Buildings insurance – it’s not legally mandatory, but many homeowners should take it out. It differs from contents insurance in that it covers the actual building – usually from things like fire, flood and other forms of damage. Despite not being a legal requirement, many mortgage providers will require you to take out a policy.
As we’ve stated before, home insurance usually comes in two forms: contents and buildings insurance. These types of cover are actually very different, but they do affect something very important: your household.
Buildings insurance – Just what is it?
Buildings insurance is a policy that focuses on protect damage done to your house’s structure. This includes windows, walls, floors and the roof. Fixtures and fittings that experience damage are also covered by buildings insurance. For example, if you’ve got a fitted bathroom/kitchen then your policy will likely pay for any repairs that need to be done due to damage.
The specifics – What buildings insurance covers
Essentially, your buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing (or even rebuilding) your home, should it be damaged. The specifics vary from one policy to the next. So, as a homeowner it is important to know exactly what sort of cover you want to get. In general, though, homeowners can claim the following:
- Vandalism done to the house
- Trees falling on your property
- Explosions, fire, smoke
- Collisions with lorries and cars
- Water damage (from leaking pipes)
- Oil, if it leaks from the heating system.
- Damage from natural disasters (floods, storms)
Your buildings insurance policy may cover other structures around the home. These include things like outhouses, sheds, granny flats and outside walls.
So, what isn’t covered?
You cannot get cover for the general wear and tear that occurs. Again, exclusions can vary depending on the policy. Some example of exclusions include:
- Frost (the exception being if it comes from a burst pipe)
- Pests (birds, insects)
- Leaking gutters
If your property is left empty for more than 30 or 60 days, you usually cannot claim from your buildings insurance policy.
NOTE: You can arrange cover with your provider if you let them know beforehand.
Who needs buildings insurance?
Anyone who either owns their own home or lets out a property should take out buildings cover policy. If you have a mortgage (which most homeowners do), its highly likely that your bank will make this a condition of the loan. Tenants don’t need to take out buildings insurance – this is the responsibility of the landlord (although in this case, specific cover known as landlord insurance exists).
Tenants renting a property from someone can cover themselves in a different way, however. There is a specific type of cover known as tenants’ insurance.
Buildings Insurance and Leasehold Flats
Those who own a leasehold flat may not need buildings insurance – there may already be a policy in place from landlord of the freehold. If you do have questions, make sure to ask a solicitor. Buildings cover may have to be arranged if you have organized to buy a share of the freehold from the landlord. While this is possible individually, it is often cheaper when you take out a block policy.