Having home insurance means that your property is protected from fires, flood, storms, burst water pipes, subsidence, theft and vandalism. Without it, you’d have to pay for any repairs, replacements or rebuilding costs in full, should the worst happen.
If you’re the owner or occupier of a 4-bed house, let us explain how you can ensure you’ve got all the cover you need.
What are the two different types of home insurance?
Buildings insurance protects the structure of your home, the bricks and mortar, fixtures and fittings, the roof, floors, doors and windows, fixed kitchen units and bathroom suites.
Contents insurance protects your belongings; from your furniture to your carpets. In basic terms, your contents are classed as anything you’d take with you if you moved house, although some exclusions may, depending on the type of cover you choose and your insurer’s rules.
For total peace of mind, if you’re a homeowner, you’ll want both buildings insurance and contents insurance. If you currently rent, you’ll only require contents insurance, as it’s your landlord’s responsibility to get buildings insurance.
The importance of having adequate cover
When shopping around for home insurance, it’s important that you don’t just compare prices, as the cheapest policy may not cover all you need, and you may need to pay for extras, too. For example, if you don’t thoroughly read the policy documents and don’t realise that accidental damage cover isn’t included as standard, you may be in for a shock in the future if you put a claim in and it gets turned down.
Most contents insurance policies have a single item limit for high risk items or valuables, which is usually between £1,500 and £2,500. If you own an item that is worth more than this, you need to let your insurer know, so you can pay a supplement to specify the item and make sure its full value is insured.
Estimating the contents cover required for a 4-bed house
When getting your contents insurance quotes, you will usually be asked to estimate the value of your contents. It’s important that you get this as accurate as possible – but it’s thought that around 1 in 4 households underestimate the value of their belongings. If you estimate too low, you won’t be adequately protected and it may even invalidate your cover. If you estimate too high you’ll end up paying more for your premium than you need to. There are online calculators you can use, or you could go from room to room yourself and add up the value of your possessions.
Rather than asking you to supply an estimate, some insurers will offer cover for between £40,000 and £50,000 worth of belongings, based on how many bedrooms you have. If you don’t feel that the cover offered is enough to replace all items as new at today’s prices, it’s important that you ask for the amount to be increased. If you opt for an ‘unlimited sum insured’ policy, there is no limit to how much can be covered, but you will still need to read your policy documents, as there may still be single article limits, other inner limits and special conditions.
Estimating the rebuild value of a 4-bed house
When applying for buildings insurance, you’ll be asked how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it was completely destroyed, including outbuildings and other permanent fixtures. The figure you give needs to be as accurate as possible.
If you give the market value of your property (the price you’d sell it for), you’ll probably end up paying more for your premium because this figure includes the cost of the land the property sits on. With a rebuild, you’d already have the land, so you just need to consider the cost of materials, architects and builders. Of course, this can be difficult to do, as the price can vary depending on several factors, including where you live, the size of the property, the type of construction, the materials used to build it and inflation.
To help you get as close as possible to an accurate rebuild cost, you can register for free on the Association of British Insurers website and use their handy rebuild calculator.