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What Does Buildings Insurance Cover?

Cheap Home Insurance in Your Area

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Home insurance is divided into two type of cover—buildings and contents. Buildings insurance covers the house itself, with its roof, walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows and any fitted cupboards (e.g., kitchen and bathroom). Contents insurance, on the other hand, basically covers anything you'd take with you when you move, such as your clothes & shoes, electronics, jewellery, art, gadgets, books, furniture and rugs. Buildings and contents policies can be purchased separately or as combined buildings & contents cover. Here we'll explain what is typically covered under the buildings part of home insurance, and what isn't.

What's Covered by Buildings Insurance?

Buildings insurance typically reimburses for damage or loss to your home due to:

  • Fire
  • Water damage
  • Storms
  • Possibly accidental damage, subsidence, frost damage, etc.**

The majority of insurers cover specific risks only (e.g., fire), but some insurers offer a more comprehensive package by covering "all risks"—that is, they don't specify coverage for only certain risks but instead cover anything that isn't specifically excluded in your policy documents.

Buildings cover will extend to the "permanent" or fixed parts of your home, like the roof, walls, windows & doors, floors, fitted kitchens and bathrooms, outbuildings, etc.

Sometimes, tracing and repairing a leak will be covered but subject to a maximum payout amount.

Optional Additional Cover

In addition to standard cover, many insurers offer additional features—for an added cost, of course. Additional cover may include:

  • Accidental damage: Covers damage due to accidents, such as a ball being thrown through a window
  • Alternative Accommodation: Money to use for rent of an alternative property while your home is rebuilt/repaired due to a valid claim
  • Public Liability: Cover if someone is injured on your property

What's Not Covered by Buildings Insurance?

Buildings insurance does not cover loss of or damage to the contents of your home (e.g., clothes & shoes, books, electronics, luggage, art, jewellery & watches, etc). In order to protect yourself against the loss of these belongings, you'll need to take out a separate contents insurance policy or a combined buildings & contents policy.

Additionally, buildings insurance won't cover the gradual decline or deterioration of your property. While every policy is different we've listed common exclusions (i.e., things that a typical buildings policy will not cover) below. Be sure to read your policy wording so that you understand the extent of your coverage, as the actual list of exclusions may be significantly longer than the items listed here.

Buildings Insurance Typically Doesn't Cover:

  • Contents (belongings)
  • Wear and tear/ageing/neglect
  • Rust
  • Rot
  • Fungus/mould
  • Infestations
  • Normal settlement
  • Other things that happen gradually
  • Storm or flood damage to gazebos, fences, hedges, etc.
  • Mechanical or electrical faults
  • Claims due to war, contamination, nuclear exposure, government action, deliberate acts (e.g., by you), etc.

Do I Need Buildings Insurance?

Generally speaking, homeowners should buy buildings insurance but tenants do not need buildings insurance.

Homeowner

If you own your house outright, you aren't required to buy buildings insurance—but if you have a mortgage then the lender will require that the asset (your home) is protected through a buildings insurance policy. That said, we strongly recommend that homeowners take out buildings insurance on their property, even if there is no mortgage on the property.

Depending on the property and area, home rebuild costs in the case of a disaster like a fire can easily run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds—an amount most people couldn't afford without being reimbursed by buildings insurance. And even if you could afford the rebuild cost, why risk cutting into your hard-earned savings when instead your home could be covered by a buildings insurance policy?

Tenant

If you are a tenant, you don't need to buy buildings insurance. Your landlord (that is, the owner of the property) will be responsible for buying buildings insurance, if they choose to do so. Those in rented properties should strongly consider buying contents insurance, however, because your landlord is not responsible to reimburse you for the loss of or damage to your belongings in the case of fire, theft or water damage. Your things are your responsibility to insure.

With the average annual premium for contents insurance for a £50,000 policy with a £200 excess hovering just over £100, getting financial protection against the loss of your possessions may well be worth the cost.

If you're looking to buy home insurance but not sure which insurance company to use, start by reading through our research on the top picks for best home insurance companies.

Cheap Home Insurance in Your Area

Quickly compare over 3 dozen UK insurance providers. Only one form to fill out.

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