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Thu, 08/10/2020
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What’s The Difference Between Buildings and Contents Insurance?

Home insurance is an umbrella term covering both buildings and contents insurance. Knowing the difference between these two terms is important to ensure that you have the right amount of cover for your property. Here we will provide you with the information you need to know.

What Is Home Insurance?

Home insurance is often referred to as if it’s a singular thing, when in reality it is made up of two distinct forms of insurance; buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can arrange them together or go for separate policies for each, however, it’s important to know why they are different and what each insurance type covers to ensure that your property and belongings are properly protected.

What Is Buildings Insurance?

Buildings insurance is designed to protect the fabric of your home, such as the roof, walls, windows and permanent fixtures like a fitted kitchen, garage, conservatory and outbuildings. 

What is Contents Insurance?

Generally speaking, things that can be carried out of your property come under contents insurance. This includes things like curtains, white goods, furniture, and gadgets.

What Is The Difference Between Buildings and Contents Insurance?

The difference between buildings and contents insurance is that buildings insurance covers the physical structure of the property, while contents insurance covers items inside the property.

This means that the floor, roof, windows and walls of your property are covered by buildings insurance, while the furniture, appliances and decorative items are covered by contents insurance. Depending on your policy, external structures like garages and outbuildings may also be covered by your buildings insurance.

While this seems quite straightforward, some parts of your property can be more difficult to define, so it’s always a good idea to discuss your personal requirements with an expert.

Is It Illegal To Not Have Home Insurance?

It isn’t compulsory to have home insurance, but most mortgage lenders insist on it as a condition of your loan when you buy a house.

Further, the cost of repairing structural damage or replacing your possessions if they are stolen or damaged can be enormous in total.

If you are unsure of the amount of cover you may need in terms of buildings insurance, the Building Cost Information Service’s cost calculator on the Association of British Insurers’ website is a useful resource to find out the cost of rebuilding your home.

In terms of contents insurance, it can be very easy to underestimate how much contents cover you need, which can be problematic should you need to make a claim. To estimate what it would cost to replace your possessions with new, like-for-like items, it’s a good idea to go through each room of your house and work out a rough total in order to ensure you have the right level of cover. 

Finding The Right Home Insurance Premium

Your cover should reflect your lifestyle and budget as policies often vary greatly. Best practise is to research and compare buildings and contents insurance before you buy so you get an idea of what is often offered as standard and what optional extras you can select.

Levels of cover to look out for, that could be deemed as standard or optional by different companies include: 

  • Comprehensive accidental damage cover for contents and buildings
  • Personal possessions (all risks) cover away from home
  • Home emergency cover 
  • Cost of alternative accommodation
  • Legal services 
  • Trace and access for water or oil leaks

Another factor to consider is the excess charge. This figure represents how much you pay towards any claim. A likely trend you will notice is that the higher your voluntary excess is, the lower your premium.

In Need Of Assistance?

Generally speaking, when you need both buildings and contents cover, the most straightforward option is to get a combined policy with the same insurer. That way you only have one renewal to worry about and one insurer to correspond with. However, there is no reason why you cannot get buildings cover with one insurer and contents cover with another. 

At Be Wiser we know that everybody’s requirements are unique and require careful consideration when looking for the right cover at the right price. 

If you need home insurance help, the best advice we can give you is to shop around. The Be Wiser website is a fantastic place to start to help you find the right home insurance cover for your needs.