Buildings and contents insurance is a combined policy option for home insurance.
As the name suggests, it combines the two main elements of property cover – contents and buildings – that can also be arranged and sold separately if so desired.
If you need both elements, such a combined policy can have significant advantages over arranging individual elements of cover.
Price is often the major factor – if you need both types of insurance then a joint policy is likely to be the most cost-effective option.
It’s also likely to be more convenient to arrange everything in one go, and there’ll probably be less paperwork to take care of.
What does buildings and contents insurance cover?
The buildings insurance part of the policy offers cover for your home’s structure and its permanent fixtures and fittings.
If you have a mortgage on your property it’s likely that the mortgage provider will insist that you have buildings cover as a condition of the loan, and leaseholder terms may also demand this.
If you own the property outright then the choice of whether to take out buildings insurance is down to you, but you should consider the value of your home, whether you could afford to lose such a valuable asset, and whether you could put another roof over your head.
In obtaining a quote, you’ll be asked the rebuild value of your home.
This should be found on your mortgage agreement or on the deeds of your house, but bear in mind that it’s likely to change over time.
The contents insurance element of the policy offers financial protection against accidents, thefts or loss that can affect your personal possessions and other valuables.
Such cover is optional, but you should consider how important such items are to you and whether you could afford to replace them should they be lost.
In seeking a quote you’ll be asked to assess the value of your contents – it’s important to get this right to make sure you’re not under-insured.
Insurers usually set a maximum limit for individual items, and this is likely to be in the region of £1,000.
If you have items worth more than this – perhaps jewellery, a bike or expensive electrical equipment – you’ll need to list them separately on your policy.
You should always check your policy’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s covered and for any exclusions.
Are there any advantages to separating buildings and contents insurance?
Ensure that you need both buildings and contents cover before considering a combined policy.
Landlords, for example, may not need contents insurance if they let their property unfurnished or part-furnished.
If you are letting a property, remember that you’ll need a dedicated landlord insurance policy and, even then, you should check your buildings policy carefully to see exactly what’s covered.
Buildings insurance will not usually be of concern to tenants, but it is likely that they’ll want to consider cover for their contents.