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Who needs building insurance?

If you own a property, whether it is a house, flat or another type of building, you will need to insure it against the cost of repairing damage from fire, flood or subsidence, and the cost of rebuilding should it be destroyed.

Could you get a better deal on your building and home insurance?

Our home insurance comparison service is free and simple – and could save you money when you compare and switch.

What is building insurance?

A building insurance policy protects you by covering the cost of repairing or even rebuilding your home if your home is damaged or destroyed. 

It includes cover for your home’s structural elements such as your roof, walls, permanent fixtures in your kitchen or bathroom as well as additional structures such as a garage or shed. 

How do I find the best building insurance?

There are many companies offering cheap building insurance, although your decision on which buildings insurance policy to buy should not be based on price alone.

You can find the best deal on building insurance by shopping around to compare costs and cover by using the Uswitch online insurance comparison tool. This will help you look at the buildings insurance deals across the market and help you narrow down what cover you need and how much you need to insure your home.

What is the difference between building insurance and contents insurance?

Building insurance and content insurance are two parts of what is generally referred to as home insurance. 

The main difference is that while building insurance covers anything that is part of the physical structure of your home, contents insurance covers your possessions inside it such as furniture, appliances and jewellery. 

Find out more about the different types of home insurance

Do I need to get building insurance?

Typically, you’ll need to get building insurance if you:

Have a mortgage: Most lenders require you to get building insurance for the duration of the term of your mortgage.

Are a landlord: If you rent out a property that you own, it’s your responsibility to carry out any repairs due to damage to the building. These can be expensive, so a building insurance policy can protect you from having to pay out-of-pocket. 

Own your home outright: In instances where you own a property, but don’t have a mortgage, while you’re not legally required to take out a building insurance policy, it may still be a good idea.

Is building insurance a good idea?

Housing repairs can be costly, so building insurance can give you peace of mind that if anything should happen, you won’t be hit with an unexpected expense. 

Damage caused by fire, flood or storm can be extremely costly to set right and run into tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of pounds. By taking out an annual or monthly building insurance policy for a couple of hundred pounds you know you will be covered for the rebuild or repair costs.

Could you get a better deal on your building and home insurance?

Our home insurance comparison service is free and simple – and could save you money when you compare and switch.

What does building insurance cover?

Building insurance will typically cover any repair or rebuilding costs in the event that your home is damaged or destroyed by:

  • Fire

  • Severe weather such as storms or flooding

  • Subsidence

  • Vandalism

  • Vehicle collisions

  • Water damage 

  • Temporary accommodation during repairs

Find out about Working from home insurance

What should I look for in building insurance?

Different insurers may offer cover for different events, so make sure you go through your building insurance agreement to know what exactly you are covered for. 

Find out about insurance cover for subsidence

When it comes to building insurance, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy that works for everyone. However, there are a few common things to keep in mind when comparing building insurance:

What type of damage is covered in my building insurance policy?

Different people may need different types of cover depending on where they live and what kind of property they have. For example, if you live in a wooded area, falling tree cover might be something you need. Or if you live in an area prone to flooding, then you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for that. 

If you live close to a river you may find that your insurer imposes specialist terms, such as extra protection in the form of a flood gate or barrier around your property. You may also find that some forms of damage are excluded, or that the excess (the amount you pay before the payout kicks in) is higher. Check your policy details to see what you are covered for before you agree to the insurance contract.

Can I get temporary accommodation to live in under my insurance policy?

If your house is severely damaged and uninhabitable while it’s repaired, you could be covered for the cost of getting temporary accommodation while the repairs are carried out. There are usually limits to how much cover you get, so make sure you know how much you’re covered for. 

Does building insurance carry a no claims discount?

A no claims discount (NCD) is a familiar item in motor insurance. It is a discount you get for not having made a claim over a given period of time, usually 12 months. This can result in your insurance provider rewarding you with a lower premium, though it is not guaranteed because your premium is based on other factors as well. 

Some building insurance companies include an NCD within their policy terms – others do not.

Find out more about how No claims discounts work with home insurance

What is a compulsory excess on building insurance?

The excess is the minimum amount you have to pay when you make a claim on your building insurance policy. In some cases you can also agree to pay an additional voluntary excess, which helps lower your monthly premiums but means that your overall payout will be slightly lower. 

Compare home insurance and buildings insurance quotes with Uswitch

How much does building insurance cost?

What you pay for your building insurance depends on several factors:

  • Your claims history.

    You’ll likely be charged a higher premium if you have a history of making several claims on your home insurance

  • Your address

    The location of your home is an important part of how much you pay for building insurance. If you live in an area that is more prone to flooding, for example, you’ll pay more. 

  • Building materials

    Homemade using a lot of wood will likely cost more to insure that there is a higher risk of fire. 

  • Security features

    Adding security features such as burglar alarms and surveillance cameras can help cut down your premiums.

  • Your level of cover

    If the cost to rebuild your home is higher due to expensive materials or non-standard construction you may have to pay more for building insurance. 

How can I cut the cost of building insurance?

Here are some simple ways to pay less for your building insurance:

  • Get an accurate rebuild estimate

    By using a surveyor to get a precise figure on the rebuild cost of your home, you can make sure you don’t pay any more than you have to.

  • Pay annually

    When you pay for your insurance in monthly instalments, you also end up being charged interest. You can save money by paying for your building insurance policy with an annual lump-sum payment.

  • Pay a higher excess.

    Typically, the higher the excess you pay, the lower your premiums will be, but make sure that you can afford to pay the excess.

  • Avoid auto-renewals

    If your policy is nearing its full term, shop around to see if you can get a better deal. If you do find a deal you like, you can also speak to your current insurer and ask them to match or beat the deal you’ve found elsewhere.

  • Hold on to your no claims discount

    Try to avoid claiming on your building insurance for smaller repairs that you may be able to afford.

  • Install security features

    Adding security features like burglar alarms, or smoke alarms can help bring down the cost of building insurance. 

Learn more about how to make an insurance claim on home insurance

 How do I calculate the rebuild cost of my home?

You can hire a professional surveyor to calculate the cost of rebuilding your home. 

Although this will cost you, it may be worth it to get an accurate estimate that helps ensure that you don’t pay more for building insurance than you must. 

Top ten home security tips

Is there a difference between the rebuild cost and market value of my home?

Yes. The rebuild cost of your home is limited to any costs, such as materials and labour costs, incurred to physically reconstruct your home from scratch if it were destroyed.  It is commonly known as the ‘buildings sum insured’.

The market value of your home also includes the value of the land it is constructed on, as well as any value it derives from its location such as proximity to schools, commercial areas, parks or public transport. 

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