Home insurance – Buildings vs. contents cover

Your home is likely to be the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make so it’s important to insure it properly. Having the right type of cover in place means your property will be protected for a range of incidents, from burglary to a burst pipe.

Buildings insurance explained
Buildings insurance covers the permanent fixtures and fittings of a property, such as baths and toilets, fitted kitchens, and even decorations such as wallpaper. It may also provide cover for your garage, greenhouse or garden shed, but policies vary so it’s important to check the small print to be sure.

Although buildings insurance is not a legal requirement, if you own your home, most mortgage lenders will insist you have cover in place, so it should be considered essential.

Contents insurance explained
Contents insurance is designed to protect your belongings against loss or damage. As a general rule, it will cover anything that can be taken with you if you move home, such as kitchen appliances, bedding, furniture and valuables.

It can be difficult to assess exactly how much contents insurance you need, but a simple way to do so is to go through each room and add up everything you would need to replace in the event of a claim.

There is no legal requirement to have contents insurance but is certainly worth buying to ensure you are not left out of pocket if you lose or damage any of your personal possessions. It can often be combined with buildings insurance.

Cover for renters
If you rent your home, it will be your landlord’s responsibility to arrange buildings insurance for the property, so you will not need to take out your own policy. However, if you want to ensure your belongings are protected, contents insurance can be a sensible purchase.

Check for exclusions
As with any insurance policy, it is important to check for any exclusions that may apply. These will vary depending on the insurer but can include general wear and tear or damage that happens gradually over time, such as damp or rot.

Contents insurance will usually have a single item limit which means any belongings worth more than this, such as musical instruments or jewellery, may need to be named separately on the policy. You may also have to pay extra to add personal possessions cover to your policy to ensure your belongings are protected when they are taken outside the home.

Buildings vs contents cover