Buying and managing insurance isn’t the easiest task, and (generally) the industry hasn’t made too much effort to improve things. You’re not alone if you feel confused over whether you have too much or too little cover, or feel overwhelmed by the endless terms and conditions. That’s exactly how we felt, and that’s why we decided to create Homelyfe.
We’re here to make things simple and straightforward, so that you feel confident in the knowledge that you’ve protected what’s important to you.
Here we’re answering the most common questions asked by people about home insurance.
What home insurance do I need?
There are two types of home insurance:
1. Buildings insurance (protecting the physical home).
2. Contents insurance (protecting the things inside your home).
You can buy the two types separately, but if you need both, it’s likely to be more cost-effective to buy a joint policy.
What should home insurance cover?
Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding or repairing the structure of your home if it is damaged, including walls, floors and the roof. It also covers fittings and fixtures, such as bathrooms and kitchens and their fixed appliances like sinks, but not individual items like sofas – these will come under contents insurance.
According to the Money Advice service, you’ll be able to claim if your home is damaged by:
• Falling trees
• Fire, smoke, explosions
• Car and lorry collisions
• Water damage from leaking pipes
• Oil leaking from your heating system
• Natural events such as storms and floods
Contents insurance protects your belongings, so everything you could take with you if you decided to move house. This includes things like:
• Toys and antiques
• Clothes and jewellery
• Soft furnishings (cushions, curtains, bedding)
A contents insurance policy protects these things from theft, damage, fire or flooding. Be sure to check your insurance policy as high value items, such as jewellery or art and even some high-tech electronics may not be covered.
Who needs home insurance?
If you are taking out a mortgage to purchase your home, having buildings insurance is usually a condition of the lender granting the loan. Even if you do not have a mortgage on your property, it is advisable to take out buildings insurance as it will protect you from any accidental damage that may occur to your property.
Renters do not need to buy buildings insurance, because it should be covered by their landlord. Contents insurance is not compulsory. However, it is a good idea to prepare for the unexpected.
How much home insurance cover do I need?
Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your house, not the market value. The market value will be higher as this includes the value of the land the property is built on and elements like proximity to schools, transport and so on. If you are having an inspection as part of your mortgage, they will advise you how much to insure your property for. Alternatively, you could pay for a surveyor to work out the cost or use an online calculator at the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) website (https://abi.bcis.co.uk/register/register.aspx).
When it comes to contents insurance, you don’t have to work out the exact value of everything you own, but you should have a ballpark figure. To work out how much cover you need, it’s handy to use an online calculator; such as this one from Confused.com, which walks you through each room of your house accounting for things like electricals, furniture and decorations.
When should I start buildings insurance cover?
When you purchase a new property, you are the official owner from the completion date. From that point you are liable for anything that happens to your home. However, it is generally recommended that you should take out your buildings insurance from the exchange date as from this point you are committed to buying the property.
How do home insurance claims work?
If you need to make a claim on your home insurance you need to find your policy number and your claims number. You will also need some evidence of the damage. The more documented evidence you can produce, including bank statements showing purchases or receipts, the more smoothly the claims process will be. In the case of a burglary, always call the police first, not only will they need to investigate, but they will also give you a crime reference number which will be needed when you make an insurance claim.
As long as you have filled out your insurance application honestly and accurately, claiming will be easy.
Depending on what your excess is, you will need to pay this sum, the rest will then be covered by your insurer.
Why are home insurance rates going up?
Unfortunately, insurance prices are on the up due to the government increasing Insurance Premium Tax. And, unlike some services, you are not rewarded for loyalty with insurance, so your premium can go up year-on-year. With Homelyfe, the app will send you a reminder that your insurance term is coming to an end and will give you the option to renew, or we’ll quickly search on your behalf for a new policy, so you’ll always get the best deal on your insurance.
How are home insurance quotes determined?
Your home insurance cost will be based on various factors (you can read more about the factors here) including security, location, proximity to water, size of the property, your claims history and even lifestyle factors like your age. For example, an older home will cost more to insure than a new build. When a survey of the property is being completed, they will look for things that could affect the property such as subsidence and risk of flooding.
From the design of the app, to the language we use, everything we do at Homelyfe is aimed at making insurance easier for everyone. So if you have a home insurance question, tweet us @homelyfe and we’ll add your question and the answer here.