Your home is your sanctuary and your shelter, the place you have chosen for yourself and your family to be safe and warm. If anything serious should happen to it, you need to know that you will be able to rectify the problem quickly and at no extra expense.
The only way to make sure that this can happen is to have buildings insurance. The potential fallout of not having this type of insurance is dire, and in the worst possible scenario, it could result in you losing your home and having nowhere else suitable to go.
Mortgage lenders will invariably insist on a lender having buildings insurance as a condition of the loan, and there is a good reason for this. Homeowners who don’t insure their property – as a building – are putting their homes and their futures at risk.
What does buildings insurance cover?
This type of insurance does not cover your possessions; they are covered by contents insurance. Buildings insurance covers for damage to the actual structure of the property, i.e. its walls, roofs and floors, as well as any permanent fixtures and fittings such as a fitted bathroom or kitchen. In many cases buildings insurance will also be able to provide cover for outdoor features like a garage or a driveway, as well as fences and garden walls.
A typical buildings insurance policy will provide cover for the repair of any damage caused by storms, floods, fire, smoke, explosions, vandalism, subsidence, collisions with vehicles, falling trees, water damage from leaking pipes or damage caused by oil leaking from the heating system.
Who needs buildings insurance?
Homeowners: anyone who owns their own home, or is the owner of a property that is rented out. (There is a specific type of insurance that meets the needs of landlords, for more details see How Much Does Landlord Insurance Cost?)
Unlike car insurance, having buildings insurance is not a legal requirement, and it is estimated that as many as 1.5 million UK homeowners do not currently have any buildings insurance. As the economy has worsened and belts have been tightened, more and more people have been taking the risk of owning a property that is not covered for any structural damage, but this is a very serious risk indeed.
What can happen if you don’t have buildings insurance?
Imagine your home is burnt down in an accidental fire that started in your neighbour’s chimney. It was not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong, and if you have adequate buildings insurance, you will receive enough money to rebuild the property completely and cover the costs of your living arrangements in the interim.
If you do not have buildings insurance of your own, there is a chance that you may be able to claim on your neighbour’s policy – but only if you can prove their negligence was a direct cause of the fire. If you cannot prove this, or if your neighbour is also without buildings insurance, you will be left with no home and no money to do anything about it. If you still have a mortgage, you will still be liable to make repayments on the loan – all for a property that no longer exists.
It is because we cannot know what might happen to our homes, and we cannot legislate for the actions of others, nor natural occurrences like storms or accidental fires, that having buildings insurance is so essential.