Home insurance may cover a variety of ‘risks’. Most standard policies will list the risks covered and crucially which risks are either excluded or treated differently.

For example, most Home Insurance Policies will undertake to cover the costs incurred by the home owner in the case of fire, flood or tempest. In other words, should the property be burnt to the ground, the insurer undertakes to cover the costs associated with the repair or rebuilding of the property. In many cases the insurer will take charge of this process and employ specialists to manage the process on their behalf.

Most home insurance policies will also offer the homeowner basic cover against third party liability. For example, if the postman was to trip over on your driveway. Additional risks can usually be added for an additional premium. Sometimes, a risk might be so significant (i.e. the risk of flood when a property is next to a river or located in a designated flood plain) that the insurer will decline to insure or otherwise limit the policy by imposing a large ‘excess’ which is a sum which must be paid by the homeowner in the event of a claim and/or the imposition of a larger insurance premium to reflect the level of risk associated with the property. At the time of writing the UK Government are legislating with respect to flood insurance and insurer’s obligations to offer insurance to householders.

Home Insurance premiums are calculated with reference to the likely replacement cost of the property, the homeowner’s history of insurance, previous claims and additional risks that may be present (e.g. perhaps the property has a thatched roof) and other relevant factors. If the property is subject to a mortgage then the mortgagee (the lender) will insist on seeing proof that sufficient home insurance is in place.

It is worth noting that home insurance will not cover items that might be argued to be maintenance related. If you have an old retaining wall on your property or your chimney needs to be re-pointed, don’t be surprised if your claim for storm damage is dismissed if you have failed to maintain your property to a proper standard. Also, whilst your property might be covered for risks of fire, etc your home’s contents will likely not be. Most insurers offer home contents insurance, at an additional cost, as part of your annual home insurance policy.

As with most insurance policies, there will be all sorts of exclusions and specific excesses, so if you have an expensive cycle or some valuable jewellry, check to make sure your policy covers it for loss, theft and damage both on and off the property if so desired. Also, if you let your home out or use part of it for work, make sure you do not need additional or specialist insurance. If you let a property as a ‘buy-to-let’ then you may well need a ‘buy to let mortgage’ and specialist insurance.

For more information please contact our Protection Team on 01628 507477.

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