Home and contents insurance comparison

24th July 2020 3 min read

Home and contents insurance comparison

You can take out separate buildings and contents policies with different insurers, although this generates more admin and there's often a discount if you stick with a single provider and combine them.

If you’re a homeowner with a freehold, you’ll probably want both. If you're a renter, then buildings insurance is your landlord’s responsibility, but you'll need to arrange a contents policy.

What cover do I need if I own my home?

Home insurance protects your property and possessions inside and out from unwelcome and costly events such as fire, storms, floods, subsidence, theft and legal liability. For greater peace of mind, you can add optional extras, such as accidental damage cover.

All home insurance policies carry some exclusions, so check the small print. These usually include wear and tear, acts of terrorism, frost damage and leaving your home unoccupied for more than the agreed number of days.

What is contents insurance and why should I have it?

Contents insurance protects the contents in your home and garden from damage and loss caused by events such as fire, theft, floods and accidents.

For our customers, this can include replacing belongings with new items and covers home office equipment, food in your freezer, money and travel tickets.

Is contents insurance really necessary? This depends on what you own and whether you can afford to meet the cost of any losses yourself. It’s worth noting that we generally have more things than we think.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average UK household now owns £35,000 worth of stuff 1, yet alarmingly more than a quarter have no contents insurance.

To make sure you have suitable cover, write down what it would cost to replace your possessions with new, like-for-like items to get a general idea of your contents value. Would a basic contents policy be enough? Or do you need to boost it with optional add-ons?

What insurance do I need if I rent?

You might think contents cover is just for homeowners. Not any more, according to The Tenants Voice, a community interest company. People who rent deserve the same amount of protection when it comes to cherished items kept in the home.

The English Housing Survey 2017 to 2018 2 shows one in five households in England now live in the private rented sector – and contents cover is designed to suit a range of different circumstances.

With our Tenants and Renters Insurance, there’s no limit on the total we'll insure your belongings for and up to £2,000 per single item. The policy protects your gadgets, cash, clothes, furniture and food in your freezer at your home. If you move, you can take your policy with you.

Should I have any specific tenant cover?

To decide on your level of contents cover, itemise your possessions and total their worth as you would for a standard contents policy. Keep your receipts and serial numbers safe; you’ll be glad you did if there’s a break-in or fire.

If you rent a furnished property, you may also be liable if you or a guest accidentally damage your landlord’s furniture. Some insurance providers offer tenants’ liability cover that could help you save your deposit in the case of damage.

Without cover, repair costs are usually deducted from your deposit.

What cover do I need if I’m a landlord?

There’s no legal obligation to have landlord insurance, but lenders usually make it a requirement of a buy-to-let mortgage.

A conventional household policy may not cover everything you need to protect your property, so landlord insurance is recommended if you want more cover against things like the perils of non-payment of rent or damage by tenants.

Landlords should consider getting buildings and contents insurance, landlord’s liability cover should a tenant or visitor injure themselves in your property, and tenant default insurance or rent guarantee insurance to safeguard your rent if your tenants fail to pay.

This differs from loss of rent cover if your property becomes uninhabitable owing to an insured event such as a fire.

Consider landlord add-on options

If there’s insured damage to your property and your tenants can’t stay there, our Landlords Insurance can arrange and pay for accommodation or reimburse you for any lost rent until your house is repaired.

If alternative accommodation cover is a requirement in your tenancy agreement, this cover can help alleviate any unexpected costs.

Suzanne Osei lives with her husband near Aberporth and rents out an 1800s townhouse. She says: “I’ve made sure we have accidental damage cover for things like bathroom sinks and shower screens. Home emergency cover for the heating and boiler has proved invaluable over the winter. There have been lost keys on occasion, so I’ve made sure we are protected against this as well.”

Even if you have an excellent relationship with your tenants, disputes can come up, so take legal expenses cover.