Home Insurance for Buildings
This will cover the actual building, but not necessarily outbuildings such as sheds, or garage, or fences. Having building insurance cover is usually a condition of the mortgage for home owners.
If looking for cheap home insurance it is worth remembering that a lower price it may mean a higher excess, which is the amount you have to pay before the insurance cover kicks in.
Questions to ask include whether cover includes the cost of alternative accommodation should the building be so severely damaged that it cannot be lived in while repair work is carried out. It may also be worth asking about whether the policy includes legal fees, as this is usually an extra item.
Another extra on home insurance policies that may be worth considering is emergency cover which provides for immediate, urgent repairs to make a property safe or weather proof if there has been some unexpected event that has caused damage.
If you want to pay by monthly instalments how much extra is the policy going to cost? It may be that what at first sight looked like cheap home insurance quotes are not quite so cheap once you add in the extra cost if the insurer charges extra for monthly payments.
The policy may also have exclusions in the fine print where certain types of damage are not covered. Again this is something that should be checked.
These policies may also have both an excess and exclusions but should cover both accidental damage and theft. Many people underestimate the replacement value of their possessions so it is worth making a list of everything you own, from jewellery to furniture to the contents of the loft, garage or freezer then you will be able to come to a more realistic value of your possessions.
Remember also, that insurers are likely to reduce the amount paid out on a claim for loss or damage of possessions for “wear and tear”. It will not necessarily be the full cost of replacing items with new ones.
Buildings insurance is usually required by mortgage companies as a condition of lending and we all want our essential monthly outgoings to be as low as possible.
So the first rule for ensuring cheap home insurance is to shop around and not necessarily to use the insurer recommended by the mortgage company.
If low cost home insurance is what you need there are other ways to ensure it is as cheap as possible.
Firstly, inadequate door locks can increase the cost of cover. It is worth ensuring that all exterior doors, both front and back are fitted with five-lever mortise deadlocks which are considered to give better protection from burglary. Windows, too, should be fitted with secure locks.
Secondly, keep up to date with home maintenance. Insurers are more likely to consider offering low cost home insurance if the property is kept in good condition. It is also true that what started out as a small repair in the early stages can turn into something large and expensive if it is ignored and allowed to deteriorate so that the damage spreads further afield.
To maintain consistently cheap home insurance, take steps to protect the building from damage. Loft and cavity insulation, for example, can not only reduce heating costs but also keep the building at a temperature where there is less risk of burst pipes in a particularly freezing winter.
Keeping guttering and drains clear and clean will also help to prevent damage to the fabric of the building.
Subsidence is another issue that can be difficult and expensive to correct and can do extensive damage to a building.
The two main causes are collapsed drains and tree roots that can undermine the foundations.
Large trees near to a house can be particularly deadly if there has been a dry summer and the ground has dried out and shrunk because a thirsty tree has sucked out more than the usual amount of moisture. While trees can be an attractive feature in a garden it is better to ensure they are planted far enough away from the house that the roots – which can spread further than the above-ground canopy of the tree – are not within reach.
Many towns in the UK have rows of old terraced streets. They can be attractive places to live, offering slightly more interior space than a new build but they can also require more maintenance, which is fine for DIY types with the skill to do the work.
One vulnerability, however, is that their underground pipework is generally made of earthenware if it has not been replaced with more modern pipework made of flexible, plastic materials. Over time, old drains will collapse, leading to underground leakage and damage to the foundations of the house.
Finally, homes are more vulnerable to burglary at Christmas when there are expensive gifts around, so it is worth looking for a contents policy with unlimited cover to allow for the risk.