Buying a property is exciting, but buying a new build home can be even more special. You’ll be the first to turn it from a house into a home, and create long-lasting memories within its walls.
Nothing beats stepping inside on completion day and celebrating, as you go from room to room, taking it all in. But it’s vital you still consider the important stuff – home insurance, in particular.
No one likes to think about burglaries, floods and fires, especially when moving into a new home, but it’s important that you’re fully covered from the get go. You need to protect your investment and your belongings, so it’s a good idea to get both buildings and contents insurance as soon as possible.
If you’re going to be buying your property with the help of a mortgage, your mortgage provider may insist that you have buildings cover, but it’s still recommended if you’re a cash buyer.
Problems with a new build property
In an ideal world, you’d move into your new home and there wouldn’t be any issues. But there are often things that need to be put right. This is where new build home insurance and warranties come in.
What are new build warranties?
Most new build properties come with a 10-year Buildmark warranty. This covers you in case your builder goes bust before your completion date, but after you’ve exchanged contracts. It also means that, if the builder of your property fails to meet the required standard set by the National House-Building Council (NHBC), you can put a claim in.
Any fault within the first two years of you moving into your property is covered by your initial builder warranty, and your builder has to put it right – without you having to pay any excess.
If you report a fault or issue from year 3 to year 10, your Buildmark cover comes into play, but bear in mind that not everything will be covered. For instance, small claims like a damaged worktop or socket probably won’t be covered, but, if one of your walls is wonky or has large cracks, that should be. Buildmark typically covers the property’s structure and weatherproofing in this period, as well.
Do I need home insurance, too?
Around 1 in 5 new build properties don’t come with a Buildmark warranty, but, even if yours does, you should still get buildings and contents insurance.
A Buildmark warranty is a structural warranty, but it doesn’t offer full protection. If your home was damaged by a fire, flood, stormy weather, subsidence, a burst water wipe or was vandalised, you wouldn’t be protected, whereas with buildings and contents cover you would be.
Home insurance saves you from having to pay out for repairs and replacement items, which can run into thousands of pounds.
Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home, from your roof, floors, doors and windows to your bathroom suite and fixed kitchen units. Contents insurance covers your belongings, – basically anything you’d take with you if you moved home again, like electronics, furniture and other household goods.
Top tips when getting home insurance
You don’t need home insurance specifically for new build properties, just standard buildings and contents cover will do the job. If you decide to get one without the other, you could regret it later.
If you had a flood or fire, for instance, having buildings insurance might pay for your home to be repaired, but without contents cover, you could be left with no belongings or furniture.
It’s important you get adequate cover. So if you’re asked to provide the rebuild value of your home (for buildings insurance), or the total value of your belongings (for contents cover), don’t give a figure that’s too low or you won’t receive the full amount if you make a claim and your cover might even be invalidated. Likewise, don’t overestimate or you’ll end up paying more for your premium than you need to.
Make sure none of your items exceed the single item limit established by your insurer, too. If they do, you’ll need to inform your insurer and request that they’re added to your policy as a ‘specified item’ to make sure they’re covered.
Shopping around and comparing quotes can help you save money, but make sure you look in detail at what is and isn’t covered, as cover can vary drastically from one insurer to the next.
You may have to pay extra for accidental damage cover, legal protection and/or to cover personal belongings away from the home, so check your policy documents thoroughly and don’t wait until you need to make a claim to find out you’re not covered.