The Differences Between Buildings and Contents Insurance

The Differences Between Buildings and Contents Insurance – Even though some people may have overlooked it, insurance is seen as essential for home owners and home-renters up and down the UK. But not everyone needs exactly the same type of policy and the needs of those who actually own a property and those who are tenants ate typically different. There are two common types of home insurance – called buildings and contents insurance, and some people will need one but not the other, while others might need both. There also various cover extras and methods of getting a good deal which could be of use to anyone looking for a new policy.
Buildings insurance covers the actual structure of the home – that is, the bricks and mortar of your house as well as what are typically referred to as ‘fixtures and fittings’ – meaning toilet installations, bathroom and kitchen units and light fittings. On some policies things like greenhouses, exterior garden walls and fences, plus a driveway and gates, might also be covered, but if in any doubt the best option could be to check the policy and ask the insurance company concerned.
If you are renting a house or flat the actual owner of the property should have cover in place for the building, meaning tenants only normally need contents insurance which covers property they have in the building. A mortgage provider might try to sell a buildings insurance deal to someone taking out a home loan with them, but they are not obliged to follow this option and may want to get a quote from another firm. Those who own and live in the same building generally go for a joint buildings and contents insurance deal from the same firm.
Generally speaking, a buildings insurance deal will pay out for a range of circumstances, and some of them are present in virtually every policy while others are not so common and may depend on the house itself and where it is. Typically a policy will protect against damage caused by fire, flood, theft and vandalism. Also accidental damage to things like pipes and glass in windows may also be covered for, although internal glass, ie in doors, might not be. One thing which has caught out many a DIY enthusiast over the years is that damaged caused by amateur home improvements may well not be covered on a normal policy.
Contents insurance covers the actual general belongings in the home – from books and CDs to a jewellery collection to electrical goods, clothes and kitchenware. Normally all of this will be covered up to a set limit and there may be a single item limit, meaning the insurer will not payout over a certain level for a single item. You will be asked to effectively estimate the total cash value of what is in your home and it could pay to make an accurate assessment to avoid the chance of being over or under-insured. Again your belongings will be protected against theft, fire, flood damage in most cases and there’s normally the option to insure a section of items against accidental damage – meaning a payout would be forthcoming if you spilt a cup of coffee on a laptop for example.
The cost of buildings and contents insurance can be kept low by making sure security is tight in the home. So you could try upgrading door locks and fitting an alarm and security lights, for example, all of which could see a premium cut with a number of policies.