Deciding whether to purchase buildings insurance separately or contents insurance or both combined, and adding up the value of your home’s contents are key steps in deciding your insurance.
Coverage levels can vary from insurer to insurer, policy to policy, but there are some surprising things your home insurance could already include.
Reading: Home insurance what it covers
If the worst happens (like a fire, flood, or sinkhole) and you can’t continue to live in your home, your insurer will likely pay for alternative accommodations while your home is repaired. to be ‘uninhabitable’, your home may simply be without electricity, running water, or, during the winter, without heat.
temporary accommodation should be in the local area to minimize disruption to your daily life. however, in the event that multiple properties are affected after a flood or natural disaster, for example, local accommodation may not be possible, so there may be additional compensation for travel costs.
For some insurers, the definition of ‘home’ may include your yard and outlying buildings (such as a shed or garage) and their contents. Damage to outbuildings, walls, fences or gates may be included in buildings insurance, while garden furniture and equipment are covered by your contents insurance.
however, your shed and other outbuildings must have locks, and proof of forced entry is required for the insurer to pay.
Many people don’t realize that most homeowners policies include not only your freezer but also its contents. therefore, if there is a prolonged power outage, or something else causes your refrigerator and freezer to stop working, many insurers will pay for spoiled food. they can even help with the cost of a temporary replacement.
This coverage may depend on several factors, including how old your refrigerator or freezer was, how much was in it, or whether the malfunction was deliberate or caused by carelessness.
exterior cover of the house
Contents insurance can protect you from theft or damage to personal items (jewelry, cell phones, laptops) within the home. Some policies also provide, or offer as an optional extra, coverage for your personal property outside the home, often anywhere in the world.
If you have that coverage, you could get a discount on your travel insurance excluding luggage, since it will be covered by your home insurance.
Please note that some items, such as high-tech and expensive devices, may require special coverage and there will be an upper limit covered. All insurance includes a ‘duty of care’, so if you leave your smartphone on the beach while swimming or a bag on a car seat with the window open, then you can’t expect your claim to be satisfied.
Whether offered as standard or as an optional extra, accidental damage coverage can include things like a broken television or computer, spills (such as red wine on light-colored fabric), or a soccer ball breaking a window.
Check what the policy covers, as it might not include general wear and tear, damage from pets or vermin, technical or mechanical failures, or ‘set-to-set’ replacement if a set item ( as a set of three pieces) is damaged or intentional damage.
but if you stick your foot in the attic ceiling or accidentally drill a hole through a hidden pipe in the wall, chances are you’re covered.
Some home insurance policies provide protection for home emergencies. this can include problems with central heating, electricity, flooding, roof damage, and damage that affects the safety of your home. Some policies may also offer coverage for pest infestation, such as a wasp nest.
coverage of legal expenses
Home insurance policies can sometimes include legal expense coverage for things like disputes with your employer or neighbor, tax inquiries, defective goods or services, or injuries. this can help protect against the cost of being sued, or if you need to make a claim against someone, but the policy will often only cover legal costs and not compensation.
Many home insurance policies will not include marital issues such as divorce or defamation related cases. In most cases, your insurer will also require that your case have a reasonable chance of success. Check the details of your policy before claiming.
If you are found responsible for causing injury or illness to another person (for example, a third party), damage to your property, or if your belongings are lost or damaged in your home, financial compensation may be covered.
Compensation coverage may not be included in a standard policy or as part of legal expenses coverage, so you may want to purchase liability insurance for additional coverage.
increased coverage of the holiday season
Your Christmas can be even more relaxed if you know that your contents insurance has a higher level of coverage during the holiday season.
Many policies take into account the increase in property value in your home, for example, seasonal items and gifts, as well as property from visiting family or friends. some policies will also increase coverage for other religious festivals or family weddings.
Increased coverage during those times isn’t always standard, so check to see what coverage is offered and any limitations, such as the maximum value.
not all insurance policies are the same
The cheapest home insurance policies offered on price comparison sites may exclude features you might expect to be standard, but are optional extras. so always make sure the cover is suitable for your needs. If your contents, for example, are significantly underinsured, you will only be paid a relative proportion of the value of your loss if you make a claim.
Where insurers offer additional coverage at an additional cost, you can tailor home insurance to your needs.