Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the physical structure of your property in the event of damage or destruction.
Whether your property is damaged by fire, flooding, lightning, subsidence, theft, vandalism or even water damage, buildings insurance could help you pay for the necessary repairs and construction work.
Buildings insurance is essential, especially for homeowners or those looking to obtain a mortgage in order to buy a property. It is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home if it is destroyed or suffers damage.
Your policy should cover the full cost of rebuilding your house.
Buildings insurance is designed to help cover your home’s permanent structure, not its contents.This means the walls, roof, floors, windows and doors. While contents aren’t covered, permanent fixtures like fitted kitchens, plumbing, cabling, baths, sinks and drains are protected too.
Do I need buildings insurance?
Despite everybody benefiting from buildings insurance, there are certain parties who will find this type of cover particularly vital, including:
If you have a mortgage, your lender will insist that you take out buildings insurance policy. If you’re looking to obtain a mortgage you are likely to be refused by a lender unless you also obtain buildings insurance.
For those who already own their own homes, buildings insurance is not compulsory, but you do need to realistically consider whether you could afford to repair or rebuild your home should serious damage or destruction occur. That’s why, for the majority of homeowners this type of cover is essential.
Buildings insurance for landlords
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to obtain buildings insurance, not your tenant’s.
What cover you should look for with buildings insurance?
- Fire – damage to the physical structure of your property caused by fire and smoke, as well as by lightning, explosion or earthquake.
- Storms and floods – storms and floods can cause significant damage to properties, inhibiting their future safety and destroying existing permanent fixtures.
- Subsidence – this is the downward movement of the land on which your property stands, which essentially leaves the soil beneath your property’s foundations unstable.
- Escape of water and frost damage – water expands as it freezes, so it can burst water pipes, resulting in structural property damage. Look for a policy which covers damage to fixed water, heating and drainage installations, including washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators.
- Escape of oil – oil can escape from a defective fixed oil-fired heating installation, and can cause smoke and smudge damage via vaporization.
- Theft – damage caused to your property by people attempting to break into your home for purposes of theft. It might not be covered if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished, however.
- Vandalism – damage caused to your property by vandals, such as broken windows and graffiti. You won’t be covered for any vandalism that occurs if your home is unoccupied or unfurnished, however.
- Collision – look for a policy which covers damage should your home be struck by road or rail vehicles, aircraft, aerial devices, and anything dropped by such vehicles. Also look for a policy which covers for damage caused to your property by animals, but not by domestic pets or insects.
- Falling trees or branches – should a tree or branch fall naturally and cause damage to your home, insurance will cover the cost of repairs. However, you won’t be covered if the damage was caused by tree felling (the process of cutting down individual trees), lopping or topping.
Get it right - avoid these common mistakes
Overvaluing or undervaluing
Your buildings insurance policy should cover the cost of rebuilding your property from scratch – not its current market value.
Building material costs
The cost of building materials and labour tends to rise each year. However, many people who live in the same property for years fail to take this into account when calculating their buildings insurance cover. If you haven’t increased the value of your policy for a long time you could well be under-insured.
How to calculate your buildings insurance
You need to ensure that you’re covered for the true cost of rebuilding your home not the price that you paid for your home or its current resale value.
This rebuild cost is called the sum insured, and should include the cost of architects’ fees, builders’ fees, demolition (if necessary), and site clearance costs.
You can choose your level of cover in two ways:
- With a sum-insured policy – calculate how much cover you need and the insurer calculates your premium on that basis.
- With a bedroom-rated policy – there’s no need to calculate exact costs. Instead, cover is based on the number of bedrooms your property has (subject to maximum amounts of cover).
If your home is not of 'standard construction' (ie, brick walls with a tile roof), you may need to get in touch with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and ask a chartered surveyor to prepare a valuation for insurance purposes.
Issues that could invalidate your buildings insurance
- Keep your insurer informed – if you’re making any adjustments or improvements to your home – from knocking down walls to adding walls or carrying out loft conversions, you need to let your insurer know, as this can affect the level of required cover.
- Moving home? – changing the address on your insurance policy isn’t enough. Let your insurer know about your house move and re-address the level of cover you realistically need for your new property.
- Flood risk – if you know your home is at a higher risk of flooding due to its location, it’s best to let your insurer know from the outset.
- Never under-insure – artificially lowering the ‘sum-insured’ can invalidate your mortgage terms and result in you being under-insured in the event of damage or destruction of your property.
Obtaining Kwik Fit Insurance Services buildings insurance for your property helps give you and your family peace of mind. It’s good to know that, should the worst happen, you’ll always have a roof over your head.
Buildings insurance quote
If you are looking for a quote for your home, please get a quote here
† 10% of customers buying Home Insurance online with us between 1st June 2015 and 31st August 2015 received a price that was at least 20% cheaper than the price they would have been offered had they called us. Discounts depend upon individual circumstances, level of cover & payment method. (Excludes optional extras).