Saturday, 19th April 2014

Home Insurance: Differences between Buildings and Contents Cover

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These days, the ocean of insurance options available to a customer can seem mind boggling. Online, car insurance quote, the contents of your house, scooter insurance and even protection for your pets are all commonplace. So what exactly is buildings insurance and contents insurance? And what is the difference between the two?

Buildings insurance is essentially self explanatory. The insurance covers the building itself; the actual structure in addition to the utilities and fittings. If for whatever reason the main structure of the home is destroyed or decayed as a result of fire damage, extreme weather conditions or subsiding of the foundations, your cover will kick in here. Buildings insurance also covers any surrounding elements of your home; a surrounding wall, for example. 

In most cases, the policy covers all aspects of damage to your property. However, there is also the ‘accidental damage’ option available as an extra. This covers a vast majority of freak occurrences like the lads kicking a ball and taking out one of the windows, or dad accidentally putting his foot through the loft floor. Despite this, you should be aware that there are very rare occasions upon which you are not covered by your policy. Nevertheless, if you have agreed terms with your insurance company, these rarities shouldn’t be a problem.

Most insurance providers will offer their customers a blanket sum estimate of cover for your building, so predicting the rebuild price yourself isn’t always necessary. However, in contrast to this, some companies also have a pre-set criteria of circumstances under which entering the rebuild value of your property will be necessary. Typically, these include if you are living in a flat, if the building is listed, if it was built before a certain time or if was not constructed in a standard format.

On some occasions, homeowners discover that their policies have been established with their mortgage company and they want to switch. In the event of this, you should remember that you are within your rights to swap over to your chosen company. Making such a decision could save you money in the long run as you find more competitive premiums.

Contents insurance is different from building insurance as it covers the materialistic items within the household. These can be categorised as all the items that would come along for the journey if you ever moved house. It’s a good idea to consider furniture, technological equipment like computers and televisions.

Within your policy you may be required to be specific about any items that are of high value that may have a higher potential of being stolen. In addition to this, your policy may state that you need burglar alarms or extra locks fitted in correspondence to whether or not you live in an area that suffers from a higher rate of theft or robbery.

Several forms of contents insurance also cover the contents of your house if you are away for a temporary period or on holiday. However, this type of cover is normally offered exclusively within the UK and even then there are some restrictions.

To avoid any sort of confusion, be sure to check your policy thoroughly. If you feel as though anything is missing or needs expanding, furthering your purchase of insurance is always available.  

It goes without saying that to make a claim, you need to have policy documents close at hand. As a result, you should be sure to keep them in a very safe place so they don’t go missing. Alternatively, most insurance companies offer an online function through which you can safely and securely store your policy details so they are accessible on your computer screen at any given time. As you can imagine, these details are absolutely crucial for you to put in a claim.

From there, all insurance companies will have a call centre that will deal with all and any claims. In many cases, these hotlines are open 24 hours a day and seven days a week, with the number being readily available online or on most of the documentation you have received from the insurer.

As an added bonus through signing up for the online facilities, many companies will offer their customers discounted premiums or additional cover in other areas for a cheaper price. This is well worth consideration as it means that you can safely store your policy documents and receive money off your premiums. Once you are fully protected through household insurance, you will be in a win-win situation and prepared for the eventualities life may bring.