Beginner's Guide To: Home Insurance

Kate Murphy,
Saturday 19 September 2009 00:00 BST

As the darker nights are creeping upon us, now is the time to assess if your buildings and contents cover is providing you adequately. This guide will explain what you should be looking for when taking out a new policy.

Buildings insurance

Mortgage lenders insist you have buildings cover as part of your mortgage terms and conditions. However, many homeowners are paying more than they need to because they insure their property for its market value, rather than its rebuild value. The rebuild value will be lower. It is based on the square-footage and average building costs and there are online calculators available that will help you work out how much your home should be insured for.

As the colder weather starts to set in, it is worth checking that your policy will cover you for wind damage and the icy conditions we can expect to see in the next few months. For example, some providers may not cover you for burst water pipes caused by frost. The same applies for storm damage, for which some insurers may not cover you at all. For those that do, exclusions may be in place, so it is worth taking the time to read through the wording of the policy to make sure you are totally insured.


Burglaries increase by 20 per cent during the winter months, so it is essential to ensure the contents of your home are properly insured.

It may be tempting to underestimate the value of your contents to keep your premium down, but you could be setting yourself up for an expensive fall. If you have to make a claim and it is found that you are undercovered, your insurer will be within their rights to refuse your claim or only pay part of it.

It is, therefore, well worth doing an inventory of your contents to work out their true value.

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