Some Buildings insurance policies differ in the cover they provide and in their terms and conditions.
Buildings insurance policies differ in the cover they provide and in their terms and conditions. The information here is of a general nature – for detailed information you must read your policy.
In addition to the structure, a buildings policy covers permanent fixtures and fittings such as baths and toilets, fitted kitchens and bedroom cupboards. Interior decorations are also covered. Policies usually extend to include outbuildings such as garages, greenhouses and garden sheds. Boundary walls, fences, gates, paths, drives and swimming pools may not be covered – you need to check the policy if you need cover for these areas.
Against What Risks?
Most policies cover damage to your home by:
|Fire||Aircraft or things falling from them|
|Lightning||Subsidence, heave and landslip|
|Explosion||Falling trees or branches|
|Earthquake||Impact by vehicles or animals|
|Theft||Breakage or collapse of aerials|
|Riot and malicious persons||Escape of water from tanks or pipes|
|Storm & Flood||Escape of oil from fixed heating installations|
Extensions of Cover
Most buildings’ policies have valuable extensions of cover.
- Alternative Accommodation – If your home is so badly damaged that you cannot live in it until repairs are done, your policy will help to meet the reasonable cost of alternative accommodation up to a stated limit.
- Liability – If, as owner of your home you are responsible for any injury to someone or for damage to their property your policy will pay the damages and cost for which you are legally liable. There is usually an upper limit of £1 million or more. However, your main legal liability arises from you being occupier of your home and a contents policy covers this.
- Underground Pipes and Cables – supplying gas, electricity, oil or water, as well as sewage pipes, are insured against accidental damage. They are not insured against wear and tear.
- Glass – In doors, windows and skylights is covered against breakage together with baths, washbasins and WCs.
There are limits and exceptions to every policy so make sure you have read it. It is a legal contract and if there is anything you do not understand ask for an explanation.
One word you will come across is ‘excess’. An excess is an amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of each claim. Excesses vary in amount. They may apply only to certain types of claim or they may apply to all claims. Your policy will tell you.
One type of excess that appears in almost all policies applies to damage caused by subsidence, heave or landslip. This is usually a specific amount (for example £1,OOO). Common exclusions are war risks, damage caused by storm or flood to gates or fences, frost, sonic bangs and radioactive contamination from nuclear fuel or nuclear waste.
Be careful – Not all insurance policies are the same.