Home insurance for first time buyers

Winter 2020: Simple ways to prepare your property
21st January 2020

Buying a property for the first time is one of life’s milestones. Although it is exciting and rewarding, it can also be a very stressful process. Often what many new buyers are not aware of, is the fact they need to insure their residence – often as a mandatory agreement as set out by the mortgage provider. Insuring a property ensures peace of mind if the unexpected arises and throws a spanner in the works…

So when is best to buy insurance? Home insurance often needs to be purchased before a new buyer can get the go ahead, get the keys and get moved in! this reassures the mortgage lender that the property will be covered if a claim was to arise. Most insurance providers agree cover with a buyer once contracts have been exchanged. Home insurance is a vast market with many competitive prices and companies out there, it is worth firstly understanding what kind of cover you are after.

it’s important to thoroughly read through policy details before committing.

Buildings insurance can be taken out either singularly or as a joint policy with contents cover included. Buildings cover protects the shell of the house e.g. roof tiles, external walls, windows, underground pipes. It also covers fixtures and fittings such as bathrooms and kitchens. It is important to select a building insurance which covers you for ‘FLEE Cover’. This is fire, lightening, earthquakes and explosions which could damage the property, this does however often come as standard. Buildings insurance protects you if you need to claim for the house itself – this could be anything from damage to the property in an attempted break in or if there is a water leak. Each policy has its only terms and conditions on what is and isn’t covered so it’s important to thoroughly read through policy details before committing. It is important to note whether you are required to take up building’s insurance. Often flat owners do not need to purchase this insurance as it is covered in their maintenance agreement.

Contents cover is the second type of insurance but is optional. This is often purchased alongside buildings cover to ensure full protection against any claim which could affect both the building and the items inside it. Contents insurance protects all personal possessions and belongings from damage or theft inside the home but in some cases outside also. Items inside the property ranges from clothing, carpets, furniture such as televisions, beds, sofas etc. along with games consoles and other electrical items. It is important to remember any contents you have outside such as bikes and tools etc. as these could be included or may need to be added additionally to the policy. With contents insurance it’s important to note any cover limits. For example, an insurer may have a single article limit of £3,000 which means any singular items valued under this, will not need to be specified on the policy as they are automatically covered. Personal possessions cover under contents cover is also something worth noting. This covers items often away from the home such as mobile phones and jewellery which many customers do not realise and end up taking out extra insurance for.

You should be realistic but careful not to under-insure as this could impact an insurance claim.

So, is there anything else you should be aware of when taking out home insurance? Additional cover such as excess protection, legal expenses and home emergency cover are things which can be added to policies and should be considered. They often help when looking to make claims and are worth asking the insurance provider for when choosing a policy. You should also be aware of the sums you are insuring your property and its contents for. You should be realistic but careful not to under-insure as this could impact an insurance claim. Working out the value for your building is relatively straightforward. You should search for any reinstatement values on your surveyor’s report and if this is not available, then there are tools online to access this information. Contents cover can be worked out by imagining your house being turned upside down and everything that falls out in the process, would be the total of your contents. Home insurance is often considered a difficult insurance to work out. This can be simplified by doing the correct research and having a good understanding of what type of cover you require.

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