What is the Best Home Insurance In The UK?

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What is home insurance?

Home insurance is, very simply, a way of protecting your home and its contents. It is insurance which will reimburse you if your home, or your possessions, are damaged or destroyed. You pay a monthly or annual premium for this protection.

What does home insurance cover?

Home insurance includes a number of different kinds of cover. Most importantly, it breaks down into buildings and contents insurance - the first insures the physical fabric of your home, while the second insures the contents - for instance furnishings, personal possessions, and white goods.

Most insurance will help you pay for alternative accommodation if damage makes your home unsafe or uninhabitable.

Watch out!

Most home insurance will also cover your garden and any outbuildings or sheds. But that cover may be limited, so check the policy.

There are also various possible extensions of home insurance. Some insurers may include a number of them as standard, while other insurers may offer them as paid-for extras. Cheap house insurance doesn't usually include them, while premium policies from large insurers usually do.

Type of home insuranceDetails
Content insurance
  • Not mandatory by law
  • Highly recommended if you rent a house or flat
Building insurance
  • Not mandatory by law but often a requirement if you have a mortgage
  • Must have if you own a house
Alternative accommodations
  • Often included in home insurance
  • If damage makes your home unsafe or uninhabitable.
Garden coverage or sheds
  • Often included in home insurance
  • Cover can be limited
Emergency cover
  • Add-on to Home insurance, sometimes included
  • Can help you with burst pipes, storm damages
Types of home insurance and details

What does home insurance not cover?

Home insurance will not cover everything. It won't cover you for:

There are also a number of exclusions that will be made in your policy. It's up to you to check the policy and make sure you understand them before you sign up. These exclusions will probably include:

Watch out!

Do not mix unoccupied property insurance with holiday home insurance, left empty most of the year. Check out our guide on best holiday home insurances.

What types of home are covered by home insurance?

Home insurance can cover any type of building. However there is a small difference between flats and houses.

  1. Houses need their own buildings insurance, and can have contents insurance added to that.
  2. Flats will usually have their building insurance arranged for the entire block through the freeholder or commonhold. Each flat's resident is then responsible for their own contents insurance.
  3. Cottage insurance.

Some kinds of home are more difficult than others to insure. You may need to talk to a specialist if you live in:

What home insurance extras are available?

Most policies offer a number of extras that you can select at additional cost. These might include:

Home insurance extras available
Accidental damage
  • Covers you for any damage you or your family or guests cause by accident.
Pet damage
Offered by a few insurers, to protect you against your furry friends' over-enthusiasm.
Personal possessions
  • Covers items you take outside the home, such as your smartphone, laptop, or jewellery.
  • Often include bicycle and mobile phone cover.
Emergency cover
  • Can help deal quickly with drastic situations.
  • Often include boiler cover.
Legal expenses
Can be quite broad and include dealing with employers or vendors.
Home insurance extras

Good to know

Most home insurance doesn't include cover for accidental damage. If your kids manage to kick a football through a window, or you manage to spill paint on the carpet, you're going to have to pay for it yourself. However, a lot of policies will allow you to add accidental damage for an additional premium.

Check out our other guides on home insurance extras.

Who is home insurance for?

If you have a home, home insurance is for you!

If you rent, you may think you don't own much and so you don't need insurance cover. But take a look at what you've actually got - a fridge, washing machine, carpets, curtains, your furniture, paintings on the wall, books, CDs, a laptop, tablet, sports gear - it soon adds up. Very few people have so few possessions that they don't need any insurance at all - even Marie Kondo probably hasn't decluttered to that extent!

How much is home insurance?

To know how much is home insurance, we will study:

Average cost of home insurance

There are various figures available and they don't all tell the same story.

The AA insurance index put the average combined building and contents insurance in the UK at about £160, but The Association of British Insurers says the average is about £300 a year. It's a big difference - the AA used the five cheapest quotes available while the ABI uses premiums actually written by members of the association. So you can see some people are paying a lot more than cheapest quote!

ABI figures also split out the cost of separate buildings and contents insurance at

Average annual premium
Building insurance
Contents insurance
Combined policy
How much does home insurance cost

Good to know

You can see that buying a combined policy at £300 is a bargain compared to paying a potential £390 for separate policies.

Factors affecting the price

However, your quote could be more or less than the average. It will reflect various factors:

How much home insurance cover do you need?

You need cover that's just right - not too much, and not too little. If you over-insure, you're paying too much - but if you under-insure, your insurer could cut any payout if you claim.

Rebuild cost

To find the rebuild cost of your home, your best approach is to use a rebuild cost calculator. Unless your home is atypical - if for instance you live in an earthship or a thatched cottage - it will produce a rebuild cost you can rely on. There are only so many ways to rebuild a two-up, two-down city terrace or a suburban semi.

Content calculator

For contents, check each room of your property, including all those little places you forget - the cupboard under the stairs, the shed, the spare room. Remember that anything that's not fixed to the building is included under 'contents' even if it's plumbed in - a fitted kitchen will come under buildings insurance, but free-standing fridges, microwaves, and washing machines are considered to be 'contents'. Again, there's a tool that can help you with this.

You also need to consider any particularly valuable items and assess their value. That's because many insurers have a limit on the amount they'll pay for any single item, or for valuables - so if you have a small collection of modern art, or some heirloom jewellery, or even just a lot of consumer electronics because you're a big videogames fan, take a note of how much these things are worth.

How do I get home insurance quotes?

The best way to compare home insurance is online. You can see many more quotes at a time instead of having to spend time ringing round different insurers.

Here, you can get home insurance quotes in just seconds, whether you're looking for house and contents insurance or just buildings insurance or contents insurance separately.

How do I save money on my home insurance?

First of all, remember to shop around. Do a proper home insurance comparison to find the best home insurance that gives you all the cover you need.

Many people auto-renew their home and contents insurance every year. They're losing out, because often, the insurance company will put their premiums up every year. By shopping around and picking a more competitive home insurance quote, they could save a large amount of money. Citizens Advice reckons that if you stick with the same insurer for five years, you could end up paying double the premium you'd get if you had switched.

But there are other ways to save money too.

How can I claim on my home insurance?

To claim on your home insurance you need to contact your insurer. Your policy documents will tell you how - that may be on a dedicated phone line, or through an online portal.

You probably want to take some photos of the damage. In fact, it's not a bad idea to have up to date photos of your home so you can show the insurer 'before' as well as 'after'. And before you ring your insurer, take the time to note the date, exact time and circumstances of the damage.

Watch out!

Unless it's an emergency, it's important you don't get repair work done or buy new stuff before you've spoken to your insurer. (In an emergency, they will understand you need to repair broken doors or windows, for instance, but if you have a burst pipe, don't start ordering new carpet!)

If theft or vandalism is involved, you'll need to contact the police, too, and get a Crime Reference Number to give to your insurer.

To check how to claim on your home insurance, check our reviews.

How can I cancel my home insurance?

When you get home insurance, you're given a 14 day cooling off period during which you can cancel without penalty. You'll need to put this in writing and enclose your documents - but it's always worth phoning or emailing in advance.

If you need to cancel after the cooling-off period, for instance if you're moving house, you'll need to talk to your insurer. You may have to pay a penalty. If there are complete months left on an annual paid policy, you may get a refund.

If you're paying monthly, don't cancel your direct debit. Your insurer may need to take a final payment to balance the books.

Good to know

Some insurers will refund your cancellation fee if you switch insurer. Check the cancellation and switching fees charged by each insurer in our reviews.

Does home insurance cover me if I’m away from home?

Obviously you're allowed to take a holiday! But most insurers aren't prepared to run the risk of insuring a property that is left empty for a long while.

Usually, they'll limit your absences to 30 days at a time, and they may have an annual limit too.

If you're going to be away for a while - for instance on a work secondment - you need to ring your insurer. Some insurers will make one-off exceptions if they know why you're going to be away, or they may add unoccupied cover at an extra charge. Otherwise, you'll need special unoccupied house insurance. Remember, when you come back, you need to change your insurance back again.