When you’re deciding upon which buildings and contents insurance policies to take out, it’s important to read the terms and conditions thoroughly to make sure that the products you choose cover all the elements and items you need included under various circumstances. And let’s not forget, you want to get the best deal – so shop around or contact your financial adviser who can help you with this.
The cover provided by a home insurance policy can vary depending on the insurer. You can usually “add on” extra cover for an additional cost. These optional extras allow you to tailor your policy to your own individual circumstances, so you only pay for the cover you need.
Personal possessions used away from home
Many people mistakenly assume home insurance will cover their belongings both in and outside the home. You will usually need to add personal possessions cover (sometimes known as an all-risks extension) to your policy to ensure portable items, such as mobile phones, musical instruments and laptops are protected away from the home. Items may also be covered when abroad with this add-on – usually for up to 60 days a year.
If you have children at university, you should check whether or not your policy automatically covers them for the possessions they take with them.
Most contents policies will automatically cover you for the consequences of specific events, such as flood and fire. But not all will include “accidental damage” as standard. Accidental damage provides cover for accidents around the home. Adding this cover to your contents insurance will protect you for life’s little mishaps like spilling red wine on your cream carpet, or a toddler causing havoc with a paintbrush.
If you add accidental damage cover to buildings insurance, you will be covered for accidents such as drilling through a water pipe or cracking a washbasin. Note that general wear and tear isn’t normally included.
Another optional extra for the majority of home insurance policies is legal expenses cover. This pays the cost of legal proceedings should you need to go to court if a claim is disputed by any of the parties involved, for instance arguments with neighbours over boundaries or shops refusing to take back faulty items.
Home emergency cover
This add-on will pay for emergency callouts and repairs, for example, your boiler breaks down or a pipe bursts. Cover can vary between insurers, so you should check carefully, but it will often cover boilers and central heating, drains, plumbing, electrical faults, replacement locks and pest infestations. The amount you can claim for boiler repairs may be lower than with standalone boiler cover.
What to consider
Before adding any of these extras to your policy, check the small print carefully to see whether you are happy with any exclusions or cover limits. In some cases, you may prefer to buy a standalone policy that offers comprehensive cover.
If you are thinking about taking out or reviewing your home and contents insurance policy, contact one of our expert advisers so they can help you find the best tailored policy for your individual needs.