Standard Home Insurance

HomeProtect - Home Insurance

HSBC - Home Insurance

Ipswich Building Society - Home Insurance

John Lewis Finance - Plus Cover

John Lewis Finance - Premier Cover 

Leeds Building Society - Basic Home Insurance

Leeds Building Society - Extra Home Insurance

Leeds Building Society - Standard Home Insurance

Leek United - Home Insurance

Legal & General - Home Insurance Choices Select

Legal & General - Home Insurance Choices Standard

Legal & General - Home Insurance Gold

Legal & General - Home Insurance Plus

Legal & General - Rainbow Home Insurance Select

Legal & General - Rainbow Home Insurance Standard

Lloyds Bank - Home Insurance Premier

Loughborough Building Society - Home Insurance

LV= - Home Insurance

LV= - Home Plus Insurance

M&S Bank - M&S Premier Home Insurance

M&S Bank - M&S Standard Home Insurance

MORE TH>N - Home Choice Primary cover

MORE TH>N - Home Choice Upgraded cover

Motability - Home Insurance

Nationwide Building Society - Home Insurance

NatWest - Elite Home Insurance

NatWest - Home Insurance

NatWest - Premier Home Insurance

NFU Mutual - Home and Lifestyle

Nottingham Building Society - Take Your Pick

Paragon - Metropolitan

Pen Underwriting - Premier Home

Police Mutual - Home Insurance

Policy Expert - Home Essentials

Policy Expert - Home Premier

Policy Expert - Midas Crown

Post Office Money - Gold

Post Office Money - Silver

Principality Building Society - Your Home Cover Plus

Privilege - Platinum Home Insurance

Quotemehappy.com - Essentials Plus

Quotemehappy.com - Premier

RIAS - Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Elite Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Premier Home Insurance

RSA - Preferred Choice

Saga - Saga Home

Saga - TailorMade

Sainsbury's Bank - Home Insurance

Sainsbury's Bank - Home Plus

Santander - Santander Home Insurance - Classic

Santander - Santander Home Insurance - Plus

Sheilas' Wheels - Home Insurance

Skipton Building Society - Home Insurance Protect Plus

Swinton Insurance - Premier Home Insurance

Tesco Bank - Tesco Bank Home Insurance

The Co-operative Bank - Home Cover Extra

Together Mutual Insurance - Premier

Together Mutual Insurance - Premier Plus

TSB - TSB Pick and Protect Home Insurance

UIA Mutual - Flexi Home Insurance

UIA Mutual - Signature Home Insurance

Uinsure - Uinsure Home Insurance

Utility Warehouse - Home Insurance

Vernon Building Society - Home Insurance

West Bromwich Building Society - Home Insurance

West Bromwich Building Society - Premier Home Insurance

Yorkshire Bank  - Home Insurance

Yorkshire Building Society - Home Insurance

Home Buildings Insurance – Four Star

AA - Home Insurance

Admiral - Gold Home Insurance

Admiral - Home Insurance

Ageas - House Guard

Assetsure - Home and Contents Insurance

Aviva - AvivaPlus Basic

Aviva - Your House

AXA Direct - HomeSmart

AXA Insurance - AXA Exclusive

AXA Insurance - AXA Extra

Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance

Chubb European Group Ltd - Masterpiece Initial

Cornish Mutual - Home Insurance

County Insurance Services - County Home Insurance

CSIS - Home Solutions Insurance

Dial Direct - Home Insurance

Emerald Life - Core Home Insurance

Emerald Life - Core+ Home Insurance

First2Protect - Your Essentials

Halifax - Home Insurance

Hastings Direct - Hastings Essential

Horizon - Longitude

Insure4Retirement - Choice Home Insurance

Insure4Retirement - Home Insurance

Intasure - Home Insurance for Household UK

Legal & General - Home Insurance

Legal & General - Home Insurance Extra

Legal & General - Home Insurance Silver

Lloyd & Whyte - Home Insurance

Lloyds Bank - Home Insurance

Magnet Insurance - Home Insurance

Mark Bates Ltd - Home Insurance

Methodist Insurance - Home Shield

Paymentshield - Plus Home Insurance

Paymentshield - Standard Home Insurance

Pen Underwriting - Home Insurance E-Solutions

Plum Underwriting - Flex

Privilege - Home Insurance

Quotemehappy.com - Essentials

RAC - Home Insurance

RSA - Clearchoice

Saga - Saga Essential

SAGIC - House and Home Insurance

Select & Protect - Home Insurance

SunLife - Home Insurance

Swiftcover - Swift MADE

Swiftcover - Swift MORE

Swinton Insurance - Classic Home Insurance

The Co-operative Bank - Everyday Home Cover

Home Contents Insurance – Five Star

AA - Home Insurance Plus

Admiral - Platinum Home Insurance

Age Co - Home Insurance

Age Partnership - Home Insurance

Ageas - House Guard Prestige

Aviva - AvivaPlus Premium

Aviva - AvivaPlus Regular

Aviva - Home Insurance

AXA Direct - HomeSafe

AXA Direct - HomeSmart

AXA Direct - HomeSure

AXA Insurance - AXA Advanced

AXA Insurance - AXA Exclusive

AXA Insurance - AXA Extra

Azur Underwriting - Smart Home

Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance Comprehensive

Baptist Insurance - Home Insurance

Barclays - Barclays Home Insurance

Barclays - Barclays Premium Home Insurance

British Gas - Home Insurance

Cavere Insurance - Cavere Home Insurance (RSA)

Cavere Insurance - Home Insurance (Ageas)

Chelsea Building Society - Home Insurance

Cherish Insurance - Cherish Home

Chubb European Group Ltd - Masterpiece Initial

Churchill - Home Plus

Clydesdale Bank - Home Insurance

Confidas - Home MAX

Co-op Insurance - Co-op Home

Cornish Mutual - Home Insurance

County Insurance Services - County Home Insurance

Covea Insurance - Profile

Coverbaloo.co.uk - Home Insurance

Direct Line - Home Insurance Plus

Direct Line - Select Premier Insurance

Ecclesiastical - Home Insurance

Emerald Life - Premier Home Insurance

esure - Home Insurance

first direct - Home Insurance

First Underwriting - Premier

First2Protect - Your Home

Frontier Insurance - My Cover

Halifax - Home Insurance Ultimate

Hastings Direct - Hastings Direct

Hastings Direct - Hastings Premier

Hilltop Finance - Home Insurance

Hiscox - Home Insurance

Horizon - Longitude

HSBC - Home Insurance

Ipswich Building Society - Home Insurance

John Lewis Finance - Plus Cover

John Lewis Finance - Premier Cover 

Leeds Building Society - Basic Home Insurance

Leeds Building Society - Extra Home Insurance

Leeds Building Society - Standard Home Insurance

Leek United - Home Insurance

Legal & General - Home Insurance Choices Select

Legal & General - Home Insurance Choices Standard

Legal & General - Home Insurance Extra

Legal & General - Home Insurance Plus

Legal & General - Rainbow Home Insurance Select

Legal & General - Rainbow Home Insurance Standard

Lloyds Bank - Home Insurance Premier

Loughborough Building Society - Home Insurance

LV= - Home Insurance

LV= - Home Plus Insurance

LV= Broker - Clear Advance

LV= Broker - Clear Complete

M&S Bank - M&S Premier Home Insurance

M&S Bank - M&S Standard Home Insurance

Mark Bates Ltd - Home Insurance

Methodist Insurance - Home Shield

MORE TH>N - Home Choice Upgraded cover

Motability - Home Insurance

Nationwide Building Society - Home Insurance

NatWest - Elite Home Insurance

NatWest - Premier Home Insurance

NFU Mutual - Home and Lifestyle

Nottingham Building Society - Take Your Pick

Paymentshield - Plus Home Insurance

Paymentshield - Standard Home Insurance

Pen Underwriting - Premier Home

Police Mutual - Home Insurance

Policy Expert - Home Premier

Post Office Money - Gold

Principality Building Society - Your Home Cover Plus

Privilege - Platinum Home Insurance

Quotemehappy.com - Essentials Plus

Quotemehappy.com - Premier

Rentguard - Home Plus

RIAS - Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Elite Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance

Royal Bank of Scotland - Premier Home Insurance

RSA - Preferred Choice

Saga - Saga Home

Saga - TailorMade

Sainsbury's Bank - Home Insurance

Sainsbury's Bank - Home Plus

Santander - Santander Home Insurance Classic

Santander - Santander Home Insurance Plus

Sheilas' Wheels - Home Insurance

Skipton Building Society - Home Insurance Protect Plus

Swiftcover - Swift MORE

Swinton Insurance - Premier Home Insurance

Uinsure - Uinsure Home Insurance

Utility Warehouse - Home Insurance

Vernon Building Society - Home Insurance

West Bromwich Building Society - Home Insurance

West Bromwich Building Society - Premier Home Insurance

Yorkshire Bank - Home Insurance

Yorkshire Building Society - Home Insurance

Home Contents Insurance – Four Star

AA - Home Insurance

Admiral - Gold Home Insurance

Ageas - House Guard

Ansvar - Home Connect Lifestyle

Assetsure - Home and Contents Insurance

Aviva - Home Plus

Aviva - Your House

Bank of Scotland - Home Insurance

Bradford & Bingley - Home Insurance

Churchill - Home Insurance

CSIS - Home Solutions Insurance

Cumberland Building Society - Home Insurance

Dial Direct - Home Insurance

Direct Line - Home Insurance

Endsleigh - Your Home Policy

First2Protect - Your Essentials

Halifax - Home Insurance

Homelyfe - Standard Home Insurance

HomeProtect - Home Insurance

John Lewis Finance - Essential Cover

Legal & General - Home Insurance

Legal & General - Home Insurance Gold

Legal & General - Home Insurance Silver

Lloyd & Whyte - Home Insurance

Lloyds Bank - Home Insurance

NatWest - Home Insurance

Paragon - Metropolitan

Pen Underwriting - Home Insurance E-Solutions

Plum Underwriting - Flex

Policy Expert - Home Essentials

Policy Expert - Midas Crown

Post Office Money - Silver

RAC - Home Insurance

RSA - Clearchoice

Saga - Saga Essential

SAGIC - House and Home Insurance

SunLife - Home Insurance

Swiftcover - Swift MADE

Swinton Insurance - Classic Home Insurance

Tesco Bank - Tesco Bank Home Insurance

The Co-operative Bank - Home Cover Extra

Together Mutual Insurance - Premier

Together Mutual Insurance - Premier Plus

TSB - TSB Pick and Protect Home Insurance

UIA Mutual - Flexi Home Insurance

UIA Mutual - Signature Home Insurance

High Net Worth – Five Star

Artsure - Prestige Home

Aviva - Distinct Home 150

AXA Art Insurance - tailorMade Home

Azur Underwriting - Home

Chubb - Masterpiece

Chubb - Masterpiece Signature

Confidas - Home LUX

Covea Insurance - Executive Home

Covea Insurance - Executive Plus

Covea Insurance - Premier Home 

Ecclesiastical - Art & Private Client

Hiscox - 606 Home insurance

Home & Legacy - Ultimate Home

Horizon - Latitude

John Lewis Finance - Specialist Home Insurance

NFU Mutual - Bespoke Home Insurance

Palladium Underwriting - Home Insurance

High Net Worth – Four Star

Aviva - Distinct Home 75

Beazley - Home Insurance

Home & Legacy - Ultra Home

Iprism - High Value Home Insurance

What is home insurance?

Home insurance can come in three forms: buildings, contents and combined buildings and content insurance.

Buildings insurance covers the costs of replacing or repairing the structure of your property and is usually only applicable to homeowners, while contents insurance covers repairing or replacing the items in your home, such as furniture, electrical goods, jewellery and carpets. Some contents insurance will also include items in your sheds or gardens and include items taken outside of your home such as mobile phones or bicycles

How does home insurance work?

When you buy a home insurance policy from an insurer, this is in the expectation that should your property or contents be damaged (even accidentally if you have accidental damage cover) or stolen through no fault of your own, the insurer will make sure your property or contents are returned to the same condition, that you receive an equivalent monetary value or is replaced with an equivalent, new item (if you have new for old cover). Insurers may have specific events or items they may not cover, so you will need to check the policy documentation carefully to make sure you have the level of cover you require. For example, accidental damage cover may be an additional feature that you need to add to your contents policy.

The insurer will also expect you to maintain your property and to have taken reasonable care to protect your home and its contents.

Here are a couple of examples:

If your home is burgled or if something is damaged in your home as a result of an accident, home contents insurance aims to either replace the items with new, repair the items or offer you the equivalent value in cash of the item at the time.

If for example your home is flooded and the roof damaged due to a storm, buildings insurance aims to help for the costs of damages and with some policies also organises tradespeople to do the repair work.

What does home insurance cover?

The level and value of cover you can expect to receive with a home insurance policy is specific to each insurer and insurance policy. As explained at a broad level, the choice is between buildings, contents or both, but the amount of cover you are asking for from the insurer will vary depending on the value of your property and your contents. In addition, some insurers accept different levels of risk, for example regarding proximity to flood plains or rivers. Different policies may also have a maximum limit on the value of contents they will cover, while others could exclude items worth more than a specific amount. Some policies may or may not include certain items, such as garden equipment, gadgets outside the home and food held in freezers. Accidental damage and legal expenses may also not be included as standard. All of these may require additional cover to be bought.

What is buildings insurance?

This covers the physical structure of your home, including conservatories and similar types of fixed extension to your home. This type of home insurance covers specified physical damage to your home, such as fire, explosion, flood, vandalism, etc. In the event that your home is totally destroyed as a result of an event that the insurer covers, buildings insurance can pay for it to be rebuilt in the same style and size as before.

Many lenders require you to have building insurance if you have a mortgage against the property. Even if this is not required, it is highly recommended. Without buildings cover, you would still be liable for continuing mortgage payments, even though the physical property no longer existed. Some lenders might even demand full payment of your mortgage immediately.

Garages, garden sheds and summerhouses, etc. located on your property but not physically attached to your home may or may not be covered by buildings insurance. Check carefully on the exclusions of your cover before you buy.

Buildings cover is not required for people who are renting a property. Responsibility for this rests with the building’s owner(s) or landlord(s).

Contents insurance explained

Home contents insurance covers personal possessions inside your home from a list of specified risks, such as fire, flood and theft. Content includes things like TVs, tablets, sofas, tables, carpets and curtains, etc. High-value items (such as jewellery, antiques, etc.) are covered by normal contents insurance but they are very likely subject to a maximum limit (such as £1,000 in total or a maximum of £250 per item). Those people with high-value items in their possession are best to seek additional cover for these when purchasing contents insurance.

Some insurers offer additional cover for accidental damage to the contents of your home. This would cover you for the repair or replacement of items damaged as a result of an accident – for example, kicking over a tin of paint that ruins your carpet, or accidentally knocking over a vase of flowers drenching your TV in water.

Contents insurance can also be enhanced to cover things stored outside your property in sheds, outbuildings or freestanding in your garden from named risks, such as theft, fire or even accidental damage. This includes common articles such as bicycles, gardening machinery (lawnmowers, etc.) patio furniture and children’s play equipment. In addition, most content insurers will offer cover if your freezer fails.

Public liability insurance and home insurance

Many types of home insurance also have limited public liability cover. For example, if a slate blows off your roof in high winds and hurts someone walking past, then they can make a claim against you for their injuries. Public liability cover means this will be insured against and the injured party’s claim will be sorted out by your insurers.

What kind of home can I insure?

Ordinary home insurance normally covers homes of standard construction – i.e. a house, bungalow or flat constructed with brick or stone walls and a tiled roof.

More unusual types of home may attract a higher premium or require a more specialist insurance provider. Generally, properties with a thatched roof will still be insured but will cost more due to the increased risk of fire.

Listed buildings and those that have a unique construction are more likely to need a specialist insurer, as will houseboats and converted industrial units, etc.

If you are thinking of buying a home with a non-standard construction, then you might find our guide to Mortgages for a property of unusual construction helpful.

How much does home insurance cost?

The cost of home insurance varies greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size and construction of your home, your location, the extent of the cover you want and your previous claim history.

However, insurers often offer premium discounts if you have gone a long period without a claim, if you live in a neighbourhood watch area and if you have increased security such as British Standard door and window locks and/or an alarm.

Do I have to have home insurance?

No. Neither buildings nor contents home insurance is compulsory by law but a mortgage lender may require it as a condition of a mortgage with them.

However, with so much at risk, it would be very unwise not to cover your home in case the worst did happen.

What is excluded from home insurance?

There are a number of risks that can be excluded from home insurance cover. This means that you cannot claim for them if they occur.

First among these is what is called a ‘gradually operating cause’ – or, in other words, ordinary wear and tear to your property. Insurers may also not cover you if they believe the claim has arisen due to a lack of maintenance or care.

FAQs on home insurance

Can I get immediate insurance cover for my home?

Yes. Many insurers offer immediate cover for home insurance or the option to purchase cover from a date/time up to 30 days in the future.

How do I make a claim on my home insurance?

Home insurance claims can usually be made by phone or online. It is very common for home insurers to provide a 24-hour helpline number for emergencies, such as a sudden flood, giving you immediate access to qualified local tradespeople. Often, their fees will be settled directly by the insurer, meaning you will only have to pay any excess that is applicable.

How do I cancel my home insurance?

You can cancel your home insurance within the first 14 days after buying a policy. Under consumer law, you are entitled to this 14-day cooling-off period. However, there will be a charge for cover during this cooling off period.

If you are further into your insurance policy and want to cancel, then it is simply a matter of getting in touch with your insurers, which you can usually do online or by calling your insurer. When you cancel, you should receive a pro-rata refund of any outstanding premium left. Some insurers may charge an admin or cancellation fee to end your insurance early.

However, it is wise never to cancel your policy until you have alternative cover in place. Should the worst happen after your current policy was cancelled and before you had a chance to get new cover in place, you would be left uninsured and out of pocket.

Moneyfacts tip

Moneyfacts tip nigel woollsey

Always check the home insurance cover you are buying carefully to ensure it is enough to comfortably cover the replacement of all your property, including carpets, curtains, appliances and personal effects.

Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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