Your Home Insurance policy explained

Home insurance can be hard to understand and easy to forget about. Many people don’t know exactly what their home insurance policy covers, which can cause problems when making a claim, or even put people off claiming. This guide will take away some of the mystery and give you a better understanding of what is covered. It’ll help ensure that, if you do have to make a claim, it’s a successful one.

Buildings Insurance - Your home insurance policy explained - Relates to the structure of the house plus permanent fixtures and fittings that could be considered part of the fabric of the house, such as sinks and toilets. It protects you from loss or damage caused by: storms, floods and earthquakes; fire and explosions; theft and vandalism; burst pipes; fallen trees, lamp posts or aerials; subsidence and vehicle or aircraft collisions. - British Gas
Contents Insurance - Your home insurance policy explained - Relates to possessions that are easily removed and transported if you move house. It covers your belongings for loss or damage caused by: theft or vandalism; fire or explosion and natural dangers such as lightning, storms, floods and earthquakes. - British Gas

Understanding the difference between the two types of insurance can be particularly important if you’re renting a property - is your claim covered by the landlord’s buildings insurance or your own contents cover?

If you want to understand potential grey areas better, and how disputes might arise, there are some useful details on the financial ombudsman website.

Other things to consider

As well as the two main types of home insurance, here are a few other things it’s important for you to consider.

Accidental Damage - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
Accidental Damage

Does your policy cover accidental damage? This means things like dropping your phone in the bath, or a breakage caused by a child. Most insurers charge extra for accidental damage cover, so you must opt for it specifically when you take out your policy.

Locks & Burglar Alarms - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
Locks & Burglar Alarms

When you take out your insurance make sure you provide correct information about external locking doors and windows. Also, be aware that if you forget to set the alarm or lock the door and you are burgled, your claim will probably be rejected

High Value Items  - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
High Value Items

Most insurers will ask you to specify any expensive items, which usually means items worth over £1000. If, once you’ve taken out your policy, you purchase any new items that fall into this category, it’s important to add them to your policy to ensure they are covered too.

Home Business - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
Home Business

If you also use your home as a business address you will need to declare that with your insurers.

Listed Buildings - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
Listed Buildings

If you live in a listed building you will need to declare this when you take out your policy. This is mainly because the rebuild cost can be tricky to calculate - specialist craftsmen and materials may be required to restore the building to its original state.

Contents Outside The Home - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas
Contents Outside The Home

Unless stated, most polices won’t cover your possessions when they are outside the home. You can pay extra to insure these items, and it’s definitely worth considering for high-end items such as laptops.

Excess - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas

This is the fixed amount you have to pay if you make a claim. Your insurer will deduct this from any payout they make. You can choose to reduce the excess when you set up your policy but it will increase the cost.

Travelling? - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas

If you’re lucky enough to be going on an extended vacation, or if you’re working away from home for a while, it may be worth asking your insurer about altering your cover. Most polices won’t cover loss or damage if your property is left unoccupied for a significant stretch of time - usually 30 days or more.

DIY - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas

Professional tradesmen will have their own insurance, but if you’re intent on ‘doing it yourself’ it’s worth checking your policy first. Accidental damage cover should offer you piece of mind for minor mishaps, but if you’re undertaking some major renovations it’s probably worth getting specialist cover.

Exclusions - Your home insurance policy explained - British Gas

Your insurance policy will have a list of excluded items, so make sure you read your documents to ensure you’re covered. General wear and tear to your possessions won’t be covered, which seems pretty obvious, but there may also be less obvious exclusions. One example is cyber attack - some policies won’t replace a computer or laptop if it is damaged by a virus.

In short, it’s always a good idea to read and familiarise yourself with your own insurance documentation. If you’re in any doubt call your insurance company to check the details of your policy. It’s always best to have all the information you need before a problem arises, that way you won’t get any nasty surprises if you do have to make a claim.

If you don’t already have buildings and contents insurance you can get a quick and easy quote from us here.

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.
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