Home is where the heart is. And your house is likely to be one of the largest investments you’ll make. Hopefully, you will never be affected by fire, floods, or theft. However, finding the best home insurance policy can help put your mind at ease, knowing that your property and belongings are covered against a variety of risks if they do occur.
Home, buildings, and contents insurance explained
Many people assume that their home insurance covers more than it actually does. This can often lead to unsuccessful claims, which are both frustrating and costly.
So, when looking to insure your property, it’s good to understand what is covered under Buildings and Contents insurance. This knowledge will help you find the right policy and enable you to claim effectively.
At Campion Insurance, we compare policies across Ireland to get you the best home insurance cover at the most affordable price.
Home insurance consists of two main elements:
Buildings insurance. This covers the structure of the property itself, along with any sheds, outhouses, and permanent fixtures.
Contents insurance. This covers the cost of your belongings in the case of damage or theft.
A combined Buildings and Contents insurance policy will give you the most comprehensive cover.
What’s usually covered?
Building insurance protects your property against damage from the elements — fire, flood, storm damage, alongside escape of oil or water. It also covers damage caused by theft or attempted theft and malicious damage.
Contents insurance covers your belongings against all these, as well as loss caused by theft.
If your property needs repairing or replacing, building insurance will cover the costs up to a specified sum. It will also pay for damage to underground pipes or cables and the cost to trace a leak.
Every home is unique and requires different levels of home insurance depending on how and where it is built, amongst other factors. Many insurers are happy to tailor your cover to suit you and your family.
We can provide you with expert advice, whether you need insurance for owner-occupied houses, rental properties, or holiday homes. Feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.
What is not covered and invalidating your insurance?
Although most home insurance policies cover a range of risks, there are some things they do not cover. Having an awareness of your policy details can help make sure you don’t lose money.
For example, buildings insurance covers your main property structure and any sheds or outhouses against storm or flood damage. However, it won’t cover damage to gates, fences, or hedges.
Similarly, most standard home insurance policies do not include accidental damage cover — this is something you can purchase as an add-on. Some policies also won’t insure your home against damage caused by insects, birds, or other pests, so it’s always good to double-check.
Home insurance won’t cover general wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or poor or faulty workmanship. In addition, criminal or deliberate acts by your family and malicious damage caused by someone who has lawful access to your property won’t be covered.
If you spend money preparing a claim that is denied, the insurers will not refund the fees.
There are also a few things to be aware of that can invalidate your insurance claims.
Incorrect property details may invalidate your cover. It’s crucial to update your insurer as soon as possible if you realise any information – such as the type of door locks – has been recorded incorrectly.
Taking on a lodger or starting to use your home for business purposes can affect your home insurance. So, you’ll also need to update your insurer if these changes occur.
It’s also vital to make sure your doors and windows are properly secured whenever you leave the house. If your home is victim to burglary because of an unlocked door or window, your insurance policy may become invalid.
To get the right policy to protect your property, there are extra components you could add to your home insurance.
Accidental damage cover is a popular add-on as it protects you from costs that might arise from everyday mishaps. For example, if you accidentally spill paint on the carpet or break a cupboard door, you’ll be covered.
An optional contents insurance add-on acts as a cover for personal possessions that leave the household, like mobile phones and laptops.
You can also insure against family legal expenses and family accidents.
When you purchase contents insurance, the items protected fall into the following categories:
Household goods: Any fixtures, fittings and decorations.
Personal belongings: Items including portable TVs, sports equipment, and clothing. However, this does not cover jewellery.
Valuables: Jewellery and watches, precious metals, furs, and cameras come under the valuables category, as do artwork and collections of valuable objects such as coins or stamps.
Business equipment: Most contents insurance policies categorise computers, office equipment, and documents as business equipment.
You may have belongings that don’t fit under any of these categories. We can explore different policies and tailor cover to suit your needs.
Contents insurance can also cover the replacement of lost or stolen house keys, the cost of replacing spoiled food caused by a damaged fridge or freezer, and the repair or replacement of belongings up to a certain sum.
As well as financing costs for belongings, contents insurance can protect you against certain liabilities. This includes public liability which can protect the owner in the event that a member of the public claims against them for an injury caused whilst on the property.
What to look out for when comparing home insurance
With so many insurers and policies available, knowing which one to go for can be confusing.
One significant aspect you might want to consider when comparing options is the excess. Excess is the amount of the claim that you would have to pay yourself, and the figure varies across policies.
It could also be helpful to compare exclusions. What does the policy not cover? Always read the small print, so you have a full awareness of what you’re signing up for.
Going through an insurance broker can take much of the stress out of finding a policy – we do the tricky bit for you! This support can be particularly useful if you live in a listed or non-standard building where insurance may be more complicated.
Do I need home insurance?
If you buy your property through a mortgage lender, then buildings insurance is mandatory across Ireland. If you don’t have a mortgage, then insurance is not compulsory, but it is advisable.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have cancelled content insurance policies to save money. The logic behind this is that as people are working from home more, burglaries are less likely. However, as we return to normal life, this won’t be the case any longer.
Home insurance protects you against unforeseen issues, including natural disasters and severe weather damage. It protects your most valuable asset and gives you that much-needed peace of mind.
If you cannot stay in your property following a claim, buildings insurance can also pay for alternative accommodation.
If you are interested in finding the perfect buildings or contents cover, why not contact us today for a home insurance quote?