The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.
No single insurance provider is the cheapest or best for everyone, but some home insurance companies stand out for the best combination of good customer reviews, features and cheap quotes. We've assembled a list of reputable, cheaper home insurance providers by analysing data from over 50 UK brands. Here are the best of the group.
- Top house insurance companies NI
- Compare NI home insurance
- House insurance NI cost
- What does NI home insurance cover?
House insurance NI companies
Not all UK home insurers offer coverage in NI. However, there are still many options available from smaller brokers through to large, international companies. One underwriter that stood out to us for NI was AXA. Not only do they offer cover directly, but they also work with a number or brokers and underwrite other providers' policies as well.
For example, here are some providers we've come across who work with AXA. We mention this because we think the odds are high you'll come across AXA in the course of your NI house insurance search, so it's good to be aware of their prevalence.
NI home insurance AXA-linked providers
- Quoteline Direct
- One Call
- Got You Covered
- Adrian Flux
In addition, other popular insurance companies are Hastings and Swinton, as well as household names Tesco Bank and M&S Bank home insurance.
Some things people like to look for are accidental damage, legal assistance and home emergency cover. Which companies are best at providing these for a cheap price? We analysed policies offered by our partner and found:
- Swinton Essentials was frequently the cheapest home insurance policy we could find (this may vary for you)
- Frontier stood out for being one of the cheapest policies to include buildings and contents accidental damage
- Homeprotect (AXA underwriter) stood out for being one of the cheapest policies to include legal assistance and home emergency cover
- One Call stood out for being one of the cheapest policies to include buildings and contents accidental damage, legal assistance and home emergency as standard
Compare NI home insurance
To get house insurance quotes for your NI home, click below and you'll be sent to a quote form that takes just a few minutes to fill out. You can opt to be contacted by phone if you have questions, if you'd like (it's optional). Regardless, you'll get online quotes in minutes, and you can complete your purchase with just a few clicks.
House insurance NI cost
According to NimbleFins tests, it can cost around £360 to insure both the building and contents of a typical property in Northern Ireland. You may think this is high—and you'd be right. A few years ago, some other sites ran the number and found that home insurance rates were about half of that figure. But home insurance rates have been rising and Northern Ireland residents suffer from notoriously high home insurance rates compared to the rest of the UK—they even pay more than Londoners, for similar properties!
Of course, prices can vary significantly for different types of properties in different locations, so you are likely to pay more or less than this amount. Regardless, you'll need to set aside a chunk of change to insure your home in NI.
We tested insurance rates for three properties in NI:
- 3 bed, 1 bath terraced house on Kimberly Street in Belfast (£170k rebuild)
- 2 bed, 1 bath flat on Wallace Avenue in Lisburn (£110k rebuild)
- 3 bed, 1 bath bungalow on Magheralone Rd in Ballynahinch (£160k rebuild)
The rebuild cost is important to note because it is a large driver of insurance premiums—but it's not everything.
As you can see in the table below, the rate for the Ballynahinch Bungalow in our test was higher than the terraced house in Belfast, despite the terraced house having the higher rebuild cost. In that case, both location and property type (terraced house vs bungalow) impact the cost as well.
|Cost of house insurance NI
|3 bed, 1 bath terraced house on Kimberly Street in Belfast (£170k rebuild)
|2 bed, 1 bath flat on Wallace Avenue in Lisburn (£110k rebuild)
|3 bed, 1 bath bungalow on Magheralone Rd in Ballynahinch (£160k rebuild)
Quotes gathered from our partner in August 2023.
What's the average cost of home insurance in Northern Ireland?
While it was previously reported in 2021 that the average price paid for home insurance was £182, prices have risen in the past two years. Our recent tests showed that typical properties could expect to pay close to £360, if they're choosing from amongst the 5 cheapest quotes offered.
Those after the absolute cheapest premium could find cover for an average of £260, which was the average of the cheapest policy offered for the three properties in our tests.
Which homeowners' insurance is the most expensive in NI?
Honestly, this depends and it can vary from one property to the next. That said, we should note that a lot of providers offer an array of policies—different tiers of cover from lower budget (with less cover) to premium (with more cover). So it's hard to say which particular company is most expensive when providers offer a range of options. The higher tier policies can cost noticeably more.
For example, we found Hastings Premier cost 34% more than Hastings Essential for the Belfast terraced property (the Hastings Direct policy includes Home Emergency and Legal Assistance, as well as much higher cover across a range of categories, e.g. 4X cover for building cover alternative accommodation, 3X cover for valuables, 2X cover for public liability, etc.).
Why is house insurance so expensive in Northern Ireland?
The cost of home insurance is noticeably more expensive in Northern Ireland—with many factors to blame. Broadly speaking, legal and regulatory differences lead to challenges for providers trying to operate in NI, resulting in fewer companies operating and less competition.
- Regulation: There are no Environment Agency surface water flood maps so insurers cannot easily assess the risk of flooding.
- Legal system: Insurance pay-outs tend to be higher in NI so insurance policies can be more expensive.
- Lack of choice: With NI being a relatively small market (e.g. smaller than Glasgow or Manchester), many providers have determined that it's not worth the effort of working with a different market.
We should note that when we recently did a price check of the market, a number of UK providers would not offer cover for our NI properties, including: getcover.co.uk, QuoteYourHome and Right Choice Insurance Brokers.
Are bungalows more expensive to insure in Northern Ireland?
Yes, in our tests we found that bungalows are more expensive to insurance in NI. While the exact premium will certainly vary, in our tests we found that a bungalow cost around 30% more to insure than a terraced house with a comparable number of beds and baths, and a similar rebuild cost.
Why is this the case? It could be that bungalows tend to be more remote than terraced houses, and as a result might be more prone to break ins. Plus a fire could take longer to notice and respond to, resulting in worse damage and higher claims.
What does it cover
Basic house insurance should cover damage from events like fires, break ins, floods, storms, escape of water or oil, subsidence, etc. This cover can protect your building, your contents, or both.
There will other possible coverages to look our for, such as accidental damage (to buildings and/or contents), alternative accommodation (useful if you can't live in your home due to a covered event like a fire), loss of keys, home emergency, legal assistance, and more!
Most policies specify which specific events are covered and which are not, so it's important to check policy documents to thoroughly understand your cover.
In short, building insurance covers the structural elements of your home—in other words, the things you can't take with you when you move, like the building itself, fixtures and fittings (e.g. fitted kitchens and baths, lighting fixtures, etc.), plumbing and electrics, etc.
What is the building sum insured in Northern Ireland?
The 'building sum insured' refers to the maximum amount a policy will pay out for covered damage to a home including fixtures and fittings. This typically also includes other parts of a property including: oil and gas tanks, cesspits, septic tanks, permanently installed swimming pools, hot tubs or Jacuzzis, ornamental ponds, fountains, tennis hard courts, walls, gates, fences, hedges, terraces, patios, drives, paths, statues, decking, railings, gazebos, pergolas, car ports, garages, including garages on nearby sites within the boundaries of the property.
In addition, permanently installed external lighting, alarm systems, surveillance equipment, solar panels, solar heating systems and wind turbines recreational toys and brick built barbecues would be covered. And laminated, wooden effect or vinyl floor coverings that can’t reasonably be removed and re-used. Essentially, structural parts of a building are covered—in other words, things you don't take with you when you move house.
Contents insurance covers your possessions and belongings—in other words, the things you'd take with you when you move. Oddly, this can also include fitted carpets, so long as they aren't glued down (fitted carpets feel to us more like part of building insurance, but hey ho...).
Do you need house insurance in Northern Ireland?
It depends. Any homeowner with a mortgage will certainly be required to have buildings insurance at the least, as this is a mandatory requirement of any typical mortgage. Since a mortgage is a financial contract, the buildings insurance can be considered to be a legal requirement.
Homeowners (whether mortgage holders or outright owners) have the option of buying contents insurance—but this would not usually be compulsory for anyone.
Renters do not need to worry about getting building insurance as their landlord should secure this. But renters would need to arrange contents insurance for their belongings, if they so desire.
What is the excess on home insurance?
The excess is the amount you pay towards a claim—it's an amount that will be shown on your policy schedule and it would be deducted from any claim settlement.
If a claim is made over both the buildings and contents sections of your policy (e.g. a fire damages both your home and its contents), then you may be asked to pay the excess from the section with the highest total excess—not both excesses.
There can be different excess amounts for different types of claims. For example, escape of water and legal assistance frequently have different excess levels.
Also, while a policy will have a typical, mandatory excess, it's often possible to increase the excess you'd pay in event of a claim via a voluntary excess. People do this (increase their total excess) in order to lower the premium. If you contribute more towards a claim, the insurer typically will charge you less for cover.
How do I find out when my house was built in Northern Ireland?
You can find out when your house was built in NI buy checking your mortgage valuation or Home Buyer Report.