The Guide to Home Insurance
House insurance is a requirement when buying your property with a mortgage in most cases but choosing the right one for you can be confusing as there are so many options out there. As security experts we often encounter homeowners who have to make a claim on their insurance as they have unfortunately become a victim of burglary. Take a look at our guide below to help you choose the right home insurance for you and ensure you are fully protected should the worst happen.
What is home insurance?
Home insurance is split into two categories, buildings and contents cover. Building insurance insures you for damages to the structural elements of your home including roof, walls, windows but also your kitchen and bathroom suite if they are fitted. You can make a claim on your buildings insurance in the event of a disaster such as a flood, fire, subsidence, falling trees and more.
Contents insurance will cover your possessions in your home such as expensive gadgets, big furniture, jewellery etc. Contents insurance will also pay out in an event of a tragedy such as a fire and flood but it will also cover you in the unfortunate event you are burgled.
How much insurance do I need?
As a rule of thumb you should always take out enough buildings insurance to cover the total rebuild of your home, this would be the total of your mortgage valuation. There are unlimited coverage insurances out there but this could work out more expensive for you.
The best way to work out how much contents insurance you will require is to make an inventory of all the things in your house of value and total up the costs, be wary that some insurers limit the amount they will pay out on a single item and may leave you will a downfall if that particular item cost more money. Another thing to be wary of is if your contents insurance will only pay out at the items current value, for example if your iPad is a few years old it will only pay out for its current value rather that the original price you paid for it, this is called indemnity insurance. New for old insurance will cover you for exactly that a new replica of what was damaged or stolen.
Unusual property owner?
If you’re the proud owner of a listed building or a cute country cottage with a thatched roof you will need to take out specialist home insurance, listed building insurance or thatched roof home insurance. These types of home insurances and often more expensive than regular home insurance so ensure you take that into consideration before putting an offer down on your chosen property.
What can invalidate my home insurance?
There are a couple of reasons you may be refused your claim on your home insurance which can be absolutely gut-wrenching after paying out for it each month. Follow these steps below to ensure you don’t accidentally invalidate your home insurance:
- As Locksmiths this is unfortunately something we come across regularly. You risk invalidating your home insurance if you don’t change your locks when you move house, this is because if you are burgled with no sign of forced entry, a burglar used a key for example you won’t be able to make a claim. Whilst we’re on that note, never leave a spare key ‘hidden’ outside your home for the same reason. Find out more about changing your locks when you move here!
- Leaving your home empty for long periods. That’s right if you leave your home unoccupied for longer than 30 days you won’t be covered under your standard home insurance policy. This is because your home is at a greater threat of burglary, vandalism, squatters etc. Find out more about Securing an Empty Home and unoccupied home insurance here!
- Not telling your insurer about changes. If you make any changes to your property you may be at risk of invalidating your home insurance or receiving a reduced amount. Always update your home insurance, your insurer will provide you with information on what you need to keep them informed on.
- An incident occurring. Even if you don’t plan to make a claim make your insurer aware of any incidents that have occurred as it may hurt you should you wish to make a claim in the future.
- If you have a lodger in your home you need to let your home insurer know.
- Inflating contents value. If you over inflate the value of your contents your insurance provider could void your claim due to misinterpretation. Don’t forget to make a inventory of your valuables or use an online contents calculator to work out how much your contents are worth.