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.
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.
Your coverage will depend on your insurance policy. Each provider will list their own coverage and exclusions in the policy documents.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The average price paid by GoCompare customers for a combined home insurance policy is £190 a year. 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|
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:
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.
If you have lots of valuable contents to insure, this will cost you more.
Your area's affluence, crime rate and the likelihood of flooding can all affect the cost of your cover.
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.
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.
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.
Extra cover like accidental damage and home emergency cover isn’t always included as standard, so adding this will up the price.
If you’ve not claimed recently – or ever – you could be offered a no claims discount.
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.
^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.
Here's eight tips that could help keep the cost of your premium down:
In the last year, 77% of people didn’t switch their home insurance to a new provider, potentially missing out on cheaper premiums..
Our research shows it’ll cost around 17% less than it would to buy it the day before your existing policy renews.
Get insurer-approved locks for your home, as well as smoke and burglar alarm systems.
Staying on top of things and getting repairs done early can save you money in the long run.
For every year you don't make a claim, you'll likely reduce the cost of your premium.
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.
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.
With monthly payments, you'll have to pay interest and sometimes a finance arrangement fee, so it'll be more expensive.
Competitive rates at the touch of a button.
Mrs Valerie Mansfield
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
Excellent saved us a fortune on what we were paying for the same overall cover
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.
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.Ceri McMillan - GoCompare Home Insurance
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.
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 can be a valuable investment for those looking to protect their home and contents from damage by flooding.
If your property has a history of subsidence, getting insurance may be tricky and you’ll probably need to go to a specialist provider.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, most policies will cover your mobile phone while it’s in your home. If you want your phone to be covered while you’re out and about, check whether the policy offers away from home cover.
If your phone is worth over the single article limit, you might have to list it separately on your contents policy.
The insurance you need for a flat depends on whether you’re renting, a leaseholder, or own the freehold. The block needs to be covered by buildings insurance, but that’s the responsibility of the freeholder. If you’re renting or a leaseholder, it’s up to you if you have contents insurance or not.
You can, but you’ll need to tell the insurer about any building work or home renovations that are underway or planned to take place during the policy period. Insurers need to know about:
If you don’t tell your insurer about structural building works, and something goes wrong, it’s very unlikely your insurer will help you with any of the costs, and your policy could be invalidated.
You don’t need to tell them about simpler refurbishment works, though. Things like redecorating or fitting a new bathroom or kitchen are fine to do without telling your insurer.
You can find more information with our guide to home renovations and insurance.
Depending on the incident, call the police (if a crime has been committed) and then get in touch with your insurer to start the claims process. Make sure you keep any evidence – take pictures or videos and keep receipts and bank statements.
Unless your home needs urgent repairs, you’ll need to wait for your insurer to approve the work before it starts.
Your excess is the amount you must pay towards any claim you make.
It’s made up of two parts: the compulsory excess and the voluntary excess. Your insurer sets the compulsory excess and you choose the voluntary excess.
Choosing a higher voluntary excess usually means cheaper premiums, but make sure it’s an amount you’re still comfortable paying if you do need to claim.
While it’s possible your home insurance will provide some cover, it may not offer adequate cover for all your business equipment and stock.
Either way, you should inform your home insurer if you work from home. You won't necessarily have to take out additional cover, but not telling them could invalidate a future claim.
You find more information on our guide to working from home and insurance.
Insurers will want to know what type of locks you have. It’s so they can work out how secure your home is. Your doors will probably be fitted with either a 5-lever mortice lock or a multi-point locking system, depending on whether they’re wooden or uPVC.
Contents insurance could help protect your belongings while you’re renting – it's not compulsory though. You shouldn’t have to worry about buildings insurance as this is your landlord’s responsibility.
You can, but you’ll likely pay more for it due to the increased risk.
If your home is at high risk of flooding, it's worth looking into flood insurance. Flood Re may be able to help you find affordable home insurance, even if there’s significant risk of flooding.
Insurers will check it, but they do what’s called a ‘soft search’, which won’t affect your credit score.
Standard home insurance only covers your home if it’s unoccupied for 60 days or less, but you can get specialist unoccupied property insurance that’ll cover homes which are left empty for longer.
‘Acts of God’ is an old phrase that insurers used to refer to things like natural disasters and other events outside of human control. These days, your insurer will list specific events that they will and won’t cover, to avoid any confusion.
Insurance for properties with subsidence history can be difficult to find, so you’ll likely need to go with a specialist provider. Most policies will cover loss and damage caused by subsidence, however, they might not cover the cost of preventing further subsidence from occurring.
As listed buildings are commonly made from unusual materials you might need a specialist policy to cover your unique home.
Unusual materials are often more expensive to replace and often need a specialist tradesperson, so your insurer will reflect these higher potential costs in how much they charge you for insurance.
To work out your home's rebuild cost you can use the calculator provided when you’re getting quotes with us. Otherwise, you should be able to find the rebuild value of your home on a survey from a chartered surveyor or on the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website
To give you a general idea, the average value of household possessions on combined home insurance policies bought through us was £48,989.
Most insurers will offer you around £40,000 cover for your contents, which for some is enough, but if you think you need more or less change it.
Take a walk around your house and look out for high-ticket items - fridges, TVs, even a wardrobe full of clothes. Your contents insurance is there to cover the cost if you had to buy those items again today.
It's important to itemise anything worth over £1,500. If you don't, your insurer won't pay more than £1,500 for it - this is known as the single item limit. Keep hold of receipts or valuation certificates for these items. Check cover limits for cash too - it's usually between £500 and £1,000 and you can't increase it.
Most home insurers will cover bicycles as standard, but not always.
Some insurers only cover theft or damage to your bicycle at home. If you want extra cover for your bike away from home, you'll need to extend your policy.
If you own an expensive bike, such as those used in races or competitions, you may want specialist bicycle insurance.
You might do. Some mortgage providers will insist upon you having home insurance before they’ll offer you a mortgage.
If your lender requires you to have home insurance as a condition of the mortgage, then you’ll usually need to have the policy in place on the day you exchange contracts – this is where you haven’t bought the property yet, but you’ve made a legal commitment to it.
You might also want to consider life insurance and income protection, just in case something happens which means you’d struggle to pay back your mortgage and other bills.
You need to tell your insurers that you’re moving house and see if they can “port” your cover over to your new address – you might be charged a little extra if your new home and location differ a lot from your previous address.
If you use a professional removal service, your contents might be covered during the move.
If your home is made of rare materials or in an unusual way, you can get specialist non-standard construction home insurance to help account for any quirks.
As standard most insurers will only cover your belongings while they’re inside your home. But you can get personal possessions cover as a policy add-on to protect the items that you’ll be taking out and about.
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.
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.
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.
As of January 2023, there are 68 active home insurers on the panel at GoCompare
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.
Average price paid annually for buildings and contents insurance returned from all customers quoting in September 2022 through GoCompare.
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.
The average value of household possessions on combined home insurance policies bought through GoCompare in September 2022