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What Are the Benefits of House Insurance?

Sep 14, 2008
"Safe as houses" is probably one of the most unfortunate expressions. Reports on the devastation of spring and summer flooding have become almost commonplace in Britain today, whilst storms, fires and subsidence continue to seriously damage a surprising number of homes. Add to this the alarming statistic that one in three home occupiers will be burgled at some stage in their lives and it becomes quite amazing that an estimated one in four homes have no form of house insurance at all.

A roof over your head is probably the most basic and essential human needs. If you are buying your own home, therefore, you will want to ensure that it is adequately protected against the major hazards of:

- Fire, explosions (from a gas leak for example) and smoke damage;
- Ingress of water from burst or leaking pipes;
- Flood and storm damage;
- Vandalism and malicious damage;
- Subsidence.

Most home buildings insurance will cover all of these risks in a policy where the total insured sum is sufficient to entirely rebuild the home in the event of its total loss (burnt to the ground by a fire, for example). The cost of rebuilding your home, of course, does not include the cost of the land on which it is built. Nevertheless, reconstruction costs can be greater or indeed less than the market value of the property. Calculating such rebuilding costs can be a complicated business and a professional quantity surveyor is sometimes engaged to make the calculation. Other insurers take a simplified approach and calculate the likely rebuilding costs on the basis of the property's age, construction type, location and design features.

Although most buildings insurance is offered on a reconstruction basis, it should be noted that some policies are written to cover the market value - which might or might not be sufficient to cover the cost of totally rebuilding the property in the event of a total loss. Obviously, you need to be clear about the basis of valuation or rebuilding costs from the outset.

In the event of such serious damage that your home is no longer habitable, a further consideration will be whether the house insurance makes provision for alternative accommodation for the duration of any repairs (which, clearly, could prove quite extensive). This is a further feature which should be checked before signing the insurance proposal form.

Most house insurance will cover not only the building of the house itself, but also any other structures on the land - garages, sheds and greenhouses, for example. Less commonly will such insurance cover garden walls, gates, fences, drives and pathways or swimming pools.

House insurance is designed to offer financial protection for what is probably your single most valuable asset, so it is worth getting the cover you buy absolutely right. For the reassurance and peace of mind that you are indeed adequately insured, it is worth seeking the guidance and advice of a specialist insurance broker who is experienced in the field of house insurance.
About the Author
David Thomson is Chief Executive of BestDealInsurance an independent specialist broker dedicated to providing their clients with the best insurance deal on their home insurance, car and life insurance.
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