How much home insurance do you need?

It's important it is to protect the things you've worked hard for. Home insurance can help make sure you’re covered should something unexpected happen.

What is home insurance for?

Home insurance protects you financially by paying for replacements or repairs if something happens to your home or belongings - for example, if they're damaged in a fire or a flood, or if your things are stolen.

If you rent

You may want to consider contents insurance, as the buildings insurance is likely to be the responsibility of your landlord.

If you own your own home

You will need buildings and contents insurance to cover your home and belongings. Most mortgages require you to have buildings insurance. You can buy your buildings and contents insurance together, or separately.

What does buildings insurance cover?

Buildings insurance covers the fabric of the building - things like the roof, walls and drains. It also covers permanent fixtures and fittings - things you wouldn't be able to take with you if you moved - such as kitchens, wardrobes and baths.

Buildings insurance can cover things outside your home, such as garden landscaping, outbuildings and driveways, but you will need to check the policy to be sure. If it doesn't, you may be able to add extra cover.

What buildings insurance doesn't cover?

Buildings insurance doesn't cover most damage to your home that happens gradually, such as weathering. It's up to you to keep your home in good condition. It also doesn't cover legal expenses for property-related disputes, but you can usually add on legal cover.

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance covers items in your home that you'd take with you if you moved, such as furniture, ornaments, white goods and electrical equipment. Carpets and curtains are also included under contents insurance, and garden equipment is often covered, but again, it's wise to check.

You can get additions to your policy to cover items you take outside your home temporarily, such as laptops, jewellery and mobile phones.

What doesn't contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance doesn't cover wear and tear. Accidental damage may also not be covered as standard and you may need to add it on to your policy.

How do you work out how much home insurance you need?

In the case of buildings insurance, you will need enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home. This isn't the same as the market value - it's usually less. To get a rebuild cost, you can use the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) calculator.

To work out how much contents insurance you may need, look at every room and calculate what the price of replacing the things in there with new ones would be. Many websites offer contents insurance calculators to help you do this. 

You also need to check the highest single item cover offered by your insurance policy. If you have a very valuable item, such as a piece of jewellery or a painting, it might not be enough and you may have to add extra cover.

It's really important not to underestimate the rebuild costs of your home or how much your home contents are worth. If you are underinsured - in other words, if your contents are insured for less than they are worth - and you make a claim, you risk having your pay-out reduced proportionately.