Home Insurance: The Most Frequently Asked Questions

December 21st, 2015
Home Insurance: The Most Frequently Asked Questions

If you are planning to buy home insurance, then it is wise to know a little bit about it in advance. A fair idea about the pros and cons before investing in home insurance would help in proper decision making. It also prepares you to take a plunge into the investment for insuring your home. Find here, some of the commonly and frequently asked questions. These are routine queries which the customer faces during the process of buying home insurance.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance is a type of property insurance that covers private residence against damage due to natural or man-made reasons. The insurance policy may offer separate or combine cover for the building and its contents. It may also have liability insurance for accidents within the house or the policy territory.

Is home insurance really necessary?

Taking out adequate Home insurance offers protection for your property and its contents. You can take out buildings insurance, contents insurance or both. See our beginners’ guide to home insurance.

What is the definition of buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance offers protection for the permanent structure of your home and any fixtures and fittings that are permanent and not free standing; this might include fitted furniture, including kitchens and sanitary ware.

You will not be able to get a mortgage unless you have proper home insurance cover. Even if you are the sole owner of the property, you will need suitable protection for your investment or real estate.

What does contents insurance mean?

When you take out contents insurance it means your personal possessions and valuables are covered against accidents, theft and loss.

Can I buy a joint buildings and contents policy?

If you need both buildings and contents insurance buying a joint policy will almost certainly be the cheapest and most convenient way to insure both. You must first take into account factors such as whether you own or rent the property and what you are looking to benefit from home insurance.

What is the meaning of personal possessions cover?

It is one kind of an add-on in the home insurance policy. It includes cover for all the portable items which one uses outside the house and overseas. The items included are handbags, mobile phones, tablets and the likes. It is also known as a risk add-on or risk extension. Insurance providers will charge extra payment for such a modified cover or the away from home cover. However, every portable thing will not be covered in this cover. You need to check with your home insurance provider about what is included under this add-on and what is not.

How should I work out the cost of rebuilding my home?

The rebuild value of your home is different from the market value if you were to put it up for sale. You can get a quote on our site and it will give you a choice of entering your own cost for rebuilding or getting an estimate; either way you can get help from a calculator on the Building Cost Information Service website.

I have heard that there are extra charges for an unoccupied property. Why?

Yes! If your house remains unoccupied for a period of 28 consecutive days or more than your service provider may charge extra money on the actual premium amount. This is because an unattended property is susceptible to the risk of thieves and damage of any kind.

How can I estimate the value of my contents accurately?

You can easily do this by using our contents calculator. You can go around your home and estimate the value of all the items in each room – allowing for new for old cost – and total them up to make the full cost of replacing. Read our article for tips on getting it right.

How do I know if my locks conform to the correct standard?

In the part where it asks you about the type of door and window locks you have during the quote process, there are images which will help you to compare the locks in your property with the accepted standards. You can read and see more here about locks and home insurance.

What are the exclusions of a home insurance policy?

Your home insurance policy is a comprehensive cover for the building structure or its contents or both. Despite that, there are number of exclusions which you need to consider while buying the insurance. The providers may not cover the following:

High value items: Most insurance providers have a set limit for the cover of high value possessions. If there is any possession that is costlier than this amount like expensive jewellery or electronic gadgets then you need to consult your policy provider and check if they offer a cover for it or not.

A home based business: Most providers will not entertain any liability that crops up from a home based business. Damage to the business equipment may not be covered under the home insurance policy unless there were special provisions declared while buying the policy.

Subletting the home: Losses incurred due to theft or other damages may not be covered if you let or sub-let your home. It is considered only if there are signs of a forced entry into the house.

Pair of furniture: You may not be able to get a payoff if a single part of the pair or furniture set gets damaged. The policy cover will pay only for the cost of replacing the damaged part.

The exclusions may vary with the policy provider. So, better check with your insurer while buying the home insurance policy.

What do you mean by an excess?

Excess is the amount you pay towards any claim made by you on the home insurance policy. In case of a £1200 claim, if you have £200 excess then you receive only £1000 from your provider.

There are two types of excess:

Compulsory excess: This amount is decided by the provider. You have to pay this much in the beginning of the policy and the amount cannot be modified.

Voluntary excess: In this case, the amount of the excess is entirely your choice. If you have extra funds, then you can pay voluntary excess. Your insurer will charge lower premiums if you pay a larger excess.

Where can I find out in which year my property was built?

You can give the first year in which the foundations were first laid; you don’t have to list any subsequent rebuilds, renovations or extensions. If you are not aware of the year, check with your mortgage valuation or a previous survey. If you’re still unsure, you can enter your closest estimate.

How can I cancel my policy?

You can cancel by informing your insurance provider. This you can do by writing to them with the exact reasons for discontinuation of the policy. It is advisable to have a new policy in place while or before saying no to an existing home insurance cover.

There are two ways of cancelling a home insurance policy:

Cancel during the ‘cool off’ period: The first fourteen days of the policy are known as the cool off time. This period starts from the day the policy is due to begin or the day when you receive the policy documents. When you cancel it during the ‘cool off’ time, you get a full refund of the money you have paid except the set up charge which would be around £15.

Cancel after ‘cool off’ time: If you cancel any time after 14 days, then you are entitled to receive a pro-rata refund. This means a refund amount proportionate to the number of days you kept the policy and the actual policy period. Again, the administration or set up charges would be deducted from the refund amount. This may range between £30 and £50. Any kind of discounts offered by the provider will also be deducted.

What is as an accessible window?

These are any windows, skylights or roof windows such as a first-floor window above a flat-roofed, single-storey extension. They are windows that are located at ground floor or basement.

How can I find a cheaper home insurance provider?

You need to compare the policy of all home insurance companies. Check in details the discounts they offer, the exclusions laid out by them, their compulsory excess and their premiums. Depending on the type of cover, the policy amount may vary. For comparing various home insurance providers in the UK, you can rely on FreePriceCompare.com. Contact us by calling on 0203 4757 476 or hit the Compare Online button on the home insurance page of our website.

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