Compare building insurance quotes

Posted by mustard.co.uk on August 7th, 2019

Buildings insurance covers you for damage done to your home which is why it’s vital to find the right policy for your needs.

But what do you need to think about and how much should cover cost? Here, we’ll explore all the options so you know exactly what to look for.

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What is buildings insurance?

Buildings cover is a type of home insurance that covers the structure and any fixtures and fittings of your home – it’s basically the walls, roof, and anything that you can’t physically remove, such as bathroom suites and kitchen cupboards. Policies will typically cover you for any damage caused by:

    • Fire
    • Flood
    • Storms
    • Burst pipes
    • Subsidence
    • Vandalism.

Policies vary by provider so it’s always worth double-checking if something is part of the standard policy or if it’s an added extra – such as:

    Legal expenses cover – this covers solicitor and court costs if someone injures themselves on your property and takes you to court. You could also get legal fees covered if you decide to sue any workmen for substandard work.
    Home Emergency cover – like it says on the tin, this is designed to protect you from emergencies that make your home uninhabitable. These policies usually come with a 24-hour helpline as standard, which is handy if you have to deal with burst pipes in the middle of the night.
    Accidental damage – one to consider if you’re accident prone (or someone in your family is). This will cover you for accidental damage and therefore much wider cover than the perils listed in a standard policy.

Is it a legal requirement to have buildings insurance?

If you have a mortgage, your lender will insist that you have buildings cover as part of your contract.

If you don’t have a mortgage, then it’s not compulsory to have it but it’s worth considering whether you would be financially able to meet a huge repair bill following a fire, flood, storm or other significant event.

If you’re a tenant, then your landlord will be responsible for insuring the building – but if the property comes unfurnished, it’s worth considering taking out your own contents insurance.

How does buildings insurance work?

Buildings insurance is there to cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home – so you need to make sure that the sum insured (the amount of cover) is enough to re-build your home from scratch.

It might sound like a drastic scenario but fire, flood and storm damage can destroy a building in a short space of time.

If you need to make a claim, remember to have your policy number to hand as this will speed up the initial process. If your home’s been burgled or vandalised then you’ll also need a crime number.

When you speak with your insurer they’ll ask you questions to help you assess the damage which will then give them an idea of how much it will cost to repair. If you’ve got any photos, this can also help.

If there’s been large scale damage – such as fire or storm damage, then your insurance provider may send a loss adjuster to calculate the cost.

How much is buildings insurance?

How much your building insurance should cost depends on several factors, such as:

    The type of building you live in – the age and style of your property influences the cost of your premium, for example a new build that uses everyday building materials will cost less to insure than an 18th century listed building.
    The area where you live – some locations such as those prone to flooding will increase premiums as there’s greater risk of you making a claim.
    Rebuild cost – the more expensive it is to rebuild your home, the pricier your premium is likely to be.

Remember, the rebuild cost isn’t the same as the market value of your home. To help you work it out, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) have teamed up with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to create a free and simple calculation tool – for more, visit: ABI, rebuilding cost guidance.

Insurance for listed buildings

There are three grades of listed building:

    Grade I – these are classed as properties of ‘exceptional interest’ – only 2.5% of all listed buildings fall into this category.
    Grade II* – these make up just under 6% of all listed buildings and are considered to be ‘of more than special interest’.
    Grade II – these properties are classed as being of ‘special interest’. The majority of listed buildings (just under 92%) fall into this group.

Source: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/listed-buildings/

If your home is a listed building, then this is likely to increase your premium because you’ll be required to use particular materials and methods of building that aren’t so common today.

Most mainstream insurance providers do cover ‘non-standard’ homes such as those that are listed or made of unusual materials like a thatched roof – but there may be exclusions which mean your home isn’t as well covered as you’d like.

If this is the case, you may want to consider a specialist provider to ensure you’ve got appropriate cover. To find out if a property is listed, visit: Historic England, registered historic buildings.

When should I get buildings insurance?

You should take out buildings insurance when you exchange contracts on a house. If you’re selling, then the property is your responsibility until you’ve completed – so it’s best to make sure you’re covered right up until everything’s been signed, received and keys handed over.

How to reduce the cost of your buildings insurance

Buildings insurance may be an essential part of home ownership, but that doesn’t mean you want to pay over the odds – here are some ideas to keep costs down:

    Don’t auto-renew – if you already have a policy in place then make sure you take advantage of the renewal window by searching and comparing new quotes – chances are there’s a much better deal waiting for you out there.
    Increase your excess – increasing your voluntary excess (the amount you put towards a claim) could lower your overall premium – just ensure you can still afford it if you have a couple or more claims.
    Boost your no claims – think about what you claim for because the more claims you make, the higher your premiums are likely to be. That’s not to say never make a claim (it’s why you have cover after all) but think about whether it’s worth claiming for small repairs, especially if your excess is going to reduce the payout.
    Increase home security – lowering the risk of being broken into can help lower premiums.
    Think of your location – homes in some locations are simply more expensive to insure – for example, if the area is prone to flooding or subsidence. While you may be limited when it comes to location, it’s important to consider your surveyor’s report if it flags up any concerns.

How to compare buildings insurance to get the best deal for you

When you do compare quotes, it’s always a good idea to have an idea of what your priorities are – such as whether you want to pay extra for home emergency or accidental damage cover.

Remember that while price is important, it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Cheap policies might score highly when it comes to affordability but sometimes those pricier policies or those with extra features actually work out better value in the long-term.

At mustard.co.uk, we understand how important it is to get home insurance right. That’s why you can take your time and compare online, or if you prefer to get a quote over the phone – just call us on 0330 022 4684 and one of the team will be happy to help.