Table of Contents
- Building or Dwelling Insurance
- Contents Insurance
- When Home Insurance Gets Complicated
- Why Buy Central Heating Insurance For Your Home?
- Ways To Protect Garden Possessions When You’re Away
Homeowners buy home insurance so they can protect themselves against major financial losses if an event were to damage their houses or the contents in the houses.
Building or Dwelling Insurance
Buildings insurance provides cover against damage caused to the structure of your house. Whilst not a legal requirement, most mortgage providers will insist that adequate cover is in place before giving you a mortgage.
What does buildings insurance cover?
Buildings insurance covers the permanent structures or fabric of a building. Some policies also cover ‘permanent’ fixtures such as fitted bathrooms, fitted kitchens and built-in wardrobes. Separate outbuildings such as sheds and greenhouses may also be covered but this will vary between providers and individual policies. In addition, some buildings insurance policies may include a level of personal liability cover for injury to individuals sustained while visiting or working at your property. A comparison website can be used to filter individual requirements as well as finding the cheapest deals.
Policies typically cover damage caused by a set list of eventualities. These usually include things such as:
- Storm and flood damage
- Subsidence, heave and landslip
- Riot and vandalism
- Falling trees
- Impact by vehicles
Damage due to regular deterioration or wear and tear is not usually covered and many policies will have other exclusions built in.
What are exclusions?
Exclusions are specific eventualities that are not covered by the policy. Common exclusions include losses arising from war or acts of terrorism, cold damage to exterior pipes and radioactive contamination from nuclear fuel or waste. Exterior fences and outbuildings are not always covered against storm damage or inclement weather and many policies do not provide cover against damage resulting from DIY.
In addition, many buildings insurance policies will have an excess. This is the amount that you have to pay towards any claim you make. It may be the first £100 of any claim with the exact amount varying between different policies. The amount of excess payable can also vary on the same policy depending on the nature of the claim. A claim for subsidence damage could, for example, carry a steeper excess than a claim for storm damage.
How much is insured?
Buildings insurance is usually supposed to cover the costs of completely rebuilding your house. This could be an entirely different figure than the market value of the house. Some insurers offer unlimited cover. This means the full costs of rebuilding your house will be met if the house is effectively destroyed. Others will cover a set amount. This will be based on the type, age and size of the house, as well as its location. The cover will represent an estimate for the costs of rebuilding the house.
This part of a home insurance policy covers the personal property of the people who live in a home, such as clothes, furnishings, appliances, and other personal items. Cars are not included. If a robbery occurs, then this part of the policy will pay for the items stolen.
If a person borrowed money from a lender to purchase a home, the lender requires the homeowner to purchase home insurance to protect the lender’s investment. The home policy coverage must be at least the amount of the mortgage.
Ways to Reduce Premiums of Home Insurance
- Shop around
- Increase the amount of deductible
- Don’t insure the price of the building lot, just the replacement value of the house structure
- Use the same insurance company for cars and home policies
- Install dead bolt locks, security systems, and good fire alarms
- Have no claims against the insurance company and maintain a good credit rating
Finding Home Insurance
Finding a home insurance policy can be as easy as perusing the internet. There are online insurance quote services which compare insurance company rates. Also check consumer guides and with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for information on various companies. Talk to local agents to find an agent that is comfortable to work with.
Things to Watch for
- Read policies very carefully. Check to see what is covered in the policies and what is not. Home insurance policies have exclusions and exceptions, and some will place caps on the amount they will pay for personal property items.
- Make sure the insurance company is financially stable.
When Home Insurance Gets Complicated
Home insurance can provide great peace of mind. However, not all home insurance is straightforward. There are some situations where getting the right insurance is a little trickier than normal.
At Risk of Flooding
One of the knock-on effects of the floods that blighted northern England and Wales in September is to highlight the issue of insurance for homes that are designated to be at risk from flooding. The government and the Association of British Insurers are trying to find a workable solution. The ABI wants a legally binding levy placed on all home insurance policies to create a pot from which payment for flood damage will be taken. The government has yet to agree to the suggestion.
In the meantime, insurers who already cover flood-hit properties must continue to offer policies to those homeowners. However, the homeowner is likely to have to pay a high price for coverage. Insurers are not obliged to offer insurance to new customers in at-risk areas. Homeowners in these locations should seek advice from the National Flood Forum or contact a broker that specialises in difficult-to-insure properties.
Typically, the property manager of a building in which several flats are leasehold is responsible for taking out buildings insurance to cover damage to the exterior of the building and grounds. Each individual leaseholder would then take out individual contents insurance for their flat. In some cases the property manager may not have buildings insurance, particularly if he is looking to sell the property. It is dangerous not to have buildings insurance on such a property and the leaseholders may need to purchase a joint policy between the, There are specialist brokers that can arrange this.
Working from home has many benefits. You have the comforts of home without the distractions of an office. It enables you to be flexible, working around children’s schedules, for example. And, of course, the commute is pretty short. However, homeworkers may find that they need to review their home insurance policy to cover what is now their place of work. Most contents insurance polices (those that cover the items in your home against theft and/or damage) only cover you for basic ‘administrative’ items in the home. If you have business equipment you should consider ‘all-risk’ policies that cover loss and damage for such items in the home and if you take them out of the property to work (such as a laptop).
Furthermore, if you have clients visiting your home as part of your work, you may want to investigate public liability insurance, which protects you against any loss or damage arising from clients visiting your property.
Home Emergency Cover
Home emergency cover is an insurance policy that protects against emergency situations concerning your home. The most common type of emergency cover people seek is central heating insurance, but you can also find policies that insure against losing your keys or vermin infestation. Such policies can be useful but need to be balanced with the cost of repairs in your area. For instance, the cost of calling out a plumber is much higher in London that in rural areas, so an emergency policy might not be the most cost-efficient for those living in the countryside. There are a lot of levels of emergency cover, so check things like a cap on the number of emergency call-out or premiums dependent on the age of your boiler.
Compared to modern buildings, listed and historical buildings are expensive when it comes to repairs or rebuilding work. Home insurance premiums for such properties reflect this. However, like emergency cover, there are a number of variables when it comes to insurance for listed buildings that homeowners should look into when sourcing a policy. For instance, if the building is part of a group of historical buildings, does it have historical value which rebuilding would compromise, and does it have a commercial function?
Why Buy Central Heating Insurance For Your Home?
Central heating cover and boiler cover are the same thing and they provide protection against exigent circumstances that cause a home central heating system to break down. Heating cover helps to avoid high cost repairs of broken down boiler or central heating systems.
Getting Heating Cover
You have two choices how you go about getting cover. Use an online comparison site that compares prices and product features. Or you could simply take a policy on offer from the suppliers listed below, they will also feature on any good comparison site.
- Domestic & General
- Scottish & Southern
The cheapest option may not be the right policy for you, make your decision on what is important in terms of service to avoid disappointment.
Note though, you do not have an obligation to your current gas and electric suppliers to use their heating insurance cover.
Why you need central heating insurance?
Heating cover assures that a qualified engineer will fix whatever problem arises and assures that the entire service is already paid for by your heating cover. Hence parts and labour are covered.
Heating cover also grants peace of mind should your heating system break an awful time like the winter when being without heating and hot water is a dreaded circumstance.
Without heating cover, you risk a long wait for a qualified engineer and will no doubt end up with a much higher bill than the annual cost of a heating cover policy. Hence you have piece of mind on what your costs are.
What heating (boiler) cover will suit me?
Two main products are available:
- A service contract – Includes annual service and maintenance inspection. Service contracts are subject to VAT at 15%.
- An insurance product – An additional annual service and inspection could be added with extra charge. FSA regulated insurance products are subject to an insurance premium tax (IPT) at 5%.
An important step is deciding if you would like full heating system coverage or coverage for just the boiler and the controls. Boiler only products are usually cheaper but offer less cover.
When comparing prices, it is important to check what is covered. Heating cover products vary by price, exclusions and the extent of coverage.
Gas appliance care and maintenance
If you aren’t qualified to fix your own heating system, do not attempt to because you could endanger yourself and the life of your heating system. It is better to call someone registered with CORGI.
Purchasing a CO detector will make early detection possible and could save your life.
FSA Regulated Products
Heating and boiler insurance is deemed an insurance product and as all insurance policies are regulated by the FSA, your policy is.
Who are the FSA?
The Financial Services Authority is a non-governmental body with statutory powers awarded by the Financial Services and markets Act of 2000. One of their aims is to help ensure retail customers get a fair deal.
Ways To Protect Garden Possessions When You’re Away
When you’re planning that sunny summer holiday, you naturally think to lock up your home to keep your belongings safe. But don’t forget to take care of the possessions in your garden. It’s good news that contents insurance policies can cover the things in your garden too . After all, the last thing you want after a long, well-deserved break is to find your lawnmower, tools and kids’ toys gone from your shed or garage.
Knowing you’re covered by your home insurance policy will help to give you peace of mind. But to avoid having to make a claim on your home insurance, you should do all you can to deter thieves. If you don’t have a policy in place yet, look online to find contents insurance quotes.
Here are six ways to help deter thieves from striking in your garden this summer:
Tip 1: Check your sheds and outbuildings
Secure your shed and outbuilding doors with at least one heavy-duty hasp and closed-shackle padlock, or padbolt. You should also check that the hinges are solid, otherwise it won’t be secure, no matter how strong the lock is.
Tip 2: Lock away tools
It may not be the first thing you think about, but items in your garden could actually help a burglar to break into your house. If thieves get their hands on a crowbar or hammer they could use them to enter other parts of your home – so lock them away in a sturdy lockable box or cage. Also don’t leave ladders lying around as they could help them gain access to the top floors of your house.
Tip 3: Fit an alarm
You can buy alarm systems specifically for garages and sheds – these can either run off a battery or your mains power supply.
Tip 4: Consider installing a camera
The sight of CCTV on the side of your house, overlooking your garden, could be just what you need to put off thieves. And if you do become the victim of crime, the video footage could be used as evidence to show the police.
Tip 5: Fit security lights
Garden lights that detect movement can be a good way to deter a burglar. Install them around the outside of your house and near outbuildings.
Tip 6: Secure ornaments and expensive garden equipment
Some gardens have expensive items, like statues, large plants or water features. If they can’t be stored away, you might like to consider something more permanent like setting them in concrete or using land anchors.
Taking precautionary steps like these could really help to make your garden that little bit more secure. But with the best will in the world, thieves can still strike, so make sure you’re covered with adequate contents and buildings insurance.