An Essential Guide to Buildings’ Insurance

Have you ever considered what would happen if your home was destroyed in a flood or fire? Would you have enough money to build your home back to its original state? As much as thinking about worst-case scenarios is often something we put to the back of our mind, by being prepared with buildings’ insurance for such disasters it could save you a lot of money and heartache in the future.

If your home was destroyed in a flood, fire or due to subsidence; or it was damaged by a falling tree or a burst water pipe, buildings’ insurance would cover the amount it would cost to rebuild your home. It also includes fixtures that could be damaged in the process, including boilers, kitchens, baths and toilets.

You may also find that your home insurance will cover sheds, garages and greenhouse, but you should always check as some policies won’t include other things such as paths, gates, fences and so on. Also check that your policy covers the clearing of the site too; for example, if there was a fire at your house, the site would need clearing of all the debris before rebuilding can commence. It’s also worth checking that accommodation while your home is being rebuilt is included alongside architects’ and surveyors’ fees.

Why should you have buildings’ insurance?

In a lot of cases your mortgage lender will have asked you to carry out this kind of insurance; but even if you don’t have a mortgage this type of insurance is essential. You will also need to have contents’ insurance as buildings’ insurance will not cover possessions if something did happen at your home.

What kind of insurance cover will you need?

This is where it gets slightly complicated, as your buildings’ insurance will be valued at a price that is less than your property’s market value. This is partly due to the fact that the land in which it is situated on is taken into account in the market value but isn’t a part of the buildings’ insurance.

Always check your cover on a regular basis to make sure you are still insured as housing prices may rise after you have taken out the policy meaning the costs of rebuilding may be more than your buildings’ insurance is valued at. You should be able to find the assessed rebuilding costs on your mortgage agreement.

What happens if you need to make a claim?

Firstly, you should have established what kind of policy you have. For example, is your home a little different from the average property – does it have a thatched roof, is it made of stone or is it on the larger side? All of these factors will need taking into consideration, so it is a good idea to get an insurance valuation from a professional surveyor.

You will also need to note that other things such as the age of your property and whereabouts it is located will also come into consideration in the policy. For example, insurers will assess the location of the property in relation to flood and subsidence risks.

Then, if you do need to make a claim, your insurer should have provided you with some emergency telephone numbers that you can contact them on. These helplines should also offer you any advice that you may be seeking about making a claim, even if there isn’t an emergency at this moment in time.

Always make sure you are clued up as to what to do if something does happen; if a pipe bursts in your home, ensure you do as much as you can to stop it spreading as well as keeping any receipts that you have for the repair work. Once your work is carried out, you will need to complete a claim form and attach all of the relevant documentation, including receipts, invoices and other items, making sure you have a copy of all these before you send them.

What if my claim is rejected?

If you come to make a claim and then find that the insurer has rejected this claim, you’re entitled to know why this has happened. All insurers will process a claim through a standard procedure, which will be included within all of the documents you received with your policy. You can write to or call your insurer (recording dates and notes on what is said) and ask for their reasons for rejecting your claim.

If you are still not happy with the fact that your claim hasn’t been accepted and there has been no resolution, you can make a complaint using the Financial Ombudsman.

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