Home Insurance Guide

Are you looking to insure your home but are confused what is the best for you. Don´t worry read the guide below, follow the advice given and you will soon have the insurance policy that is right for you at the best value price.

Firstly, Home Insurance is actually two different types of insurance. The first one – Buildings Insurance – is for your actual building including its walls and roof. The second one – Contents Insurance – is for the goods that are in your home such as your television or sofa. You can either buy these insurances separately or you can buy them together. It is usually more cheaper and convenient to buy them together but it is always best to check what offers you best value. For example, if you are a home owner you are responsible if your house gets damaged and/or robbed. However, if you rent your home you will probably be only be liable for the cost of replacing stolen goods. As a tenant you will not be liable for the repair of the actual building.

As mentioned Buildings insurance covers the structure of  a building. The policy may also cover permanent fixtures and fittings such as baths, toilets and fitted kitchens, bedroom cupboards and interior decorations. Policies usually extend to include outbuildings such as garages, greenhouses and garden sheds. Boundary walls, fences, gates, paths, drives and swimming pools may not be covered. The policy may also provide you with alternative accommodation if your home is uninhabitable. The main risks, which your property faces, include fire, theft and damage caused by subsidence. The small print will detail what is and what is not covered.

Home contents insurance covers just about everything you would take with you if you moved. Furniture, household goods, kitchen equipment, frozen food and drink, televisions, video, computer and audio equipment, personal items and valuables up to stated limits. Also remember items such as CD’s and videos, as their collective cost is often under-estimated. Additionally, clothing soon adds up, whether your wardrobe is full of jeans or designer suits, make sure you include the cost of replacing them. Most policies cover loss or damage to your possessions while in your home caused by risks such as fire, theft, and flooding. Many policies include accidental breakage of mirrors and glass tops. Some policies cover accidental damage to television, videos, home computers and audio equipment – in any event, you can often extend the policy to cover accidental damage to all items. Items removed from the home such as laptops, cameras etc. may not be covered within the standard home insurance policy and hence you may require extended contents cover, which will protect these items outside of the home.  Again the small print details what is and what is not covered.

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of Home Insurance the next step is to How  calculate your home insurance requirements. The most difficult part of this process is determining the rebuild value of your home. Some companies will offer a standard rebuild value on their policies. For example, if your home was destroyed by fire they would provide you £400,000 to rebuild it. However, some insurers insist that you provide a fairly accurate figure. If you get the figure wrong they will only provide up to the limit provided on your initial application. Another company will only provide a percentage repayment amount. So, for example, if you underestimate your rebuild cost by 50% they will only provide 50% of your rebuild cost.

To accurately estimate your rebuild cost you first need to measure the floor space of your house. Measure the width and length of your house and multiply these figures by 2. If you have an upstairs of the same shape you need to double this figure. So if you width is 10m, length is 20m this means your downstairs floorspace is 200metres squared. Double this figure to include upstairs thereby equalling  400 square metres in our example. You will then need to register on the BCIS website to use their rebuild calculator.

As an alternative to this process the Go Compare website automatically calculates your rebuild cost as part of their system when they offer you quotes. Please be aware that you value of your home does not reflect the rebuild value as it may be less or more than the value of your home. The rebuild value of your property can additionally be found on your mortgage agreement, or the deeds to your home.

To assess how much insurance you will require for your Contents you need to make a list of the rooms in your house and under each heading write down all the items in it. Items most commonly overlooked include curtains, carpets, plants, ornaments and bedding, so don’t forget to include them. Also check the cover on valuables such as jewellery, they may need to be covered separately. Once you have done this, total the individual amounts to see what your contents insurance protection amount you require.

Most insurance policies offer additional areas of home insurance protection, such as Accidental Damage, Legal Expenses, Freezer Cover and Extended Contents etc. These areas of protection may be included as standard within the basic policy and hence will be reflected in the cost of the policy. Alternatively, some insurance policies offer these areas as optional, and hence you are able to choose whether you require these additional areas of protection or not.

The last step is to apply for Home Insurance quotes. Be warned the quotes vary considerably by hundreds of pounds. So please don just stick with a company because you have dealt with them before. Check what all the insurance companies are offering to see what is the best value for you. You could save a considerable amount of money. Luckily it is now very easy to check the costs of insurance quotes from 50+ companies by using a comparison website.

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