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Home Insurance - Frequently Asked Questions

Home Insurance - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Home Insurance?
Home Insurance policies provide insurance protection for your home and its contents against a number of perils including: flood, storm, fire, theft and vandalism. Cover is split into sections with the main sections being 'Buildings' and 'Contents' with various options available including "All Risk Cover" for personal items or valuable outside of the home.

Buildings Insurance Policies
You only need to consider taking out a buildings insurance policy if you actually own the property- if you are renting then your landlord will be obliged to make arrangements for this type of cover. If you have taken out a mortgage to purchase your property then your mortgage lender will require you to take out buildings insurance so all parties are protected should the property suffer severe damage. If you own your home outright then you can choose whether or not to take out buildings insurance - for many people it is still advisable to take out a policy as it covers not only repairs but also rebuild costs which can run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Contents Insurance Policies
Contents insurance covers all of the possessions that you keep in your house, from electrical equipment to clothing. Taking out a contents insurance policy is equally as important as buildings insurance - the value of possessions that you accumulate in your home over time can quickly amount to a huge amount of money. Before buying your policy, add up the value of your possessions and ensure you are covered for at least this amount should the worst happen. If you own anything of a particularly high value, such as an antique or heirloom, you may need to check if you'll need to insure this individually as some policies may have value limits.

How do I work out my Buildings sum insured?
When trying to calculate how much to insure your buildings for it is important to remember that you do not need to insure the market value of your home, as this will take into consideration the value of the land and location of the property. The sum insured should represent the amount it would cost should the building need to be demolished, the site cleared and the property rebuilt, following an insured incident. If you have had a survey done on the property the surveyor will normally recommend what you should insure the buildings for at a minimum, as will a mortgage lender as they also wish to protect their interests. For more information about rebuilding costs, and for a helpful calculation tool, visit the Association of British Insurers' website

How do I work out my Contents sum insured?
Your contents sum insured should represent the full value of replacing all of your home contents in the event of a total loss claim (e.g. following a fire). It is often helpful if you work systematically from room to room making a list of the contents before calculating how much it would cost to replace them. Home Insurance policies will cover most contents items on a 'new-for-old' basis, which means that items damaged beyond repair will be replaced with a brand new one of the same make and specification (or the equivalent monetary value) no matter how old the item is. A deduction for wear and tear is often made to items of clothing and linen.

What is standard construction?
As a general rule standard constructed properties tend to be built of brick, stone or concrete and roofed with slate or tiles. We can still quote for properties of a non-standard construction such as cob or thatched but enquiries should be made via the service centre on 0333 0151509.

What happens if I underestimate my sum insured?
All Home Insurance policies contain the 'average clause' meaning if you underinsure, the full cost of a claim may not be paid out to you. For example, if insured your contents for £30,000 but the full replacement cost is actually £40,000 you would be underinsured by 1/4. If you were to submit a claim for £10,000, assuming it was a valid claim, Insurers would only cover 3/4 of the cost and pay out £7,500. It is therefore important that the sums insured represent an accurate estimate of full replacement/rebuilding costs to avoid a restriction on a claim payout.

Why do some insurers give a higher sum insured than I asked for, and am I paying more because of it?
Some insurers provide a blanket level of cover to protect their client's property by avoiding the common problem of underinsurance. This does not mean that the Insurer is charging you a higher premium just because the sums insured are higher than you selected. But it will be worth while comparing what you need against and you are not paying for higher limits you don't need.

What is Accidental Damage Cover?
This is an optional extension to the standard cover you can expect to receive with your Home Insurance policy and is subject to an additional premium. It will cover any damage that is accidentally caused by you or a member of your family, e.g. falling through the loft and damaging the ceiling (buildings) or dropping and breaking a 'contents' item.

What is Personal Possessions cover?
The 'contents' section of a policy will cover the contents/belongings inside of the home. However the 'Personal Possessions' section will provide cover for items that are taken outside of the home e.g. glasses, cameras, holiday luggage, smaller items of jewellery/watches. An unspecified amount can be selected covering the total value of possessions taken out and about at any one time by you and your family. Pedal cycles and items with an individual value over the Insurers normal acceptable limit (Single Article Limit) will normally need to be listed and separately specified on the policy. Cover is normally provided on an 'All-Risk' basis to cover most eventualities.

Can I earn a No Claims Discount?
If you have held Home Insurance before and your last policy expired within the last 30 days Insurers will allow a premium discount based on the number of consecutive years you have been claim free.

What is a Home Insurance Policy Excess?
This is the part of claim that you agree to pay - the policy covers you for the remaining amount. We will inform you of the amount of the excess and details can also be found in the policy schedule.

Will you insure a property which has previously suffered subsidence?
If the property or any property in the vicinity has suffered from subsidence then we cannot provide a quote on line. However we may be able to obtain a quote if full details of any remedial work are available. Enquiries should be made via the service centre on 0333 0151509.

Is my home insurance policy new for old?
Yes, your policy is one of 'reinstatement' or 'new for old'. This means that the majority of items (excluding clothing and linen and possibly bicycles) will be replaced with the new equivalent without any deduction for 'wear and tear'. For example, if you have damaged a 3 year old television, it will be replaced with the latest available equivalent model.

What happens when I move home?
Most of our Insurers offer household removal cover as part of their standard offering. Cover can include accidental loss of or damage to the Contents while they are being permanently removed by a professional removal firm, from Your Home to any other private property. The policy is then transferred to the new property-subject to the normal acceptance criteria.

Are items in my garage or shed covered?
The majority of policies will cover items contained in a locked outbuilding. The policy limit will vary from insurer to insurer. If in any doubt or if you require an item of high value to be covered please refer this to our service centre.

What happens to my policy cover if I want to work from home?
Some of our Insurer panel will cover items such as computers, printers, fax machines and photocopiers. If you do any other work apart from paperwork or you receive personal business callers then certain covers may be restricted. To ensure proper cover is provided please contact our service centre for a quote.

Is my PC covered?
Most of our Insurers will cover your PC against all the insured perils, including theft or accidental damage while in the home. If it is a portable PC and you need cover outside the home, you will need to take out our Personal Possessions option. Please remember that Insurers do not generally cover items used for business purposes nor do they cover the cost of re-instatement of lost data.

Are my Christmas or Wedding gifts covered?
Please check on the particular Insurers policy wording - Many provide a 10% increase in the Contents sum insured for the period immediately before and after Christmas or family weddings.

Are my garden plants and landscaping covered?
Certain policies can provide cover for this-Please check the key facts document or contact the service centre for further advice.

What is Family Legal Protection?
This covers you and your family for legal costs associated with personal injury, consumer contract disputes, property disputes and employment disputes. For further information link click here

What is Home Emergency Cover?
This provides cover for up to £500 for emergency repairs by approved tradesman. For further information click here

Do you offer Let Property Insurance? - click here
Do you offer High Value Home Insurance? - click here
Do you offer Unoccupied Property Insurance? - Phone us on 0333 0151509
Or us a call on 0333 0151509.

City Insurance advises and arranges cover for clients from a number of different leading Insurers, because cover can vary from insurer to insurer, this page is only intended to be a guide. When we provide a quotation it will be individual to a specific insurer. It is important you check all documents we provide to understand the cover included. If you are not clear or are uncertain on any area we will be happy to explain over the telephone - Please call our service centre on 0333 0151509.
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City Insurance Group is a trading style of City Broking Ltd (No 7184645) Registered in England and Wales. Registered Office: 88/89 High Street, Winchester. SO23 9AP England. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No 520574)