When deciding how much buildings insurance you need, remember that you’re insuring the cost of rebuilding your home, not its market value. The land your home occupies usually accounts for about a third of the value, but it isn’t really at risk of damage by intruders, storms or fire.
Online guides can help you assess how much it would cost to rebuild your home, based on its size, type, age, location and so on. However, there’s no substitute for professional advice from a chartered surveyor, who can take your specific circumstances into account.
With more than 350,000 listed buildings in the UK, a lot of us are living in homes of special architectural or historic interest.
Like any other buildings insurance, listed buildings insurance is based on the rebuild cost rather than the market value. However, many listed properties were originally built using specialist techniques and materials and you may be legally obliged to restore your listed property in the same way. This raises the rebuild cost and makes insurance more expensive.
It’s a romantic dream for many of us to own a beautiful thatched cottage with roses around the door. However, some insurers won’t offer cover for thatched homes because they carry a much greater risk of fire damage than normal roofs. Luckily other providers offer thatched roof home insurance at reasonable premiums.
You may be able to reduce the cost of premiums for your thatched property by protecting it against fire. You should check your chimneys regularly and have them swept at least twice a year. Make sure you put smoke detectors in the roof space, use a fire resistant barrier to separate the roof void from the thatch and spray the thatch with a fire retardant coating.
Valuables, art, antiques, jewellery and more
If you don’t know the true value of your home contents, you risk being underinsured. It’s worth going through your home room by room (including outbuildings) and making a list. The total can add up faster than you think.
If you have high value items, it’s worth checking whether your insurer applies a pay‐out limit. You may be able to arrange a higher maximum if necessary.
You should also keep the sum insured up to date, especially if you acquire something particularly expensive. Some policies increase the level of cover at special occasions, such as Christmas or around the time of a family wedding, when you might have expensive gifts in the house.