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Home insurance comprises of two separate elements: buildings insurance and contents insurance.
Buildings insurance, as its name suggests, is concerned with the fabric of your home and safeguards against the repair costs associated with fire, storm damage and floods etc. Lenders insist on buildings insurance being in place as part of your mortgage deal.
Contents insurance, meanwhile, covers your household possessions against damage or theft.
While it's convenient to take up the insurance package offered by your mortgage lender, invariably it will cost more. By shopping around, you 're almost guaranteed to save. And then you can spend it on something miles better than insurance!
Although not compulsory, it's usual to take out buildings and contents insurance with the same company. It will normally be cheaper – if not less hassle - than insuring with two different companies.
Before looking for quotes, here are some of the wider issues to consider when choosing an insurance policy that 's right for you on both price and the cover included.
Valuations – Buildings insurance is based on the rebuilding cost of your property, not the purchase price.
Occupancy – If you work overseas or you home is unoccupied for long periods for any other reason, establish whether you are covered when you are away. Most insurance companies will not provide cover if the property is unoccupied for more than 30 days at a time.
The excess - How much will you pay towards a claim?
New for old – Are personal possessions replaced on this basis?
Home office – There will be a limit on the value of computer equipment covered. Will this be enough? Some insurance companies insist on a separate policy if you run a business from home.
Valuables - Antiques, works of art and jewellery etc. should be flagged up at the outset. Ensure that expensive items are specified on your policy.
Personal possessions – Confirm the extent of insurance cover for personal possessions. Is theft and accidental damage limited to home and garden? Will you be covered if you go on holiday?
Freezer - Malfunctions, extended powercuts or simply pulling out the wrong plug can all lead to your freezer defrosting with disastrous consequences for its contents. A freezer full of food can easily amount to the same as a family 's weekly shopping bill and more. Ensure the policy you're being quoted on covers you for freezer failure.
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