Home Insurance Cover
Home insurance policy covers for residential buildings in the United Kingdom have been well tried and tested in the insurance industry. Over decades, UK insurance companies have developed policy wordings which define a wide range of perils, they are prepared to provide home insurance cover against. These typically include: fire, theft, malicious damage, impact, escape of water, flood, accidental damage, subsidence landslip and heave. Regardless of whether you are buying a buildings stand alone insurance policy, or a combined buildings and contents policy, you must understand and check the levels of cover provided. Despite the seemingly ‘standard set of perils’ for today’s home insurance products, there are sometimes several differences in the types and levels of cover, between any two individual home insurance policies. Always read the insurers Keyfacts document carefully, it will help you to understand the type of cover on offer.
But most people simply want to know ‘Will I be covered if my widget breaks or is damaged or is lost or stolen?’ To answer this very obvious question, home owners may need to check firstly whether that particular ‘widget’ is covered under the buildings insurance section or contents insurance section of their policy. Generally there is no crossover between the covers provided between buildings and contents. If an item within the home is lost or damaged and the homeowner has no contents insurance to cover it, he would not be able to use his buildings insurance policy to make a claim against it and of course visa versa. A home insurance claim can only be entertained by an insurer if it is represented under one of the written sections of the homeowners insurance policy. It is important to establish what items fall under the description of contents and what is the definition of items that should be insured as buildings. Its a good idea to have a firm grasp of this before you attempt to obtain quotations.
Many combined or ‘comprehensive’ home insurance policies have a wide range of home insurance covers, to create as much ‘value’ included within the price. Often the core policy wording is bulked out by additional or peripheral covers ‘Standard cover’ for contents generally includes all perils such as fire, theft, malicious damage, impact, flood and escape of water, subsidence and land heave – and an element of accidental damage for electrical items such as television and computers. Full or extended accidental damage cover can usually be added for an additional premium.
Lets look at a few examples… Standard cover does not always give full accidental damage cover for contents either in the home or outside of the home. For example if the home owners spills paint on his carpet, he would only be covered in the event of a valid claim, where there is full Accidental Damage Cover in place. Standard cover for buildings home insurance, will usually give cover for the perils listed above and also provide an element of accidental damage cover for glass, mirrors and fixed sanitary ware. However standard cover for buildings will not give cover in the unfortunate event of putting putting a foot through the ceiling or perhaps having a non combustible fire. In all examples, claims must be fully valid and may be investigated by insurance companies to verify and quantify the amount of a claim.
Where differences become apparent in the levels of home insurance cover provided, is in the’All Risks’ section of the policy. This section is designed to cover valuable items away from home (such as wedding rings or expensive sports equipment like golf clubs). Most insurance companies will cover almost any valuable item, however the section limits and section headings may vary enormously between different insurance companies. It is also usual to further split All Risks cover into, two further sub sections:
Specified & Un Specified. The insurer will then tell you the value thresholds for each section and you must enter a sum insured for both. This can be quite tricky, some insurers may say that in the unspecified section for example, they will cover all items with a single article limit of £1500, others may reduce this amount to say £750.00. Be aware, that if using an online quote comparison engine, you may have to revisit the All Risks cover section before effecting cover to make sure, the insurer of your choice is providing you with the cover you require. Also, please bear in mind, If you are seeking specific cover for unusual or extremely valuable items away from home, it is sensible to speak to a broker to make sure they are included and listed on your policy document. You may be asked to furnish a valuation to substantiate any item.
Sometimes the’peripheral covers’ may vary between policies. For example whereas some policyholders may see value in having legal expenses cover home emergency assistance, other residential homeowners may not at all. Whilst some home insurance policy may offer these at a discounted rate, you will soon see your policy premium increase if you elect to include many of these sections. There is no doubt that some of these peripheral covers are very valuable, home emergency for example, which typically includes protection in the event of internal heating failure, a broken cooker or a blocked drain) can prove very useful. The list of specific add on protections is quite wide and it is often in these covers that you see the greatest variance in the scope of the cover on offer and the liability limit provided.
For homeowners with non-standard buildings, it can sometimes be difficult finding a policy with the suitable levels of cover. The term ‘non-standard’ generally refers to residential homes that fall outside most insurers description of construction and usage, such as property that has been purchased for rental purposes or property that is listed or perhaps with a thatched roof. Home owners with these scenarios often have to contact a specialist insurance provider and obtain variants on a standard home insurance policy such as buy to let insurance, listed building insurance, holiday home insurance and second home insurance.
Although these policies should contain many of the same ‘tried and tested’ perils contained in most standard residential policies, additional ‘warranties’ will probably be applied depending on the type of risk These will place the onus upon policyholders to take proactive actions to meet the terms of the policy wording in order for the policy to become valid in the event of a claim. For instance owners of empty properties may be required to check on it in regular intervals, owners of flat roof apartments may need to undertake roof repairs and landlords may not be able to rent out their property to certain types of tenant. Basically a home insurance company is assessing the different types of risk and the increased likelihood a claim will occur based on the special risk information outside the norm. So for unusual building types, finding the most appropriate insurance covers may mean extra work in checking the policy wording carefully. You may need to enlist the assistance of an insurance broker, to source a specialist policies that provides the appropriate levels of cover required.
When comparing home insurance covers you should always read the Policy Wording. This will list out all of the types of covers so there is no misinterpretation or confusion – in the event of a future insurance claim. The policy wording may specifically include and exclude certain perils, if it’s any of the major perils it should be pointed out to you, so there can be no doubt what is covered and what is not. Policy wordings are broadly similar between home insurance companies. You may find that the levels of small print will induce snow blindness and boredom. However it’s critical that you are fully alert and aware of the finer details, as they directly reflect the levels of protection you are buying. Home insurance policies will come with a cooling off period, in case you change your mind.
For a Home Insurance Quote contact Assetsure. We are able to offer insurance for a wide range of UK property types including nonstandard construction