If your home is damaged or destroyed, building insurance will protect you from the costs of rebuilding or repairing it. It covers your home’s structure (e.g. It covers the structure of your home (e.g., roof, walls, windows, and all permanent fixtures and fittings such as fitted kitchen units or bathroom suites). Although policies may include garages, sheds, and greenhouses, they can also cover other items. Before you make a purchase, ensure that you review the policy to see if it meets your needs.
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Your buildings insurance will pay for the costs of:
- Restoring the structure of the building, including plasterwork and flooring
- Replacing fitted bathrooms and kitchens
- If necessary, drying out or decontaminating
- Alternate accommodation is available if your home is not habitable while repairs are made
- If the property is totally destroyed, rebuild it.
You should ensure that your buildings are properly insured. This is the maximum amount your insurer will pay if you file a claim. The building must be covered for the cost of re-building, not the price you paid for it or its current market value. The home rebuild calculator will help you determine the sum insured for your building. Your insurer should be able help you if you have further questions.
However, if your home isn’t of standard construction or a listed property you might need to hire a surveyor to estimate the cost of rebuilding it. You can find a qualified surveyor through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
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Your home is protected by building insurance policies. It covers damage from a variety of perils, including:
- Water damage and burst pipes, including frozen pipes
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Although building insurance covers many risks, it does not cover all. You should always read your policy to find out what is covered. Although exclusions can vary from one policy to another, they will usually not apply to you.
General wear and tear is the normal wear and tear that happens to your property over time.
Lack of maintenance can lead to damage (e.g. Roof tiles not being replaced, and the roof leaking during a storm).
Electrical or mechanical breakdowns, such as fridges that fail due to their end of useful life.
Restricted coverage when your home is vacant for a prolonged period of time, usually 30 to 60 days (as specified in the policy), or is let out to tenants
- Any amount that is greater than the policy’s limits
- Many insurers offer the following extensions:
Accidental damage to your structure: For example, drilling through a pipe or putting your foot through a ceiling.
Coverage for legal expenses – This usually gives you access to professional advice and covers legal costs associated with claiming compensation after an accident that wasn’t your fault. It also covers the cost of taking ordefending any other specific legal actions such as employment or neighbor disputes.
Home emergency assistance – This pays for the cost of calling in a tradesman to help with an emergency such as locking yourself out of your house. This will pay for the labour and repairs, and can include overnight accommodation if your home is not available.
How does an insurer decide the price of building insurance?
Calculating the premium for buildings insurance, insurers take into consideration a number of factors such as:
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- Rebuilding cost – This includes the size of your home and whether it is detached, semi-detached, or terraced. It also considers its construction method.
- Probability of a Claim – If your house is at higher risk, in an area that is vulnerable to flooding or is susceptible from subsidence.