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Are you covered by Building and Contents Insurance

building and contents cover

With the UK weather being temperamental and going from sunny to a long downpour of rain in a matter of minutes, it’s worth taking the time to ensure you have a good building and contents insurance package.

With recent storms like Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis soaring across the UK, many people are finding their property has been damaged due to the high winds and floods across the country. Unfortunately, every insurer has a different clause as to what they cover when damage occurs for example, if roof tiles were blown off a property, they will do an inspection on the roof and, if the roof had not been maintained, they may refuse your claim.

What is Building and Contents Insurance

Most types of contents insurance will cover you against loss or damage due to theft, fire, explosions, storms, flooding or water leakage, plus other similar issues. But all of these benefits generally come with maximum limits and individual criteria that can vary from one policy to the next.

If you're renting, your landlord is usually responsible for insuring the building itself, but not your belongings. This should be confirmed in your tenancy agreement.

Buildings Insurance – This insurance covers your house in case of a disaster where your home is so badly damaged that it needs a complete rebuild. The cause of the damage must have been completely beyond your control, for example a storm or flood damage or third-party vandalism or damage, etc.

Contents Insurance – This covers the items in your home which are not fixed to the property, for example, furniture, jewelry, appliances and clothing. Some policies even include covering the contents of your fridge and freezer. The insurance will pay out on a “new for old” giving you a brand-new replacement on whichever item gets damaged or stolen. Contents insurance will cover you in most of the same situations as buildings insurance, but also includes theft. Again, any of these perils must have been beyond your control.

Why do I need this type of insurance?

Some mortgage suppliers will make this type of insurance compulsory when you take out a mortgage with them, to cover their loan. Otherwise, this insurance is highly recommended to protect you against unforeseen circumstances. Virtually every home in the country will have this type of insurance just for that reason, and it could end up proving to be very costly if you do not take the cover out.

Unlimited cover

This will mean that you get an automatic payout if any damage occurs to your home, or automatic replacement of any of your furniture etc. The cost of the damage will not be a factor that is taken into consideration, and all payouts will be made. However, the type of damage that occurs to your house will greatly affect whether or not you receive a payout.

Most buildings and contents insurance policies will only cover the following events:

  • Storm or flood
  • Fire
  • Lightning or explosion
  • Falling trees or branches
  • Subsidence, drag or landslip
  • Breakage of glass or sanitary fittings
  • Damage from escaped water or oil
  • Shock caused to the house by animals, vehicles or aircraft
  • With buildings insurance, most structural fixtures within your house/property will be covered, ensuring they will be repaired if necessary, or rebuilt if they are beyond repair. These include:
  • The structure of your house, e.g. walls, ceilings and the roof
  • Gates, fences, hedges and footpaths that all lie within the boundaries of your property
  • Permanent fixtures and fittings within the house, such as the kitchen, any fitted wardrobes
  • Decoration within your house, for example wallpaper and paint
  • Pipes and cables

Other items usually covered within the contents policy:

  • Money within your house, up to £500
  • Losses on stolen credit cards, up to £500
  • Office equipment kept in the house, up to £5,000
  • Having new locks fitted if these are broken or damaged, or if keys are lost
  • Replacement mirrors or glass broken by accident or through vandalism, full cost covered
  • Damage or theft of deeds and other documents within the house, up to £250
  • Loss of metered water, up to £1,000
  • Damage or theft of satellite equipment, up to £500
  • Contents of your freezer, up to £500

Optional extras that you can add to your cover

As well as the most basic cover, there are a number of optional extras, available for an additional price:

  • Accidental building damage – This includes damage which you cause to the house, for example whilst doing DIY.
  • Accidental contents damage – If you cause damage to any of the contents of your house by accident.
  • Personal belongings – This will cover personal belongings, such as iPads, computers etc, regardless of whether they are stolen or damaged in the house.
  • Home emergency – If an emergency, such as a burst pipe, occurs within the house, this type of cover will provide you with a tradesman that you can call out for free. It is usually 24-hour cover, and will generally only cover you for a certain amount of work, on average up to £250 (including call-out charge, materials and labour).
  • Legal expenses - Some buildings and contents insurance will also cover you if an accident occurs within your house or on your property, and another person is hurt. This legal liability, although rarely needed, could cover you in situations where people will sue if the accident was caused by something or someone within the house.

How do I calculate my contents insurance?

When calculating the value of your contents within your house, it is important to make sure you correctly insure all contents so you do not come out at a loss at a later date. You will not be able to make a claim against something that turns out to be more expensive than you initially valued it for and it is equally important not to over-price any of your contents as this will greatly increase the premium you pay for cover.

To ensure you value everything properly, go into each room in your home and write a list of everything in the room that will be covered by contents insurance. Make an assessment of each item to get the cost, add a percentage for inflation (your insurance provider should provide you with a guide for this) and this will be the minimum you insure for. Make a further note of how old each item is as they may only replace it with something equally as old and do not try to make a guess in general as you could end up greatly under-insuring your contents.

How do I calculate the rebuilding cost for my home?

When you take out insurance on your house, you need to know how much it would cost to rebuild, as this will tell you how much of a premium you have to pay. The building cost of your home is not the same as the market value as this is far less costly to rebuild your house than it is to buy a similar one which encompasses the land.

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) provides cost advice and can calculate how much you should value your rebuilding at. It is widely used by surveyors and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as a reference. You should get advice from a chartered surveyor when providing information to your insurance company but, to get an initial idea, you can use the following guide with the “rebuilding calculator” on the BCIS website.

How do you get building and contents insurance?

Whilst there is a plethora of insurance firms out there who want to sell you their insurance, its worth getting multiple quotes, evaluations and working out the pros and cons of each insurance plan to work out what is best for you.

There are multiple websites that offer comparisons on the different insurance companies but these do not generally offer you the small print in their terms and conditions. It’s very important to not only find out what your insurance will cover but what it will not cover too.

This is where Try Financial can help as not only do we offer building and contents insurance, but we can advise you and offer assistance to best suit you to find you the perfect insurance. We can offer a discount if you take both types of insurance out too and have experts on hand to help so get in touch with us today on 01473 462288 or email enquiries@tryfinancial.co.uk and speak to our experienced advisers today. We may be able to save you a great deal of money in the long run.