What does building insurance cover?
A mortgage provider will require you to have a professional survey carried out on your property before agreeing to a mortgage, this is not only to highlight any structural problems but also to allow for the correct level of building insurance to be put in place. For example, subsidence can be included in the policy if a fully comprehensive survey is carried out.
Building insurance typically covers: the cost of permanent structures in your property, the land and in some cases, outbuildings.

This policy also protects your property for damage from fire, floods, vandalism and malicious damage and damage from vehicles, falling trees and natural disasters.
It is also possible to include: subsidence, damage to pipes and accidental damage to fixtures and fittings within the policy.

It is worth noting that building insurance does not include war, terrorism, pollution or botched jobs, such as DIY disasters.

The cost of building insurance varies widely as no two properties are ever the same. However, typical factors affecting the premium price include: the building’s structure, age, location (post code), number of bedrooms, materials used to build it (wood/brick), flood risk, stability.

There are typically two categories of buildings insurance:

Insurance assessed by the number of bedrooms in your property. So the less bedrooms your property has, the lower your premium.

Insurance assessed by the sum you need to insure. The sum insured is the entire cost of rebuilding your house, so it is essential it is worked out accurately. You are urged to assign a chartered surveyor to calculate the rebuild cost of your home. Or if you have recently applied for a mortgage or remortgaged your home, request this valuation report from your lender.

Other policies you should look to include within your building insurance umbrella are:

Accidental damage – for fixtures and fittings within your home, but this may overlap your buildings insurance so make sure both policies are not insuring the same thing twice.
Public liability – protects you against a person injuring themselves in your property and bringing a compensation claim against you.
Alternative accommodation – this covers if disaster strikes and you need somewhere to stay while repairs and maintenance are being carried out.

Other aspects of buildings insurance to consider include:
Flats and apartments - If you own a flat or an apartment, you will need to have freehold or leasehold flat insurance. If you own the leasehold for a single flat, you should not have to pay the full price; this is typically sorted out between the freeholder of the building or the local council.

Public liability is a vital component to building insurance. For example, if your washing machine were to overflow causing damage to the property below, you will need to be adequately insured to cover the cost of damage.

Landlords are strongly recommended to take out liability insurance to protect against damage to the structure of their property by their tenants. Landlords’ buildings and contents insurance cover is an absolute “must” because the cost of making good any potential damage could work out far more expensive to make good than the deposit they have given you.

Always check the small print on your building insurance cover, common exclusions include: wear and tear, aging, willful neglect and deliberate damage.

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