Is Buildings Insurance the Same As Home Insurance?

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Buildings insurance can be purchased as a stand-alone policy or as part of home insurance. A home insurance package is comprised of both buildings insurance and contents insurance. Policies range from basic packages to more expensive options with added features and cover. Cheap home insurance can be found by comparing providers and carefully choosing what additional features to include.

Buildings insurance will cover the structure of the building, including the roof, walls, floors, windows and fitted cupboards. For homeowners, this is an essential type of cover to protect their investment and may even be required by mortgage lenders.

Contents insurance will cover the possessions in the home, like the furniture, clothes, art, books, electronics and jewellery. This cover can be purchased as a separate policy, most often by renters, as in those circumstances, insurance is the landlord’s responsibility.

There are times when extra cover is needed or wanted. Additional features can include:

  • Public liability – which covers the cost of being sued from an incident happening in the home.
  • Alternative accommodation – to provide a place to stay if the home is deemed uninhabitable after a disaster such as a fire.
  • Accidental damage cover – which protects the building and/or the contents against accidental breakages.
  • Legal expenses cover – personal legal expenses, including employment disputes and injury claims.
  • Home emergency – to help when urgent issues arise such as a burst pipe by covering call-out fees and providing an emergency phoneline.

Extra features will cost more, but the risks must be weighed up against the benefit as it can save money in the long run.

If keeping the costs down is a requirement, the one thing to ensure is that the amount of cover is high enough to cover the costs of rebuilding the property if necessary. To work out how much that would be, use the Building Cost Information Service rebuild calculator.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance is a policy to protect all aspects of a home from damage or destruction due to a disaster such as a fire, a flood, or an explosion. Home insurance policies are made up of a combination of buildings insurance and contents insurance to protect the building itself and the items inside it.

Buildings insurance and contents insurance together as a home insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing or replacing parts of the building or the possessions inside. In addition, policies will often provide cover for certain risks listed in the policy, such as fire, water damage, or lightning. But some policies will offer all risks, which instead covers for everything except those listed in the contract.

There is also the chance to add to the basic package of cover with features such as accidental damage cover to extend the protection to include incidents such as spilt wine on a carpet or a broken table.

Other cover available includes:

  • Home emergency – to help pay for issues such as a burst pipe with a 24-hour phone line and recommended contractors.
  • Public liability – to cover for visitors to the property suing due to an injury or damage to their property.
  • Alternative accommodation – for if the home becomes inhabitable due to damage.

The main requirement for a home insurance or buildings insurance policy is to ensure the cover limit is high enough to pay for the home to be rebuilt if needed.

It is also important to read the policy through to make sure the limit is adequate and covers the risks wanted by the policyholder.

Another part of the insurance to be mindful of before purchasing is the amount of time the property can be left empty before the policy no longer covers it or the limit is reduced.

What is buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is a type of cover to protect the structure body of a property, particularly a home. A buildings insurance policy can be purchased as a single policy or combined with contents insurance as a home insurance policy.

Buildings insurance usually reimburses the policyholder for damage to the home from:

  • Fire
  • Water damage
  • Storms

There is a possibility the policy will cover subsidence, but it is essential to check the terms of the policy.

Typically, buildings insurance does not cover:

  • Wear and tear or neglect
  • Rust
  • Rot
  • Mould
  • Infestations
  • Mechanical or electrical faults
  • Claims due to war, nuclear exposure
  • Deliberate acts

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance reimburses the policyholder for damage, loss or theft of items inside the home.

The policy normally covers possessions such as:

  • Furniture
  • Clothes
  • Jewellery
  • Money
  • Electrical items
  • Carpets and curtains
  • Art and pictures
  • Frozen food
  • Bicycles
  • Plants

Normally cover is for damage and loss due to incidents such as fire or a storm, but there is an option to add accidental damage to a policy.

Contents insurance comes in two types:

  • New for old, which reimburses the cost of items. However, the sum can be less for clothes to allow for wear and tear.
  • Old for old, also known as indemnity cover, which offers the current cost of the items rather than the amount of buying the same item new.

Contents insurance limits can vary from £30,000 to £100,000 or even more. To work out the amount of cover needed, it’s a good idea to walk around each room of the home and add up the cost of the items. It is important to value the goods as accurately as possible as otherwise, it could reduce pay-outs.

Higher value items in the home like expensive jewellery may need to be listed separately as often policies will have a maximum limit.

What might not be covered by a basic policy includes:

  • Damage if it is caused by a pet,
  • Bicycles,
  • Items valued as above the maximum limit,
  • Accidental damage,
  • Insects and rot,
  • Faulty work, including materials and design,
  • Wear and tear or lack of maintenance,
  • Acts of war or terrorism,
  • Theft or damage if the home is empty for the length of time specified in the policy.

An added feature available in contents insurance policies is away from home, which normally protects items such as laptops and mobile phones from theft.

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