Home insurance

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Home insurance can compensate you for damages to the structure of your house and the accidental damage or theft of your possessions. Depending on your requirements, you can compare quotes for buildings insurance and contents insurance individually or together as a single policy.

What does home insurance cover?

Home insurance covers you for things like fire damage to your house, or theft of your belongings.

It comes in two parts, buildings insurance and contents insurance, which can be bought separately or together on a single policy.

What your policy covers depends on whether you take out buildings insurance, contents insurance or both combined.

Buildings insurance
Contents insurance
Combined insurance

Buildings insurance protects the structure of your home and its permanent fixtures and fittings - things like fitted kitchens, flooring and bathroom suites.

You can expect to be covered if things go wrong with your roof, walls or ceilings. But not as a result of shoddy workmanship or dodgy DIY.

Each insurer will cover risks to your home in slightly different ways, so check you’ve got the cover you need on the policy you choose. Look at how your home insurer treats fire damage, theft and flooding.

Some policies also include personal liability insurance, which covers the cost of claims that someone else makes against you for injury or damage while visiting your home.

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Key points

  • Covers the building, not your possessions
  • If you have a mortgage, your lender will insist you have it
  • Leaseholders and tenants don’t need it

Contents insurance covers your personal possessions and valuables. It’s up to you whether you insure your possessions, but if you couldn’t afford to replace them, it’s worth it.

You’ll need to work out the value of items you own. Our contents calculator can help you add them up.

If you own something that’s worth more than £1,000, like your laptop or jewellery, you’ll need to list it separately on your policy.

Most insurers will also ask you to list bicycles separately too, although some will cover lower-value bicycles in the same way that they cover other possessions in your home.

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Key points

  • For your possessions, not the building
  • Usually provides cover against fire, theft and vandalism
  • Accidental damage cover is sometimes included or can be added at extra cost

A combined buildings and contents insurance policy will cover both the structure of your home and your possessions.

If you need both buildings and contents cover, then taking out one policy for both with the same provider can be cheaper.

It can make things simpler if you need to make a claim too. For instance, if there’s a fire it’ll be far easier reporting it all to one insurer instead of two.

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Key points

  • Protects your home and its contents
  • Can be cheaper than taking out separate policies
  • You won’t need this if you’re a tenant, just contents insurance

How to shop for home insurance quotes

Getting a quote with us only requires the following information:

  1. Details about your property

    Your address, when it was built, how many rooms you have and a few structural details

  2. The rebuild value of your home

    If you’re not sure, find out how to estimate rebuilding costs

  3. The value of your personal belongings

    Use our contents calculator to work it out

  4. The security of your home

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

  5. Who lives with you

    And when they’re usually at home

  6. Details of previous claims

    Failure to disclose previous claims could invalidate your policy

How to lower your home insurance cost

The average combined buildings and contents policy costs £183[2]

Cut the cost even more with our top tips

  1. Improve your home security

    Get insurer-approved locks for your home or an alarm system

  2. Join Neighbourhood Watch

    If a scheme’s active nearby, sign up and your insurer might give you a discount

  3. Increase your excess

    A higher excess can make your quotes cheaper, but make sure you can afford the higher excess if you ever need to claim

  4. Pay annually

    It’s worth paying annually rather than monthly if you can afford to to avoid interest charges

  5. Check your rebuild cost

    Don’t overestimate the rebuild cost of your home

  6. Watch out for admin costs

    Check for hidden expenses on home insurance. A more expensive policy could work out cheaper when admin fees are factored in

  7. Protect your no-claims discount

    Decide whether you could pay for a small claim yourself - it might be cheaper to protect your no-claims discount in the long run

  8. Buy a combined policy

    A buildings and contents insurance policy can be more affordable if you need both

  9. Compare next year

    Watch out for your renewal date and shop around before your insurer auto-renews your policy and increases the price

Join over 1 million UK households getting a home insurance quote with GoCompare each year

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GoCompare data September 2017 to September 2018

Additional cover for your home

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.

Accidental damage cover

This will cover you for unintentional mishaps like spilling a glass of wine on a rug or dropping a laptop. Damage caused by children is usually included, but rarely pets and amateur DIY.

More about accidental damage cover >

Alternative accommodation

Homes that have no heating in the winter, no running water or electricity, or that are structurally unsafe can be classed as uninhabitable. Alternative accommodation cover on your home insurance will provide you somewhere to stay in an emergency.

More about alternative accommodation cover >

Bicycle cover

Many insurers cover bicycles as standard but it's not always the case. Some insurers only cover theft or damage to your bicycle at home, so you might want extra cover.

More about bicycle cover >

Cover away from home

Your possessions will be covered when they’re inside your house, but you can also get extra cover for them when you take them away from home, including for your jewellery, keys and mobiles phones.

For items worth more than £1,000 you’ll need to list them separately to get cover away from home.

More about cover away from home >

Home emergency cover

This gives you extra cover for things like your broken boilers, electrics and drains. You’ll get access to approved tradesman to get your services up and running again quickly.

You can add this to your home insurance or take out a dedicated stand-alone policy.

More about home emergency >

Legal protection

Legal expenses protection covers the cost of being sued or making a claim against someone else. The amount you can claim varies and you aren’t guaranteed legal help.

More about legal protection >

Find the right type of cover

There are many types of home insurance policies, each with various levels of cover. Find and choose the house insurance policy that suits your requirements.

Tenants insurance

Tenants’ insurance is home contents insurance, but for renters. You don’t need buildings insurance – that’s your landlord’s responsibility.

Find out more >

Landlord insurance

If you’re letting, you’ll need the right insurance to look after both your tenants and the property.

Get cover for buildings, contents, accidental damage, landlord liability and alternative accommodation.

Find out more >

Student home insurance

Policies designed specifically for you if you live in halls or a house share. But you can also look at standard contents insurance too.

Find out more >

Insurance for flats

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.

Find out more >

Holiday home insurance

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to cover a second home left unoccupied for periods of time with regular home insurance. Plus there are additional risk factors if you let it out too. So there are specialist holiday home insurers who can offer you quotes.

Find out more >

New build home insurance

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.

Find out more >

Listed building home insurance

You need to tell your insurer if your home’s listed and you can do that easily when you get a quote with us.

Make sure you declare an accurate rebuild value - It might be more than you think for a listed home.

Find out more >

Non-standard home insurance

If your home isn’t standard build - like brick walls with a tile roof - you might need specialist home insurance.

Features like a flat or thatched roof are treated as non-standard construction by insurers.

Find out more >

Gadget insurance

Gadget insurance covers mobile phones, laptops, cameras, tablets, and GPS devices.

They might already be covered by your home insurance though, so check before you buy extra cover.

Find out more >

Jewellery insurance

Jewellery, watches and valuables can be covered for theft under your home contents insurance or by a separate jewellery insurance policy.

Make sure expensive jewellery is covered by single-item limits.

Find out more >

Home appliance insurance

Household appliance insurance covers white goods like cookers, fridges and washing machines, and some electronics.

It’s often cheaper than buying individual extended product warranties.

Find out more >

The best way to save is to always shop around

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Frequently asked questions

  • Do I need home insurance?

    Legally, you don’t. 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 you taking out building insurance as a condition of the loan.

    You don’t have to take out insurance if you own your home outright. But if your home was damaged by fire or flood for example, you’d have to find the money for repairs yourself.

    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.

  • How much is home insurance?

    The cost of your home insurance will depend on what your policy covers you for, the rebuild value of your property, plus other factors specific to your home and possessions. The cost will also change if you want a combined buildings and contents policy, or separate buildings and contents policies.

    In May 2019, the average price paid for an annual buildings and contents home insurance policy purchased through GoCompare was £183.55. The average price of a buildings only home insurance policy was £120.38, and a contents only policy was £79.[2]

  • Is my home already insured?

    If you own your home, it will only be insured if you’ve insured it yourself. If you live in a rented or leasehold property, it’s the landlord or leaseholders responsibility to take out buildings insurance, however there is no legal requirement for them to do so.

  • Will my insurance cover burst pipes and water leaks?

    Frozen and burst pipes are a major source of home insurance claims, but cover varies enormously from policy to policy. You should also check if you have trace and access cover on your home insurance, as this can be invaluable if you need to find and repair a leaking pipe.

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Are you missing out on cheaper premiums?In 2018, 70% of people said they last switched their home insurance more than a year ago[4]

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News and articles on home insurance

[1]25% of customers who provided their buildings and contents insurance renewal price saved up to £102.95 with Gocompare.com (01 Jun 2019 to 31 Aug 2019)

[2]From 1 May-31 May 2019 the average price paid out of all annual combined buildings and contents home insurance policies purchased through GoCompare was £183.55. The average price of a buildings only home insurance policy was £120.38, and a contents only policy was £79

[3]On 14 December 2018, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,001 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

[4]Based on a survey of randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panellists, conducted by Bilendi on behalf of GoCompare. The survey was conducted among 2,001 respondents on 14 December 2018

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