Home insurance

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What’s home insurance?

Home insurance covers loss and damage to your house and household contents.

For instance, if your home is damaged by an event like a fire, your home insurance may cover the cost of any repairs or replacements needed.

Home insurance comes in two parts: buildings insurance which covers the physical building and contents insurance which covers your belongings.

child runs to mum and dad inside home

Home insurance companies we work with

We want you to find the right insurance at the right price. That's why we search for quotes from over 65 UK home insurers[3] including:

halifax home insurance
admiral home insurance
aa home insurance
esure home insurance
hastings direct home insurance
policy expert home insurance
more than home insurance
rias home insurance

What type of home insurance do I need?

There are two types of home insurance: buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can buy them individually or together as a combined policy. Which type you'll need will depend on your circumstances.

  • Buildings insurance

    • Protects the structure of the property and its permanent fixtures and fittings e.g. walls, roofs, fitted kitchens and bathrooms.
    • It may also cover driveways, patios, walls, fences, and any outbuildings including garages.
    • If your home becomes inhabitable, it'll usually cover the cost of any alternative accommodation you need.
    • Most mortgage providers expect you to have buildings insurance as a condition of the loan. If you're renting you don't need it.
    Buildings insurance
  • Contents insurance

    • Covers the damage, loss or theft of your household items e.g. your home appliances, furniture, electrics and jewellery.
    • Accidental damage and items outside the home aren't usually covered as standard but can be for an extra cost.
    • Each item is only covered up to a limited amount. You'll see this called a 'single item limit', and it's usually £1,000.
    • If you own something that’s worth more than the single item limit, you’ll need to list it separately on your policy to get it insured for its whole value.
    Contents insurance
  • Combined home insurance

    • A combined buildings and contents insurance policy covers the structure of your home and your belongings.
    • If you need both, then taking out one policy with the same provider usually works out cheaper.
    • It can make things simpler if you need to make a claim too. For example, if there’s a fire it’ll be far easier reporting it all to one insurer instead of two.

What does home insurance cover?

Your coverage will depend on your insurance policy. Each provider will list their own coverage and exclusions in the policy documents.

What’s usually covered?

  • Fire damage, explosion, lightning or earthquakes
  • Storm and flooding from external water sources
  • Burst and frozen pipes
  • Malicious damage
  • Subsidence, heave or landslip
  • Theft or attempted theft
  • Falling trees, branches, and TV aerials
  • Impact by vehicle, aircraft, animal or flying objects

What’s not usually covered?

  • Gradual wear and tear
  • Accidental damage
  • Loss of items on your person while you're away from your home
  • Mechanical breakdowns
  • Damage as a result of poor workmanship
  • Cover for items worth more than the single article limit
  • Loss or damage if your home’s been left unoccupied
  • Losses caused by negligence

What details do you need to get a quote?

Before you compare quotes with us, it’s a good idea to have some details about you, your home and your possessions at the ready. We’ll need to know things like:

  1. Property details

    The type of property, when it was built, distance from water and any previous history of flooding or subsidence.

  2. Personal details

    Things like your date of birth, the number of people in your home, whether you’re away for long periods of time and details of previous claims.

  3. Home security details

    What locks you have and if you have any burglar alarms or smoke detectors.

  4. Rebuild cost of your home

    The amount it would take to rebuild the property if it was demolished. This is usually less than the market value.

  5. Value of your household contents

    The value of the entire contents of your home.

Who needs home insurance?

Home insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it’s a good idea to have it. Think about whether you could afford to repair your home or replace your possessions if they were damaged, lost or stolen. Those who may want it include:

  • Homeowners

    It's often a condition of your mortgage to have buildings insurance. Protection of your belongings is optional. If you own your home outright, both buildings and contents insurance are optional.

  • Renters

    If you’re renting a property, buildings insurance is the responsibility of the landlord. Your landlord's insurance won’t cover your contents though. You’ll need your own renter's insurance policy for that.

    Renter's insurance
  • Landlords

    Landlords are required by law to have insurance that’ll look after the property and the occupiers. Landlord insurance will cover your buildings, contents, accidental damage, landlord liability, and alternative accommodation.

    Landlord insurance
  • Students

    Students living away from home may want student contents insurance for any expensive kit they own. Share houses are regularly targeted by thieves, and the right insurance could protect you against theft. Before you buy, check whether your belongings are covered by your parents’ home insurance first.

    Student insurance
  • Holiday homeowners

    You can't cover a second home with standard home insurance. Instead, you’ll need holiday home insurance to cover the risks associated with renting your second home out and leaving it empty for long periods of time.

    Holiday home insurance
  • Short-term letters

    If you let a room, annex or your entire property on a short-term basis, you’ll need short-term let insurance. It’ll cover any guest injury claims or damages caused by guests during their stay. You’ll likely need standard home insurance too to cover your home for any non-guest related losses.

    Short-term let insurance

How much is the average house insurance in the UK?

The average price paid by GoCompare customers for a combined home insurance policy is £190 a year.[1] Buildings-only or contents-only cover is cheaper than a combined policy, but you won't get the same level of cover.

Things like the location and size of your house can also impact the cost of your premium.

Here’s the average cost of home insurance by policy according to GoCompare data:

Type of policy Annual cost
Buildings insurance £146
Contents insurance £74
Combined insurance £190

What affects the cost of my home insurance?

The cost of your premium will depend on how likely the insurer thinks you are to make a claim and how much that claim could potentially cost them. Insurers use a whole host of factors to calculate your insurance including:

Rebuild cost of your home

Your home's rebuild cost is based on things like the size of the property, the materials it's made from and whether it's listed or not.

Value of your possessions

If you have lots of valuable contents to insure, this will cost you more.

Location

Your area's affluence, crime rate and the likelihood of flooding can all affect the cost of your cover.

Age

Homes that are older, such as listed buildings, are more likely to have unique features or building materials that are hard to replace. They may also have older electric and plumbing systems.

Security

Good home security can mean insurers view you as less of a risk, which may get you cheaper quotes. Consider protecting your home with secure door and window locks, burglar alarms and smoke detectors.

Building materials

If you have a non-standard home, it could cost more to rebuild. Even thatched or flat roofs can be considered more of a risk.

Add-ons

Extra cover like accidental damage and home emergency cover isn’t always included as standard, so adding this will up the price.

Claims history

If you’ve not claimed recently – or ever – you could be offered a no claims discount.

Why compare home insurance with us?

Free £250 home excess cover, only with GoCompare^

If you need to claim on your home insurance - for example, if your building is damaged by subsidence or your possessions are stolen - your free home excess cover will refund up to £250 of your excess.

There’s no hidden charge. But you won't be covered for things like accidental loss or damage.

Get quotes

^UK residents and home insurance purchases only. Excess refunded after claim settled. Excludes accidental loss or damage claims made on your home insurance. Full T&Cs apply.

GoCompare home insurance excess protection TV ad

How can I get cheaper home insurance?

Here's eight tips that could help keep the cost of your premium down:

  1. Shop around for quotes

    In the last year, 77% of people didn’t switch their home insurance to a new provider, potentially missing out on cheaper premiums.[4].

  2. Buy 27 days before your policy ends

    Our research shows it’ll cost around 17% less than it would to buy it the day before your existing policy renews.[5]

  3. Improve your home security

    Get insurer-approved locks for your home, as well as smoke and burglar alarm systems.

  4. Regularly maintain your home

    Staying on top of things and getting repairs done early can save you money in the long run.

  5. Build your no-claim discount

    For every year you don't make a claim, you'll likely reduce the cost of your premium.

  6. Don't over-insure

    Overestimating the value of your contents and the rebuild cost of your home will increase your premium. But if you're in any doubt, it's better to overestimate than underestimate.

  7. Only pay for what you need

    You'll be offered a variety of optional extras when you apply for home insurance. Remember the best home insurance policy for you is one that offers the cover you need at an affordable price.

  8. Pay upfront

    With monthly payments, you'll have to pay interest and sometimes a finance arrangement fee, so it'll be more expensive.

Over 2500 home insurance customers rated us on average[2]

4.8 out of 5

on Trustpilot

Reviews from our customers

01/11/2022

Competitive rates at the touch of a button.

Mrs Valerie Mansfield

22/10/2022

Thank you Go Compare for helping me to get a home insurance quote at half the price of my previous provider with much higher cover

JOHN ANDERSON

22/10/2022

Excellent saved us a fortune on what we were paying for the same overall cover

Mark H

16/10/2022

I could not believe it when my renewal premium was almost THREE TIMES what I'd paid last year for my house insurance so I was delighted that, after using Go Compare, I am actually paying less this year for exactly the same cover.

Loretta

Top tip from our expert

Check your policy in advance of bad weather to understand what's covered. If your home's affected, make a note of the time and date so you can inform your insurer should you need to claim. Many policies will specify what they deem a weather-related incident, so writing down details of the situation will help if you need to claim. Taking photos or a video of the damage - if safe to do so - can be useful to support your claim too.

A storm can highlight problems with your home due to lack of maintenance or wear and tear. If your roof wasn't in the best state and damage occurs during a storm or high winds which wouldn't have happened if the roof had been properly maintained, then it's like you would not be covered for this.
Ceri McMillan - GoCompare Home Insurance

Other types of home insurance

You may need something more specific than standard buildings and contents insurance if you live in a property that’s high risk for example. More specific types of home insurance include:

  • Flood risk insurance

    Flood risk insurance can be a valuable investment for those looking to protect their home and contents from damage by flooding.

    Flood risk insurance
  • Subsidence insurance

    If your property has a history of subsidence, getting insurance may be tricky and you’ll probably need to go to a specialist provider.

    Subsidence insurance
  • Unoccupied property insurance

    Cover for properties left unoccupied for more than 30 days can be costly and hard to find. Specialist unoccupied property insurance helps you find cover for properties left vacant for up to 12 months.

    Unoccupied property insurance
  • Listed building insurance

    You’ll need to tell your insurer if your home is listed. You may find your choice of insurers more limited. Make sure you declare an accurate rebuild value.

    Listed building insurance
  • Non-standard construction home insurance

    If your home is made from non-standard materials, you may require specialist home insurance. Features such as thatched roofs or timber-frames are widely viewed as non-standard by insurers.

    Non-standard home insurance
  • Flat roof home insurance

    Flat roof homes can be more expensive to insure than standard homes. This is because insurers consider flat roof homes to be at higher risk of water ingress, weather damage and burglary.

    Flat roof home insurance

Add-ons and additional cover

You can add upgrades to your policy if you think you'll need them. You’ll have to pay extra for them, so think about whether they’re worth the extra cost.

  • Accidental damage cover

    This'll cover you for claims due to accidents in the home like a spilt glass of wine on a rug or a smashed window. Accidental damage caused by children is usually included, but rarely pets and amateur DIY.

  • Away from home cover

    Standard contents insurance will only cover your belongings while they’re in your house. If you want cover when you're away from home, you’ll need personal possessions insurance.

  • Home emergency cover

    Home emergency cover will protect you against things like boiler breakdowns, electrical failure and blocked drains. It’ll cover the cost of calling out an approved tradesman to get your services up and running again, as well as any replacement parts needed.

  • Legal expenses cover

    Help for the costs of legal proceedings that involve your home. Personal injury claims and property disputes with neighbours are times you may need to use it.

  • Bicycle cover

    Your bike will be covered for things like theft, personal accidents and malicious damage. You can get bike cover as a home insurance add-on, but a separate policy will usually offer more cover.

  • No-claims protection

    The longer you go without making a claim, the higher the discount you get on your home insurance. No-claims protection means you’ll get to keep the same level of discount even if you do make a claim.



Page last reviewed: 02 November 2022
Page next review: 02 February 2023
Page reviewed by Ceri McMillan

^UK residents and home insurance purchases only. Excess refunded after claim settled. Excludes accidental loss or damage claims made on your home insurance. Full T&Cs apply.

[1]The average price paid annually for home insurance purchased in September 2022 by type of cover. For buildings and contents insurance, it was £190. For buildings insurance only, it was £146. For contents insurance only, it was £74.

[2]Based on Trustpilot: Our average rating of 4.8 out of 5 is from 2749 people who left a review for home insurance comparison only. Last checked 02 November 2022.

[3]As of January 2023, there are 68 active home insurers on the panel at GoCompare

[4]Figures based on a survey of 2091 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue conducted between 16th-19th September 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

[5]Average price paid annually for buildings and contents insurance returned from all customers quoting in September 2022 through GoCompare.

[6]According to data from GoCompare, 9060 customers stated previous claims for escape of water when they compared quotes between 1 August 2022 and 31st October 2022.

[7]The average value of household possessions on combined home insurance policies bought through GoCompare in September 2022