Home insurance policy add-ons

Home Insurance add-ons include accidental damage, home emergency, personal belongings cover and more. Read on to find out more.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 31 January 2022  | 3 mins read

Home insurance is there to protect your property and belongings from theft, loss or damage in the event of disasters like fires, floods, subsidence or stormy weather.

A standard policy may adequately cover all your needs. But, if not, it’s usually possible to include extra protection depending on what you need.

Home insurance add-ons like accidental damage, home emergency and personal possessions cover are normally available to buy, if they’re not already included in a policy.

Opting for extras like this helps you build a policy to suit your circumstances and to cover eventualities you may be particularly worried about.

Key points

  • Basic home insurance policies may not include cover for things like accidental damage, or protect your possessions when you take them out of the home
  • Policy add-ons can be bought for an extra fee
  • You can customise your home insurance cover by buying optional extras to protect the things that matter most to you

When should I consider optional extras on my home insurance policy?

Read your policy carefully so you’re clued up on what exactly you’re covered for already.

You may find there are gaps in cover that you’d like to fill by upgrading your home insurance cover with optional extras.

What optional extras for home insurance are there?

Want to add some more protection to your policy? Take a look at:

Accidental damage cover

It’s sometimes included as standard on home insurance policies, but in most cases, accidental damage cover is sold as an optional extra.

It covers unforeseen and unexpected damage to your buildings, contents or both.

On a buildings policy it could pay out if a window is smashed by a flying football, your bath is cracked by a dropped vase or someone puts a foot through the attic floor, for example.

Accidental damage on your contents cover will cover mishaps like a dropped laptop, your toddler spilling juice on your sofa, or your mobile finding its way into the washing machine.

Damage done by pets is usually not included under this cover. And, if you caused damage to your home or contents while carrying out any DIY plumbing or electrical work you’re not qualified to do, you probably won’t be covered either.

Protected no-claims discount

Just like with motor insurance, you can get a no-claims discount (NCD) on your home insurance.

The more years you go without making a claim, the higher the discount you could get.

If you’ve not made a claim for some time (often five years), some insurers allow you to pay an extra fee to protect your NCD.

It means that you keep the discount you’ve built up, even if you make a claim. Your insurer will have its own limit on how many claims can be made under this protection before your NCD is affected. Usually, it’s one or two claims during the policy term.

Legal services cover

Sometimes called family legal protection, or legal expenses insurance, this may already be part of your home insurance cover, so check your policy.

Legal expenses insurance will pay up to a certain amount (often up to £50,000 or £100,000) for you and your family to pursue or defend a personal legal dispute. This is dependent on your insurer’s lawyers believing your claim has more than a 50:50 chance of being successful.

For example, it could cover your legal expenses if you or a family member suffer a personal injury following an accident where someone else was to blame, or for an employment or property dispute.

You’ll also usually have access to a confidential legal helpline, which could provide you with advice on anything from employment to consumer law, personal injury or medical negligence.

Home emergency cover

This cover can help you deal with emergencies such as burst pipes and blocked toilets, or if your electrical or gas supply fails.

It will pay up to a certain amount - often £500, or £1,000 - for an authorised repairer to come to your home to sort out the emergency.

You’re also covered for incidents that affect the security of your home, such as smashed windows and broken front doors. And for getting rid of pests like wasps and vermin that have made their way into your home.

Some policies will pay out for overnight emergency accommodation in a hotel, too.

Personal belongings cover

Standard contents policies cover your belongings at home, but not necessarily when you take them out and about.

You can pay extra for this sort of protection with personal belongings, or personal possessions cover.

It will insure your personal belongings against loss, theft or accidental damage when you take them anywhere, whether it’s in the UK or worldwide.

Things like your jewellery, laptops and mobile phones could be covered. Some policies pay out for lost or stolen cash, up to a certain amount, too.

Bicycle cover away from home

Your bike may be covered on your home insurance when it’s at home, but not when you’re taking it for a ride.

To cover it away from home, you may need to add bicycle cover to your policy. It protects you against accidental loss, damage or theft of your bike (as long as it was adequately locked) when you’re out with your bike.

There’s usually a single-item limit which varies between policies, so check whether the policy will provide enough cover if you have an expensive bike.

Boiler cover

It may be included in your home insurance cover as standard, but if not, then this added extra can pay for the cost of repairing your boiler if it breaks down, leaving you without hot water or heating.

You’ll usually need to get your boiler serviced regularly as a condition of the policy. Failing to do this would invalidate any claim you make.

Some insurers won’t cover boilers over 15 years old.

Your boiler could also be covered under home emergency cover if you have it, so check your policy documents.

Valuables

Most home insurance policies have single-item limits. This is the maximum amount they’ll pay out for one particular item, which could be anything from £500 to £5,000, or even more.

Any high-value items, such as jewellery, paintings, watches, stamp or coin collections, may need to be listed separately on your policy to be covered.

Airbnb / host insurance

If you let a holiday home or a room in your home for short breaks, your standard home insurance won’t cover you.

You’ll need specialist host, or holiday let, insurance to protect you from all the additional risks that letting to guests brings.

Host insurance typically includes public liability insurance, this will cover legal expenses if someone is hurt or injured while staying at your property and makes a claim against you. It could also include accidental damage to cover any breakages that happen at the hands of your holidaymakers.

How to find the best home insurance deal

Some standard insurance policies might come cheap, but you need to check policy documents carefully to make sure you’re happy that they’ve given you adequate protection.

More expensive policies might include a higher level of cover as standard - things like accidental damage or home legal expenses cover.

However, it’s also important to check that you’re not paying for more than you need when buying home insurance . In which case, it could pay to investigate whether you may be better off opting for a policy with less cover, then adding optional extras to it, to protect the things that matter to you.

It’s always best to shop around and compare home insurance policies to look at what works out best for your needs.

Paying out a little extra at the start could save you money and hassle in the long run.

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