Buildings insurance

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What is building insurance?

Buildings insurance is a sort of home insurance that offers cover for your property's structure and its permanent fittings and fixtures, but not the contents.

A good policy should cover things like the ceiling, floors, walls, the roof, windows and doors, plus outdoor constructions such as fences and garages.

It should also cover things like fitted bathroom suites and kitchen units, plus drains, pipes, tanks and cables that you're responsible for from the mains supply to your property.

buildings insurance

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We search for quotes from over 65 trusted UK home insurers[1] to help you find the right policy for you

Do I need buildings insurance?

There is no legal requirement to insure your building. But it may be a good idea, or even essential, for some people.

If you're unsure whether you need buildings insurance, take a look at the below:

Who might need it?

  • Homeowners with a mortgage - Most mortgage lenders will insist you take out building insurance in order to get a mortgage. The same goes for if you ever decide to remortgage in the future. They’ll usually ask for proof of insurance documentation before they’ll give you the loan.
  • Homeowners without a mortgage - If you own your property outright, then it’s up to you whether you take out buildings cover. If you’re unsure, it’s worth thinking about the rebuild cost of your home and whether you could afford the cost of repairs should your home be damaged.
  • Freeholders - If you own the freehold, or a share of it, you’ll need to organise your own cover.

Who doesn't need it?

  • Flat owners - If you’re leasing a property, such as a flat, the owner of the freehold should have insured the building already.
  • Tenants - You won't need buildings insurance if you rent a property. That’s the responsibility of your landlord. You want your own tenants insurance however.
  • Landlords - If you rent out a property, you may want to consider dedicated landlord building insurance. Standard home buildings insurance won't cover you.

What does buildings insurance cover?

All buildings insurance policies cover damage by fire, flooding and theft as standard. They don't usually cover things like gradual wear and tear or poor workmanship.


Escape of water

This generally includes water leakage from faulty appliances like your washing machine, frozen pipes and tanks, burst pipes that are old or corroded and disconnected pipes.

If your policy includes escape of water, it’ll probably have trace and access cover as well - which covers the cost of finding and repairing leaks.

More about home insurance and water leaks >

Falling trees, aerials or satellite dishes

Most policies provide some compensation for damage caused by falling trees and branches, aerials and satellite dishes. But you wouldn’t be covered if it was due to lopping or felling.

If your home’s damaged by a tree, your insurer might help cover the costs of removing it, so it doesn’t cause any problems in the future.

More about trees and home insurance >

Storms, floods, lightning and earthquakes

Structural damage that occurs due to high winds, torrential rain fall, lightning or earthquakes may be covered if you can prove your home has been maintained to a reasonable standard and that the damage didn’t occur due to wear and tear.

Subsidence and heave

Most policies cover loss and damage caused by subsidence, but won’t cover the cost of preventing further subsidence.

You won’t be covered if the subsidence, heave or landslip is caused by riverbank or coastal erosion, water escaping from pipes or failure to disclose existing subsidence when the policy is purchased.

If your home has suffered from it in the past, you’ll probably need specialist cover.

More about subsidence insurance >

Vehicle or aircraft collision

This compensates you if your homes damaged due to a vehicle colliding with your home, or damage caused by an animal or aircraft, for example.

How much does building insurance cost on average?

Our customers pay £146 on average for buildings insurance*, but a number of factors – like where you live and the type of home you have – affect the actual price you pay.

The number of bedrooms you have is a good indicator, so here’s how much your buildings insurance could cost depending on the number of bedrooms.**

  • One bedroom: £136
  • Two bedrooms: £138
  • Three bedrooms: £163
  • Four bedrooms: £227

*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.

**The average cost of buildings insurance per number of bedrooms when paid annually in July 2022.
average cost of home insurance

What do you need to get a quote?

When calculating your premium, insurers look at a variety of factors about you and your home. To get you the most accurate prices, we need to know about.

  1. The rebuild cost of your property

    This is the cost of rebuilding your property to the same specification if it was demolished. The cost determines how much cover you need.

  2. Features of your property

    If your home is listed, timber-framed, or has a flat or thatched roof.

  3. Previous claims

    Claims for burglary, vandalism, fire, subsidence, water or storm damage in the last five years will need to be declared. Failure to do so could invalidate your policy.

  4. Security features

    If your property is fitted with smoke alarms and burglar alarms, it may reduce the cost of your premium

  5. Your proximity to water

    Properties in flood risk areas may require extra attention and information from your insurer

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Check your policy wording so you know what's covered

Unless you’ve specifically added cover, home insurance doesn’t cover things like accidental damage to your property. If you accidentally drill a hole through a water pipe while putting up shelves, you may not be covered unless you’ve bought the extra protection.
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

Optional extras

If your policy doesn’t include cover for things like accidental damage or legal expenses as standard, you can usually add them on for a fee.

Common optional extras include:

About Go.Compare

Go.Compare is a UK price comparison website that lets you compare the cost and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and broadband deals from a network of trusted partners.

We’re committed to helping you find the right product at the right price. When we launched in 2006, we became the first comparison site to display policy details and provider ratings rather than just listing prices. We're also the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and we're authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

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Page last reviewed: 02 February 2023

References

 

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

[2]Based on Trustpilot: Our average rating of 4.8 out of 5 is from 3116 people who left a review for home insurance comparison only. Last checked 02 February 2023.