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7 top home insurance questions answered

We want to ensure you have the right home insurance to suit your needs. To help you, we have put together a useful guide to answer the questions we are most frequently asked by our customers.

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1. How much buildings insurance cover do I need and how do I calculate it?

The cost to rebuild your home is different to its market value. It’s important that you don’t undervalue your home rebuild costs as this is the figure that your insurer will use should the worst happen. If you’re unsure of your rebuild figure the Association of British Insurers can help you assess the cost.

Top tip: If your home has special architectural features, or if you live in a listed building, contacting a chartered surveyor could give you peace of mind over its value. Visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors to find a surveyor in your local area who’ll be able to advise you.

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2. What is the difference between buildings and contents cover?

Home buildings insurance protects the actual structure of your home. This includes the fixtures and fittings of your home, such as the roof, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows, any other permanent items and certain outdoor structures.

Home contents insurance covers your personal possessions such as clothes, furniture, electrical items and valuables. Essentially, the things you’d take with you if you were to move home.

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3. What is included under accidental damage cover?

If selected and on your policy schedule, accidental damage will cover you for loss or damage of an accidental nature. With building insurance, this could cover an incident such as drilling through a wall into a pipe while your contents insurance might cover a red wine spill on a carpet. Normal wear and tear is excluded.

Top tip: If you want to find out more about what is considered normal wear and tear, our home maintenance guide can help.

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4. How much contents insurance do I need?

The easiest way to work out how much cover you need is to go round each room in your home and add up the value of all the contents. Remember to include the contents of your garage, shed and garden if you have one.

The Association of British Insurers offers a useful checklist to help you add up the value of your contents in each room.

Top tip: To remain adequately insured, don’t forget to increase cover when necessary - for example when you buy any new items of value.

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5. How do I know what types of locks I have?

A main door must be secured by a 5-lever mortice deadlock or a key-operated multi-point locking system. The lock you choose needs to be able to be locked and unlocked from both the inside and the outside.

Have a look at your locks to see if they feature the British Safety Standard Kitemark symbol, which will be stamped on the locking plate. Many homes will have locks compliant with BS3621 which is the insurance industry standard.

Top tip: For more information on doors and locks visit our security standards page.

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6. What happens if I am under-insured?

If you don’t provide accurate figures for your buildings or contents insurance you may have issues if you ever need to make a claim, and may not receive the pay-out you might have expected. This could risk leaving you financially worse off as a result.

Top tip: If you ‘over-insure’, you may end up paying more than you need for your policy, so it’s always worth making sure your figures are as accurate as possible. Seek guidance from your policy provider if in doubt.

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7. How do I know when my property was built?

Knowing when your property was built is important. You can find out the date by checking your mortgage valuation or any survey that’s been carried out previously. If you’re still unsure then provide the approximate year of its construction.

Top tip: If your home is similar to a neighbour’s they might have useful details of the construction date.