Can you have two home insurance policies on the same property?

Two isn't always better than one. Avoid doubling up on your home insurance.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 2 May 2023  | 3 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Can you have two home insurance policies on the same house?

If you’re a homeowner, it’s perfectly normal (and sensible) to have two types of home insurance to make sure your home’s fully protected.

You can get separate policies to cover contents and buildings insurance. Or you might buy them together as one combined policy - which is usually cheaper.

But if you’ve doubled up on either type of cover it can be a pain to sort out. It’ll also mean you’ve been paying more than you need to.

Key points

  • You can buy separate policies for buildings and contents insurance, but having multiple buildings and contents policies is classed as 'doubling up' .
  • Doubling up doesn't you mean can claim twice. You’ll just be paying twice as much for the same type of insurance.
  • Doubling up can happen if a previous policy has auto-renewed, or you've forgotten to cancel cover for your old property when moving home.

What counts as having two home insurance policies?

If you’ve got separate policies for buildings and contents insurance, they simply count together as your home insurance cover.

The problems start when you have two or more different policies for the same thing - like two contents policies. This can complicate matters when it comes to making a claim.

Doubling up - and what it means

Occasionally, you might discover you’ve bought home insurance when you’re already covered.

Doubling up is easier to do than you might think. But you might not realise you’ve made this mistake until you go to make a claim.

Unfortunately, even if you discover you have two policies that provide the same cover - you’ll only be able to claim for something once.

You won’t get extra coverage with two policies. You’ll just be paying twice as much for the same type of insurance. Plus, it can take a lot longer for a claim to be agreed.

How can doubling up on home insurance happen?

There are several ways you could find yourself with two similar home insurance policies running at the same time, including:

  • Auto-renewal - Switching home insurance providers can help you get a cheaper deal. But if your old policy renews automatically you could find yourself with two policies, unless you cancel one in time.
  • Getting a mortgage - Some mortgage lenders include buildings insurance as part of your mortgage package. If you don’t realise this, or forget, you could end up taking out cover separately and paying twice.
  • Buying a new home - You could have two policies for a while if you’ve got one for your old property and you also buy insurance for your new home. Once you move, you’ll need to cancel the cover for your old property or transfer it across (although your level of cover may need to change).
  • Owning a leasehold property - Freeholders often take out buildings cover to protect their investment and include this cost in your service charge. If you also buy buildings cover, you could be doubling up - so check what’s in place first.

Can I claim twice if I have two insurance policies?

This really depends on your situation. It might be possible to split your claim between two policies. But if you’re trying to get a double payout, this will be considered fraud.

Home insurance is designed to reimburse you for what you’ve lost - it’s not for you to profit.

And insurance companies are savvy. They share data on your claims history with each other so can soon find out if you’ve already claimed or received a payout.

If you try to claim for the same thing twice, you could face a fine and prosecution. It’s also likely to invalidate your cover - making it harder and more expensive to get insurance in the future.

So how do I claim if I have two insurance policies?

Usually, people double-insure their homes by accident. So if you discover you’ve done this when you go to make a claim, it can cause complications.

Firstly, you’ll need to decide which policy to claim under. Some policies have what’s known as a contribution clause. If this applies to your policy, your insurer may try to get a contribution from the other insurance provider and split the cost of your claim.

This can take a while for them to sort out and agree – this means a longer wait for compensation.

You’ll need to claim each agreed amount separately with the relevant insurer. So this will impact your no-claims bonus with each provider. It could also increase your premiums more than if you just claimed once.

Can two people insure the same house?

If you’ve bought your home together, it makes sense you’d want to insure it together too.

You can do this by taking out a joint home insurance policy. This allows either of you to make a claim, rather than the cover just being in one person’s name.

Plus, having a joint policy can sometimes get you a cheaper premium. But if you want to add a policyholder to an existing policy, you may be charged an admin fee.

Moving home and home insurance

When you’re packing up and preparing for the exciting times ahead, make sure you add home insurance to your moving checklist.

Your old home will need to be insured until the new owners are legally responsible for it.

And you’ll need to get home insurance for your new house as soon as you’ve exchanged contracts - not just from when those precious keys are finally in your hands.

If you’ve already got a policy, you may be able to transfer your cover to the new property. But you’ll need to let your insurer know before the exchange date.

Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a new policy and arrange to cancel your old one as soon as the sale’s complete. It’s easy to forget this in the chaos of moving - so set yourself a reminder to avoid doubling up on cover unnecessarily.

What home insurance do I need for a second home?

If you own a second home, you’ll need to take out cover for it separately from your main home insurance.

That’s because second homes tend to be used differently. For example, if you’re using the place as a holiday home, it may often be empty out of season. And if your second home is more of an investment, you might be renting it out.

Either way, you’ll need to take out a second policy for a second home.

As there are different risks to how you use your main home, you might need unoccupied home insurance or landlord insurance to get the right cover. There are also usually add-on options, like accidental damage cover, that you can buy for extra protection.

If I double up on my home insurance, can I get a refund?

The chances are, you’ve double-insured your home by accident. But all is not lost if you realise this during the 14-day cooling-off period - you should be able to cancel and get a full refund (provided you haven’t already made a claim).

If it’s after the cooling-off period, you’ll need to contact one of your insurance providers to cancel. To help you decide, check which offers the best terms for cancelling and the best value in terms of cover.

Depending on how far you are into the policy term, the insurer you want to cancel may offer you a partial refund.