How do you calculate home insurance costs?

Buildings and contents insurance can be confusing. What’s the difference? Do you need them? And how much cover is enough? Read on for tips and tools.

Types of insurance. There are three types of home insurance

  • Buildings insurance
  • Contents insurance
  • Combined insurance (buildings and contents)

If you’d like a bit more background, just keep reading.

But if you just need help working out the right level of cover, jump straight to:

What does buildings insurance cover?

Buildings insurance protects the structure of your home, including walls, windows and the roof – as well as any sheds or outbuildings. It also covers anything that's permanently attached inside like kitchen cabinets, bathroom suites and fitted wardrobes.

Leaseholders don't usually need buildings insurance as they don't own the building. And the same goes for tenants.

It's not the cost of buying or selling your house

Buildings insurance only covers the cost of labour and materials to rebuild or repair your home – not the market value of the house.

Need buildings insurance? Our cover is Five Star rated by the independent experts Moneyfacts – get a quick quote.

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance protects your possessions such as furniture, TVs and appliances. If you'd take it with you when you move, it's probably contents.

If anything is stolen or damaged, contents insurance will cover the cost of replacing it. A basic policy will protect against fire and water damage, but you can add accidental damage for an extra cost.

New-for-old or indemnity cover?

New-for-old cover means you can claim back the cost of a brand new equivalent of the damaged item. But indemnity cover will just give you the second-value of the item.

Protect the things you love with a contents insurance quote from us. All our policies are backed by leading UK insurers.

Who needs combined buildings and contents cover?

Tenants only need contents insurance and landlords often just get buildings insurance. But if you own a house, you’ll probably want to get a combined insurance quote.

Combined cover is often better value

It can save you money because insurers often reward customers for taking out two policies at once.

Get combined insurance quote

Want even more cover?

We can help you protect your home in other ways too – including boiler and heating insurance to keep your household warm all winter, with no unexpected repair bills to worry about.

More about boiler and heating insurance

How to calculate buildings insurance

Ask a professional

Working out the cost of rebuilding your home is tricky. So it’s probably best to get the help of a residential surveyor. They’ll look at all the relevant factors – including the age of your property, the type of foundations, number of rooms and construction methods.

Use an online calculator

The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is a really useful free tool from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Once you’ve registered, you can use their ‘rebuild calculator’ up to four times every 12 months. It’ll guide you through the whole process.

Review every five years

Industry professionals recommend you check your buildings insurance level every five years. Especially if you’ve improved your home – with a loft conversion or conservatory for example. That way you’ll always have the right amount of cover if you ever need to claim.

Special case? Remember that if your home is a listed building or has a thatched roof or timber frame, you’ll probably need specialist buildings insurance.

How to calculate contents insurance

It’s straightforward to work out the right level of contents insurance. But it takes time. Start by making a list of all your belongings and then write down the cost of replacing them.

Do one room at time

The challenge is remembering to include everything of value in your home. A simple but effective solution is to work one room at a time.

Create a list of everything you can see, and everything in the drawers and cupboards. It’s fine to skip very low value items like notepads and pencils.

Include hallways, porches, lofts and cellars

Remember that carpets, curtains and blinds are usually classed as contents. And don’t forget to cover every space in your home, including hallways, corridors, lofts, cellars, sheds and greenhouses.

Make a separate list of high-value items

You might need to pay extra if you want to cover jewellery, large sums of cash, antiques or expensive computers or bicycles. So it’s smart to make a special note of these as you go along.

Expect to be surprised by the total

Once you’ve assessed every part of your property, add up the total for each list. And then combine those amounts into a grand total. You’ll probably be surprised by how large that number is.

Something like £50,000 wouldn’t be unusual for an average family. That’s actually a good sign because most people underestimate their contents cover needs. And that would be a problem if you ever need to claim.

Insurance premium. Want to reduce your contents premium?

There are plenty of ways to lower your home contents insurance premium. These include:

  • Improving home security
  • Choosing a larger excess
  • Fitting smart technology
  • Building up a no claims bonus

If you love it, protect it. If you’re like many people, your home will be one of the most important places in your life

That’s why we’re here to help you protect it – and keep it warm and working with a full range of home services and insurance.

Our home services and insurance

Why customers choose us for home insurance

Easy straight forward application, very good price with comparable cover to my previous insurer. Would definitely recommend.

Great customer service always of a high standard.

Additional information

  1. Terms and Conditions apply. Home Insurance is arranged and administered by British Gas and is underwritten by a carefully selected insurer. Your policy documents will show who your insurer is. British Gas is a trading name of British Gas Services Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales (Registered No.03141243). Registered office: Millstream, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5GD.