Buying home insurance can be a daunting task. After all, the stakes are high – not only is your home one of your most important financial investments, it’s also a place that holds your most cherished possessions. Whether you own or rent your house, home insurance can help to ensure that your property is protected from burglars, fires, floods and accidental damage.
When taking out a policy, whether you go direct to an insurer or opt to use an independent broker such as Chill.ie, you will be asked what level of cover you want. To help you work out the right amount of coverage for your home, take a look at this simple guide.
Buildings insurance includes the main structure of your home, such as the walls, windows and roof. Most policies also cover any permanent fixtures, such as a fitted kitchen. Although it’s not a legal requirement, most mortgage lenders will insist that you have adequate buildings cover before you can take out a mortgage.
Buildings cover can be calculated by working out the total rebuild cost of your home, rather than its market value. The best way to get an accurate rebuild estimation is to enlist the help of a chartered surveyor, who will be able to carry out a detailed assessment of your home. Another option is to use a rebuild calculator. Bear in mind though that this method may not be entirely accurate.
Remember that it’s important to regularly check your buildings policy. Some insurance providers will do this automatically every year and will adjust your monthly premiums accordingly. For example, your cover will need to be increased if you have an extension on your property.
As well as the structure of your property, you also need to think about what’s inside. Whether it’s a widescreen TV, a piece of jewellery or an antique armchair, we all have possessions that we are attached to. To make sure that your valuables are safeguarded, you need to calculate the total value of their worth.
As a general rule of thumb, contents cover should include any furnishings and fittings you would take with you if you moved house. When forming a room-to-room checklist, make sure not to underestimate the value of your goods, or else you could be left forking out large sums of money if you ever need to make a claim.
Remember that high value items, such as antiques and jewellery, may need to be listed separately and covered at an additional cost. You may also want to consider extended cover, including accidental damage, freezer cover, sports equipment cover or any items outside the home that you want protected, such as garden furniture, lawn mowers and bikes. High value properties, listed buildings, holiday homes and non-standard construction may also require additional cover or specialist insurers.
Most importantly, always remember to read the small print to ensure you know what is and isn’t included in the plan. Although finding the right home insurance is not always a straightforward task, with the right cover, you can rest assured that you are safeguarded should anything ever go wrong.