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It’s British summertime; time to take cover.

If our topsy-turvy British summer weather and the 2016 Olympics in Rio are not keeping you busy enough; the quieter summer months can be the ideal time to review your property insurance policies.

Whether you are a homeowner, tenant or landlord, you may be so busy going about your life and business that you don’t leave enough time to arrange the right level of insurance.

Home Insurance may seem like a straightforward arrangement that can be sorted with several mouse clicks, but there are a number of different options on offer based on your circumstances. It can be all too easy to get bamboozled by an enthusiastic salesperson or tempted by the offer of a free cuddly meerkat, and end up with the wrong or overlapping policies.

Let’s start by looking at the main types of products on the market; a buildings policy covers the building and permanent fixtures. If you are renting, your landlord is responsible for arranging this cover. If you own or are buying the property, most mortgage lenders insist on a buildings insurance policy as a minimum to ensure that the property can be repaired or rebuilt. Homeowners in some areas of the country may also now be required to secure additional cover for flood or earthquakes depending on the level of risk.

The level of building cover you need depends on the cost that it would be to rebuild your home rather than the market-value and it is therefore, essential to increase this value if you extend the home after moving in. These figures should be as accurate as possible so the Association of Building Insurers provides a useful calculator for calculating the costs of rebuilding. 

Next, let’s look at the contents insurance; a cover you will need if you are a homeowner or a tenant. A recent survey by Sainsbury’s suggested that the average costs of replacing the value of the items inside a British home currently stands at £55,000 and this is often underestimated, leaving many people seriously at the risk of being underinsured in the event of a claim. It is a good idea to go throughout your entire home to calculate the value of your possessions correctly. What’s more, if you have any items of high value, do check the small print of your insurance policy to find out if they are covered or need to be added as extras. These often include bikes, laptops, phones, jewellery, heirlooms or antiques.

If you currently rent out a property you will need a specific type of insurance for the properties. Here, a policy designed for landlords is your very best bet as a standard policy is unlikely to be sufficient. In addition to buildings and contents, you may also need to cover damage to your property by tenants, loss of earnings/rental income and liability for potential accidents.

Over and above your basic policy, some insurers also offer a number of additional cover options, including accidental damage, temporary accommodation, appliances and legal cover so do assess your individual circumstances to understand what bolt-ons may be needed.

It’s easy to see that there is no one-size-fits-all but it is important to remember that if things go wrong, costs can easily rise so it makes sense not to skimp on protection. Shop around to find cover that is adequate for your circumstances and fits your budget.

Posted by
Ian Murray
on 17th August 2016