Home insurance protects you from things like fire damage to your home, or theft of your belongings. It'll pay out to replace your property or repair your house if something unforeseen happens.
Home insurance comes in two parts, buildings insurance and contents insurance, which can be bought individually or together as a single policy.
If it’s something you’d take with you if you moved to a new house, it’s classed as contents. If it stays behind, it’s probably buildings.
Buildings insurance covers damages to the structure of your home and its permanent fixtures and fittings. This includes things like your windows, flooring, walls and roofs. Garages, sheds and fences may be covered too.
It'll cover you for unexpected damages like fire, storms and floods, but not for damages caused by poor workmanship or general wear and tear.
Each insurer covers risks to your home differently, so check you’ve got the cover you need on the policy you choose. Look at how insurers treat fallen trees, leaking roofs or damp, for example.
Contents insurance covers you for the loss, damage, or theft of your personal possessions and valuables. This includes things like your furniture, kitchen appliances, electricals, clothes, jewellery and ornaments.
Exact cover can vary so it's worth checking your policy. You may not be covered for accidental damage for example.
Single items are only covered up to a certain amount. You'll see this called a 'single item limit', and it's usually £1,000.
That means if the cost of your claim for one item exceeds the limit, you'll usually have to cover the remaining cost yourself.
If you have items worth more than the single item limit, list them separately on your policy to have cover for their full value. Things like jewellery, mobile phones and bicycles generally need listing separately on your policy.
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.
When you compare quotes with, it’s a good idea to have some details about you, your home and your possessions are the ready. We’ll need to know things like:
The type of property, number of rooms and a few structural details.
Your occupation, any dependents you have and details of previous claims.
The amount it would take to rebuild the property if it was demolished.
The cost of replacing the entire contents of your home as new.
What locks you have and if you have any burglar alarms or smoke detectors.
If you’ve found yourself working from home because of Covid-19, you don’t need to contact your insurer to update your home insurance policy. Your employer should have their own insurance in place for any equipment they’ve sent you home with.
If you continue to work from home after restrictions are lifted, you'll need to check your cover with your insurer. Especially if you receive visitors to your home or hold any company stock or assets at home.
If you are self-employed, you'll probably need business insurance and public liability cover for home working.
For new quotes, if you think things will be different over the next 12 months, update your details at renewal. It may cost you more in admin fees to make changes to your policy later in the year.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your home insurance payments because your financial situation has changed since coronavirus, talk to your insurer. They can help you make your premiums more affordable.
Home insurance isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good idea to have some protection in place. Think about whether you could afford to replace your home or possessions if the worst happened.
If you have a mortgage your mortgage provider will insist on having buildings insurance as a condition of the loan.
Insuring your belongings is a more personal decision. Again, you’d have to find the money to replace your things if something happened and you didn’t have contents insurance.
If you rent your property, you won’t need buildings insurance - that's your landlord's responsibility.
The average price paid by our customers for a combined home insurance policy is just under £180 a year.*
The average price paid for buildings-only cover is £124.12 and contents-only cover is £79.60, so each is cheaper than a combined policy. But you won't get the same level of cover and it might well work out more expensive to buy them separately.
Your own quotes will depend on how likely the insurer thinks you are to make a claim, the value of your building or contents and the level of cover you choose.
Insurers use a whole host of factors to price your insurance - home security, risk of flooding and subsidence could all increase or decrease the cost.
*The average price paid for home insurance annually through GoCompare in March 2021, by type.
Shopping around for quotes every year isn't the only way to save.
Our home insurance expert, Tony Evans, has five more tips that could help keep costs down:
Get insurer-approved locks for your home, as well as smoke and burglar alarm systems
Check for hidden expenses on home insurance. A more expensive policy could work out cheaper when admin fees are factored in
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
You can buy home insurance up to 29 days before you want the policy to start.
But our research shows that the later you leave it, the more you’re likely to end up paying.
The cheapest time to buy your next buildings and contents insurance policy is 26 days before your existing policy ends.*
It’ll cost around 15% less than it would to buy it the day before your existing policy renews.
If you do decide to switch to a new provider, make sure you let your old one know – otherwise you could end up paying for both policies if your insurance auto-renews.
*Average of the cheapest annual buildings and contents insurance quote returned from all customers quoting between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021 through GoCompare.
You can add optional extras to your home insurance policy if you 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. Damage caused by children is usually included, but rarely pets and amateur DIY.
This’ll 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 being sued and/or making a claim against someone else. Personal injury claims and property disputes with neighbours are times you may need to use it. The amount of legal cover you can claim varies a lot, and you aren’t guaranteed legal help. Check the small print and look out for exclusions.
Standard contents insurance will only cover your items while they’re in your house. If you want cover when you're away from home, you’ll need personal belongings insurance. Policies can provide damage, loss and theft cover for things like jewellery, bicycles and mobile phones.
To give you a general idea, the mean value of household contents in main residences in the UK is £37,518.
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 £1,000. If you don't, your insurer won't pay more than £1,000 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.
The things we own change, and so does their value. If you buy any expensive items - like gadgets or jewellery - you’ll need to tell your insurer if you want them covered too.
The amount of buildings cover you need is based on the rebuild cost of your home. This is the amount it would take to rebuild the property if it was demolished. The figure is likely to be less than the price you'd get if you sold your home.
To find your rebuild cost you can:
Insurers will want to know what type of locks you have. It’s so they can assess 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.
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.
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 may not cover the cost of preventing further subsidence from occurring.
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.
Yes, but the longer the property is unoccupied for, the fewer insurers you'll have to choose from, and the higher your premiums are likely to be.
When getting a quote, you'll be asked if the property is left unoccupied for longer than 30 days. If so, whether it's for 30-45 days, or more than 45 days.
If you can't find a suitable quote or you need cover for an extended period of time, try our unoccupied property insurance guide.
If you need something more specific than standard buildings and contents insurance, there are plenty of different types of home insurance available.
Tenants insurance is home contents insurance, but for renters. You don’t need buildings insurance – that’s your landlord’s responsibility.
If you let a property, you’ll need the right insurance to look after the occupiers of the property - and the building itself. Landlord insurance offers cover for buildings, contents, landlord liability and alternative accommodation.
Living in halls or in a house share? Then there’s special student insurance policies on offer but you can also look at standard contents insurance too.
This is specialist cover for holiday homes. Generally, you can't cover a second home that’s rented, or left empty for long periods of time, with standard home insurance.
The insurance you need 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. It’s up to you if you have contents insurance or not.
Protection for your brand-new home. Make sure you’ve also got a guarantee from the builder where you can raise any issues or snags for a fixed period after completion.
. Based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence during 1 February 2021 to 28 February 2021: 51% of consumers could achieve a saving of up to £104.90 with GoCompare buildings and contents insurance based on a comparison of 37 companies.
Based on Trustpilot: Our average rating of 4.8 out of 5 is from 641 people who left a review for home insurance comparison only. Last checked June 2021.
According to the Office of National Statistics Physical wealth: wealth in Great Britain mean total household physical wealth is £50,700 and household contents in the main residence account for 74% of household physical wealth = £37,518.
As of June 2021, there are 68 active home insurers on the panel at GoCompare.
Page last reviewed: 08 June 2021
Next review due: 08 July 2021