What home insurance covers

Thinking of buying household insurance? Find out what it does and doesn’t cover in our quick guide.

There are basically two types of home insurance: buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can buy these together from the same provider, or separately.

What does buildings insurance cover?

Buildings insurance covers your home against loss or damage caused by events such as fire, floods, vandalism and subsidence.

This type of home insurance covers the fabric of your home including the walls, roof, drains and anything inside that’s permanently fixed, such as fitted kitchens and bathrooms. It also usually covers garages, and may cover outbuildings.

How much buildings insurance do I need?

Your buildings insurance should be enough to completely rebuild your home if it was damaged or destroyed because of an event covered by your policy. The cost of rebuilding your home isn’t the same as its market value – it’s usually less. To get an idea of the rebuild cost, you can use the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) rebuilding cost calculator 

What does contents insurance cover?

As a general rule, contents insurance covers everything you’d take with you if you moved including all your furniture, electronics and clothes. It also covers carpets and curtains.

This type of home insurance isn’t compulsory, but it makes sense for both homeowners and tenants to have it. If you don’t, the cost of replacing your possessions if they’re lost, damaged or stolen will need to come from your own pocket.  

What home insurance doesn’t cover

Both buildings and contents insurance won’t cover you for damage that occurs over time, known as wear and tear. In the case of buildings insurance, it’s up to you to keep your property in a good state of repair. 

Standard policies may not include accidental damage cover, but you can usually add it.

Always check the wording of your home insurance policy carefully to see exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. Policies vary but there are some things most won’t cover. These are called exclusions.

  • Common exclusions for buildings insurance include frost damage and damage caused by pests.
  • A common exclusion for contents insurance is if your home is unoccupied for longer than a specified length of time.

Contents insurance won’t usually cover any of your possessions if you take them outside the home, but you may be able to add this to your policy. 

Did you know...? The average UK home has contents worth more than £35,000, but 5 million homes don’t have any form of home insurance.

You might also be interested in…


See how to calculate buildings and contents cover.


Discover the benefits of insuring your home.


Take a look at some of the different emergencies where home insurance can help you get things back on track.