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What is home insurance?

The best way to answer, 'What is home insurance?' is to explain what happens if you don't have it or you have a policy that doesn't cover all the things that could go wrong.

You will sometimes see home insurance called 'house insurance'. Storms, fires, floods, broken pipes and other incidents can affect any building you live in. Whether that is a:

From roof damage caused by high winds down to subsidence issues with your foundations or walls, your home can suffer significant problems. Without home insurance, you would face substantial costs for repairing or rebuilding your property.

Also, the same issues and burglaries or accidental damage can result in you having to replace expensive equipment, such as furniture or personal belongings you keep within your property. For this reason, home insurance usually includes two essential elements: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

Many homeowners buy policies that include both (combined home insurance), but you can separate them if necessary. You could even have buildings and content insurance with separate providers.

Let's look at what these two types of home insurance cover in more detail and when you may only need contents insurance.

Quotes from over 50 top UK insurance providers

How much does home insurance cost?

The cost of home insurance in 2024 depends on several factors.

The essential thing when comparing home insurance quotes is to find a policy that covers all your risks and potential financial outlay in case of a problem. This is why a home insurance comparison tool is helpful.

It provides insights on the cost of policies that cover buildings and contents - combined or separate - to the level you need.

Put it this way, cheap home insurance policies can leave you inadequately covered. You could face a brick wall when you come to make a claim. The payout could be less than you need, or you may find your home insurance company declines, and your entire claim

However, you don't want to pay too much for home insurance either, with types and levels of coverage that are not relevant to you. So, how do you find cost-effective home insurance that's a great fit for you? Read on to find out how Insuro could open the door to home insurance quotes tailored to your needs.

Why compare with Insuro?

What home insurance do I need?

There are three main options for home insurance or house insurance, premium:

Buildings insurance covers the bricks and mortar of the property itself, as well as its fixtures and fittings. Buildings insurance is the cover you would need to rebuild your home or repair due to damage.

Contents insurance, also described as household insurance, covers your belongings inside the house, although what it includes varies according to the policy.

Combined home insurance includes building and contents insurance and is usually the best option for homeowners, although you can separate them if necessary. You could even have your buildings and content insurance with different providers.

Why is home insurance essential?

Having home insurance means you won’t be left vulnerable and facing a massive bill if the worst should happen. Damage caused by extreme weather, accidents, loss and theft can result in you having to replace expensive equipment, furniture or personal belongings.

Most homeowners’ insurance policy is a safety net they will never use. However, with over 1.2 million house insurance claims being made daily in the UK and insurers paying out an average of 8 million pounds in response, it’s vital to be prepared.

Estimates show that nearly six million houses, almost a quarter of the homes in Britain, are currently uninsured. Despite the importance of home insurance to protect our houses and possessions, many Britons refrain from spending money on this vital cover.

If you need to make a claim, it’s vital to know that your house insurance has the right level of coverage. Finding a quote for your home insurance is straightforward at Insuro. We help you avoid the lengthy and confusing process of visiting many insurance provider websites. Click here to compare home insurance policies in seconds. Please read our guide to learn more about home insurance coverage.

Quotes from up to 50 top UK providers

How does home insurance work?

Your home insurance should cover you against loss, theft or damage from fire, flooding and storms to your home and possessions. Unlike car insurance, a legal requirement for cars driving on public roads, home insurance is not mandatory in the UK.

However, if you are taking out a mortgage to buy a property, you are likely to find that the loan won’t be approved without building insurance because of the risks: storms, high winds, fires, floods, broken pipes, and other incidents can all affect the building you live. The most common claim for building insurance is “escape of water,” such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath. It can be surprising how much damage this can cause. For example, if the house is empty for several days during a holiday, a leak could cause significant damage. Damage caused by the subsidence of the foundations or walls can also incur considerable costs.

How Content Insurance Works?

Regarding contents insurance, policies vary widely in their coverage. When comparing home insurance policies to protect your belongings, carefully check what is covered. You may have to pay extra for accidental loss or damage or to substitute an item of particular value. On the other hand, some providers may offer a more comprehensive service, such as home insurance covering pet damage. You need to look at the finer details to determine what is available. For example, do you want a policy that replaces items in your freezer and the freezer itself?

How to choose a policy?

The best way to choose the right home insurance policy is to make sure your possessions equate to the value of replacing them. Items for replacement may include furniture, electrical appliances, IT equipment, carpets, curtains, jewellery, and clothing. Some policies also cover bicycles, mobile phones or play equipment, including arrangements for them outside the home. Ensure you read the details when comparing home insurance quotes to protect your contents outside the home. 

Theft accounts for around 12% of all insurance claims, and you will need contents insurance to claim your possessions after a break-in. It is estimated that 1 million fewer homes have contents insurance than in 2013, and thousands more need coverage for the actual value of the belongings in their home.

Checking your policy

It’s also essential to check whether your policy offers new or old insurance for lost, stolen or damaged items. If you make a valid claim, your insurer will cover the cost of a new model of a similar value to replace the old one. Such coverage is known as a like-for-like replacement, in which the policy will provide a brand-new equivalent of a like-for-like item. However, some policies only offer you the amount the item might be worth now. If it is several years old, its value and price will have decreased since you first purchased it.

Home insurance comparison tools, such as the one found at Insuro, are helpful: they allow you to find the level of coverage you need. Researching and checking your policy before buying means you won’t risk any claims you need to make being rejected whilst ensuring you only pay a little for types and levels of cover that aren’t relevant to you. It’s also essential to compare home insurance quotes each year, as policies often see sharp increases in renewals.

When do I need home insurance?

Home insurance for renters 

Home insurance for a renter is just as crucial as for homeowners. When you are a tenant in rented or shared accommodation, you should ensure you have contents insurance to protect your belongings from theft or accidental damage, whether you are a student or renting a house or room.

Tenancies, including rooms in living accommodations provided by colleges and universities, usually include building insurance cover in a rental agreement. However, you should still consider the best home insurance policy to cover the contents. When renting a property, you are responsible for protecting your furniture, computer equipment and valuables.

You should always check with the accommodation provider, letting agent or landlord to see if you are responsible for ensuring the rest of the household contents. Items might include kitchen appliances or televisions, which you could be liable to replace if lost, damaged or stolen.

Home insurance for landlords

Although home insurance for landlords is not compulsory in the UK, checking that your property is covered is always advisable. You’ll want to ensure that your investment has coverage in the case of fire, flooding, subsidence or other issues. Insurance will include cover for the property’s structure, the permanent fixtures and fittings, outside spaces and any household items you have put into the property, such as furniture, carpets and appliances.

A standard home insurance policy might not be valid if you rent your property to tenants and need to claim or apply for a buy-to-let mortgage. Consider specialist landlord insurance to ensure you have the necessary professional level of coverage.

How much does home insurance cost? 

Home insurance costs vary across providers and other parts of the country. The average premium in London and the Southeast has risen by 6%.

The huge rises in the cost of living during 2022 have put pressure on so many household budgets that it is not surprising that we are trying to cut costs wherever we can. Home insurance, however, is not to be considered non-essential. If incorrectly covered, you could be facing much more significant charges to repair or rebuild your property or due to theft or accidental damage if you don’t have an appropriate policy.

Even with an increase in average premiums, it is still possible to find a cost-effective solution. Around 6 million people may be overpaying for their insurance, and if they reduced their payments to the cost of the average premium, they would save £1.2 billion a year.

Home insurance comparison tools are vital in finding the level of coverage you need. Checking your policy before purchase means you won’t risk your claim being rejected whilst ensuring you don’t pay too much for types and levels of cover that aren’t relevant to you. It’s also essential to compare home insurance quotes each year, as policies often see sharp increases in renewals.

However, determining the cheapest home insurance is sometimes the best move. Some affordable home insurance policies can leave you needing to be more adequately covered. When you come to make a claim, you could find that the insurance company rejects the claim or is willing only to pay a proportion. According to recent research, as many as 80% of properties in the UK have insufficient insurance.

Where to compare home insurance?

So, how do you find the cost-effective home insurance that provides the coverage you need?

Comparing home insurance at Insuro can open the door to home insurance quotes tailored to your specific needs. Search up to 50 different home insurance providers and increase your chance of finding a great deal by comparing multiple companies using a single form.

Does Home Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Most standard home insurance policies in the UK provide coverage for flood damage. With the unpredictable British weather, safeguarding your home from flood-related risks is essential. Your policy should cover damage to your home’s structure and belongings inside in case of a flood.

It’s vital to delve into the specifics of your policy regarding flood coverage. Some providers may offer optional flood coverage for an additional premium, allowing you to tailor your approach to your unique needs. It’s also important to know any specific terms and conditions related to flood coverage, such as floodplain restrictions or requirements for flood-resistant building materials. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions about your coverage and ensure that your home has adequate flood protection.

Does Home Insurance Cover Fire Damage?

Home insurance typically covers fire damage caused by accidents or unforeseen events. Whether it’s a kitchen mishap resulting in a small blaze or a more significant incident that engulfs a substantial part of your property, your insurance should cover the cost of repairs or, if necessary, complete home rebuilding. Additionally, it should extend to replacing damaged possessions, ensuring you can recover from the fire’s devastating impact.

However, ensuring that your policy encompasses structural damage and personal belongings is imperative. Take the time to assess the value of your possessions and confirm that your coverage amount is sufficient to replace them in the event of a fire. This proactive approach ensures peace of mind in the face of fire-related risks.

Does Home Insurance Cover Theft and Burglary?

Home insurance in the UK commonly includes coverage for theft and burglary. In the unfortunate event of a break-in, your policy should help replace stolen items and cover any damage caused during the intrusion.

Keep a detailed inventory of your belongings, including photographs and estimated values, to maximise this coverage’s effectiveness. This documentation assists the claims process and is a valuable reference for ensuring adequate coverage for your possessions. Additionally, some policies may offer options for additional security measures, such as alarms or security cameras, which could reduce your premiums while enhancing your protection against theft and burglary.

Does Home Insurance Cover Accidental Damage?

Accidental damage coverage is typically an optional add-on to your home insurance policy. This extra coverage is invaluable for unexpected mishaps around the house, such as accidental spills, DIY disasters, or unintended damage to your property or belongings.

When considering whether to include accidental damage coverage in your policy, weigh the potential risks against the additional premium cost. It’s worth discussing this option with your insurance provider to determine if it aligns with your needs and preferences.

How Does Location Affect Home Insurance Premiums?

Your home’s location can significantly influence the cost of your home insurance premiums. When determining your policy’s price, insurance providers consider several factors related to your area.

Crime Rates: Areas with higher crime rates may result in increased premiums. This is because homes in these areas may be more vulnerable to theft and vandalism, making them riskier to insure. Conversely, living in a low-crime neighbourhood can lead to lower premiums.

Flood Risk: If your home is in an area prone to flooding, your insurance premiums may be higher. Insurers consider the flood risk when setting rates. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s important to note that flood coverage is often included in standard policies. Still, your specific location’s flood risk can impact the premium.

Local Rebuilding Costs: The cost of rebuilding your home in case of damage or destruction is another critical factor. In more expensive areas, where construction costs are higher, insurance premiums may also be elevated to reflect the increased replacement expenses.

By understanding how location affects your home insurance premiums, you can make informed decisions when selecting coverage and find ways to mitigate costs.

Does UK Law require Home Insurance?

Unlike car insurance, home insurance is not a legal requirement in the UK. However, protecting your valuable investment with adequate coverage is highly recommended. Most mortgage lenders make it a loan condition to have home insurance. This requirement ensures that the property can be repaired or rebuilt in the event of damage or loss, safeguarding your investment and the lender’s interest.

While it’s not legally mandated, it’s a responsible and wise choice to have home insurance, considering the uncertainties that can affect your home and possessions.

What’s the Difference Between Buildings and Contents Insurance?

Understanding the distinction between buildings and contents insurance is crucial when choosing the right coverage for your home.

Buildings Insurance: This type of insurance covers the physical structure of your home, including the roof, walls, floors, and fixtures. It also includes essential systems like plumbing and heating. Buildings insurance ensures that your home can be repaired or rebuilt in the event of damage or destruction.

Contents Insurance: On the other hand, contents insurance protects your belongings inside your home. This includes furniture, appliances, electronics, clothing, and personal items. Contents insurance helps replace or repair these items if damaged, destroyed, or stolen.

The easy way to compare home insurance 

Protecting where you live (and its assets) is essential for your peace of mind and managing any financial impact when things go wrong. However, as each home is highly individual, finding the right home insurance policy can seem tricky. Providing access to an easy-to-use online tool for comparing home insurance policies and costs is essential to us. Our website is quick and straightforward to compare insurance policies that match your specific needs.

Why compare home insurance with Insuro? 

Comparing multiple websites can be a lengthy and confusing process. However, finding a quote for your home insurance is easy at Insuro. When you compare home insurance policies, results pages will provide quotes from a carefully selected panel of home insurance partners. Comparing saves you from visiting many different insurance provider websites, and the results will show the different levels of coverage offered by these home insurance policies.

The quotes shown are all from leading insurance providers with trusted claims services. We offer an independent, unbiased service free from ownership or investment from insurance companies.

We could also help you to save money. By comparing home insurance quotes at Insuro, you could reduce your annual premium by as much as £146. In the current climate, making these savings on your bills is more important than ever.

How to use our home insurance calculator 

To use this simple online comparison site for home insurance, you will need to make sure you have some basic information ready:

Once you have entered these details into our Home Insurance cost calculator, you can compare quotes in seconds.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which home insurance is the best?
  2.  When is home insurance required?
  3.  How do home insurance claims work?
  4.  What is a “like-for-like” replacement?
  5.  What is the excess in home insurance?
  6.  Does my home insurance cover my car?
  7.  What about home insurance and pets?
  8.  When are the exceptions to property damage claims?
  9.  Are items I take outside the home covered?
  10.  What about high-value items?
  11.  Does home insurance cover accidental damage?
  12.  Do I need home insurance or landlord insurance?
  13.  Can I get home insurance and boiler cover in the same policy?
  14.  What do I need to know about home insurance and working from home?
  15.  Can home insurance pay for roof replacement?
  16.  Can home insurance pay for roof leaks?
  17.  Will home insurance cover dampness?
  18.  Do I need home insurance for an empty property?
  19.  Do I need specialist home insurance near water?
  20.  Do I need home insurance to cover building work?

1. Which home insurance is the best?

The simplest way to find the best home insurance is to use a comparison tool. At Insuro, you can compare the policies and prices of up to 50 providers in one go, allowing you to choose and purchase your home insurance quickly and easily. Our home insurance comparison site increases your chances of finding the best deal by comparing quotes from multiple companies in one form.

2. When is home insurance required?

Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement in the UK like car insurance. In practice, however, you cannot secure a mortgage without taking out a policy. It can be hard to see the benefits of home insurance, particularly if you’re a tenant rather than a homeowner, but it is a good use of money. With it, you could avoid huge, unexpected bills to repair your home or replace its contents.

3. How do home insurance claims work?

When you find home insurance quotes, consider the claims process and how easy it is to claim with your chosen provider. Each provider may have a different approach, but in most cases, an adjuster will need to inspect the damage or review the loss before you are offered a sum of money in response to your claim. Your policy’s terms and limitations will determine a claim’s success.

You will only receive quotes from experienced and efficient insurance providers. The panel makes home insurance claims easy to understand and stress-free. When you find online home insurance quotes, check that they offer the cover for your property and the contents you need.

4. What is it like for a replacement?

Most contents insurance will allow you to replace an old item with a new one. So, if an item is broken beyond repair or stolen, you can get a new replacement by claiming it on your home insurance policy. Claims of this nature are also called like-for-like replacements. However, you need to check that this is the case by reading the policy documents carefully. Some providers will only pay for an item’s real–time value–the amount it is worth when it is damaged, lost or stolen.

5. What is the excess in home insurance?

Excess is the threshold for your contribution when you submit a claim on your property or contents insurance. An example of excess could be the first £200 of any claim. Excess can cover damage to your building or loss of belongings due to a burglary. Excess levels in home insurance policies vary, and in many cases, you can adjust them to what you think is appropriate. Claiming on your policy has a knock-on effect on the cost of home insurance, as a higher excess can lower your policy’s cost.

6. Is my car covered by my home insurance?

Some policies may include claiming if your vehicle is damaged when stored on your property or driveway. Separate Vehicle coverage is essential if you plan to drive the car, and getting a different vehicle policy is advisable, even when stored in a garage attached to your home. 

7. What about home insurance and pets?

You will need a separate pet insurance policy for any household animals. You also need to ensure you have declared your pets on your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure any claims you need to make are valid. Make sure you read the small print before you decide which is the best home insurance policy for you: some policies may cover pet damage, but many specifically exclude accidental damage caused by chewing, scratching, or fouling.

8. When are there exceptions to property damage claims?

Not all home insurance policies provide automatic cover for acts of vandalism or other malicious damage to property or contents. You might also want to consider whether your policy allows you to claim for acts of terrorism or civil disobedience if that’s relevant to you.

9. Are items I take outside the home covered?

If you want your policy to include reliable cover for household items, you sometimes use it outside your home. Such items include laptops, mobile phones, bikes and jewellery. Be sure to compare the options for contents insurance carefully to ensure coverage. Taking personal items away from home can be included as standard on some premium policies or as an added extra on other policies. 

10. What about high-value items?

By accurately assessing your possessions, you can be confident that the level of risk covered in your home insurance protects expensive belongings or property features. However, if you have precious items, you must find home insurance quotes that protect those items. Some policies have a limit on the amount that you can claim for each item.

11. Does home insurance cover accidental damage?

Home insurance tends to include risks to your property and contents linked to the weather, crime and other everyday occurrences. What you may need to research when you compare home insurance, however, is whether your policy includes accidental damage, too. Unintentional damage is when you, someone in your household, or a visitor breaks an item or damages your building considerably. For example, accidental damage might include a broken window, door or an electrical product needing replacement. 

Generally, you can assume this risk is covered, but always check your home insurance comparison details carefully. Not all policies cover all types of accidental damage, and you will likely find that wear and tear and claims related to poor artistry are not covered. The same can be said for faulty items, even if you have accidental damage as part of your policy.

12. Do I need home insurance or landlord insurance?

It’s important to consider what kind of home insurance you need if you have a holiday home, an Airbnb or a rental property. Holiday rental is a specialist area of property insurance, and there are specialist providers of this type of coverage. The level and type of cover needed will be impacted by occupancy frequently, what contents you need to cover, and the building risks for any properties you rent out.

13. Can I get home insurance and boiler cover in the same policy?

Most policies will only include boiler cover as standard. Although your household insurance may protect you from damage, leaks or accidents related to your boiler, it’s unlikely to offer a replacement or maintenance due to wear and tear. Usually, building insurance doesn’t cover the cost of fixtures and fittings breaking down. However, you can buy a boiler and central heating cover as an add-on product.

14. What must I know about home insurance and working from home?

If you’re carrying out office work from home, it’s unlikely that you will need to arrange a specialist policy or inform your insurance company – most policies will include this.

It’s a good idea to check the office equipment and technology you use when working from home to ensure your contents insurance covers all items. Coverage checks are critical if you work in a garden office. Home insurance often covers the whole property, including the garden and any outbuildings, but a fundamental policy may not insure the contents of your garden.

You must inform your provider if you need to see clients or business visitors at home. They could consider additional visitors to your house as more of an insurance risk, so tell your provider to ensure this won’t affect a claim you may need to make.

15. Can home insurance provide coverage for roof leaks?

Most home insurance providers should cover the cost of repairing roof leaks under a building’s insurance policy. When leaks are due to extreme weather or a sudden event such as a falling tree or high winds, you should be able to claim to repair the roof. But you won’t be covered for leaks from normal property wear and tear.

16. Can home insurance cover a roof replacement?

Your policy will include replacing your roof if a storm or another unexpected event damages it. Otherwise, your homeowner is responsible for maintaining the top and the rest of the structure. It’s essential to check your roof and carry out maintenance regularly.

17. Will home insurance cover ‘damp’ and mould?

Damp, mould and rising dampness are all common problems in older houses in the UK. Unfortunately, most standard buildings and contents insurance policies will not cover any damage caused by ‘damp’ or mould. Insurance companies regard ‘damp’ as wear and tear; the homeowner must maintain the property.

18. Do I need home insurance for an empty property?

Most home insurance companies will cover an empty property for up to 60 days during the year. Anything that happens outside of the 60-day limit will not be covered. Coverage limitations exist because of the risk of theft and structural damage. For example, a pipe bursting with no one to handle the repairs goes up when a property is left empty for an extended period. It would be best to take out a specialist policy or add-on when your home will be open for an extended period due to travel or when you plan to sell.

19. Do I need specialist home insurance near water?

It used to be hard to find home insurance for a property near a river, canal or seafront because it carried a higher risk of claims for damage caused by flood water. However, flood insurance is often included as standard. No matter the standard terms, it’s always important to check the details of this part of the policy when your home is close to water.

20. Do I need home insurance to cover building work?

Home insurance is unlikely to cover the additional risks from structural building work, such as an extension or a loft conversion. Some policies may have a minor building works clause that covers smaller jobs such as rewiring or cosmetic work, but you should always tell your provider before the work begins to ensure that your coverage is still valid. More extensive renovations and projects may require an additional policy or specialist cover.

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