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Home insurance

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*51 per cent of consumers could achieve this saving with Independent Advisor Buildings and Contents Insurance. Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during 1 February 2024 to 30 April 2024

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Money Expert

What our expert says

“If you want to make sure you’re getting the best home insurance deal, it pays to compare policies from different insurers every time you renew. When you compare premiums annually, it should also prompt you to check that your policy is still right for you. Perhaps you’ve acquired more stuff over the year, and you need to boost the level of cover provided by your policy.”

Money Expert

What is home insurance?

Home insurance covers your home and belongings against theft, damage and loss. There are two main types of home insurance: contents insurance, which insures your possessions, and buildings insurance, which insures your home against damage. ‘Contents’ can be described as anything you would take with you if you moved, while ‘buildings’ are the structures that make up your home and anything attached to them, such as a garage. 

You can either take these out as separate policies from different insurers or a combined policy from one that includes both, which may save you money overall.

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When do I need home insurance?

Freehold homeowners

If you’re a homeowner with a mortgage and you’re a freeholder, you’ll usually have to have buildings insurance on your property. Cover for damage to the building is a requirement of most mortgages. You should also consider taking out contents insurance to cover the items inside your home that you own against damage, loss or theft.

Leasehold homeowners

If you own a flat, you may find that the cost of your buildings insurance is included in the service charge you pay the property freeholder. If that is the case, you should still consider a separate contents insurance policy to protect your belongings.


As a tenant, you’ll want to consider contents insurance to cover your belongings. This’ll often include tenants’ liability insurance to cover any items belonging to the landlord you’re legally responsible for. Your landlord, meanwhile, will typically have insurance to cover damage to the building.


If you’re a landlord, you’ll usually need landlord’s buildings insurance to cover the structure of the building you rent out. If you’ve furnished the property, you may also want to take out landlord’s contents insurance to cover damage to those items.


As a student, you may want contents insurance to cover your personal items. Replacing broken or stolen items like laptops, musical instruments or sports equipment while away at university can be very expensive without insurance. This cover may be included in your parents’ home insurance policy.

Holiday homeowners

If you’re a holiday homeowner, you’ll need specific holiday home insurance. Your holiday home could be rented out to many different people during the year. This can make damage to the building or its contents more likely than if you’re renting to longer-term tenants, so insurance is important.

Unoccupied homes

If your property is empty for more than 60 days in a row, you’ll likely need unoccupied home insurance. For example, if you are waiting for your house to be renovated, or if there is a significant gap between tenants.

Non-standard homes

If your house is built of materials like timber, steel or daub, is in a flood-risk area, or is suffering from subsidence, you may need to take out specialist non-standard home insurance.

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Types of home insurance explained

When you get home insurance quotes using a comparison site, it will ask you some simple questions about you, your home and the level of cover you need. You’ll then be able to easily compare them.


However, there are also times when you may need to seek out specialist home insurance, depending on the details of your property.

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance covers damage to the structure of your home. Buildings insurance would pay out to repair your roof if it was damaged and leaking after a storm, for example. You only need it if you own your home, either with or without a mortgage.

Contents insurance

Contents insurance covers the items inside your home that you would take with you if you moved house. It usually includes white goods, such as your washing machine and fridge freezer, and more personal items such as your jewellery and laptop. You can claim on your contents insurance for the cost of replacing or repairing your possessions if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen.

Combined home insurance

Combined buildings and contents insurance policies cover both the structure of your home and your belongings inside in one. This can make it easier if you need to claim for serious damage, such as from a fire, that affects both the building and your contents. It can often be cheaper to purchase combined cover over separate buildings and contents insurance policies.

Non-standard construction insurance

You may need specialist home insurance if your property is built from non-standard construction materials, such as timber, steel or daub; if your roof is thatched, shingled or flat; or if you have a barn conversion or modular home.

Non-standard property insurance

You may need specialist home insurance if your property is in a flood-prone area, is at risk of subsidence, is a listed building, or has an exceptionally high value.

What does home insurance cover?

When taking out a standard combined home insurance policy:

It will cover

  • The cost of rebuilding your home from scratch
  • Loss or damage caused by a fire, storm or flood
  • Loss or damage caused by theft, attempted theft and vandalism
  • Loss or damage caused by moving objects, such as falling trees
  • Frozen and burst pipes
  • Subsidence
  • Water and oil leaks

It won’t cover

  • Deliberate damage to your home or contents
  • Theft if doors and windows are unlocked, or burglar alarms aren’t turned on
  • General wear and tear
  • Negligence and lack of maintenance
  • Most accidental damage (unless included as an add-on)
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What are home insurance claims typically for?

Accidental damage was the most claimed-for incident on home insurance policies in 2022, according to data from the Association of British Insurers. Around 301,000 policyholders made a claim for accidental damage in 2022.[2]

Ranking Type of home insurance claim Number of claims in 2022
1 Accidental damage 301,000
2 Escape of water (non-weather) 217,000
3 Storm 204,000
4 Other domestic claims 113,000
5 Theft 75,000

How much does home insurance cost?

Average cost for combined policy £251.63
Cost for buildings insurance £215.63
Cost for contents insurance £83.58

How much does home insurance cost?

The average cost of a combined buildings and contents insurance premium is £251.63, based on policies purchased through MoneySuperMarket in April 2024. 

In comparison, the average buildings-only policy cost £215.63, while the average contents-only policy cost £83.58.[3]

How much could you save taking out a combined policy?

On average, you could save £47.78 by taking out a combined premium, over separate buildings and contents policies.[4]

What affects the cost of my home insurance quote?

Whether it’s the number of bedrooms in your home, the number of kids in your family, or even how often you’re at home, there are a range of factors that affect the cost of your home insurance.


And by getting to grips with how your home insurance quote is broken down, you can get a better idea of how you can get cheaper buildings and contents insurance.

Size and value of your home

For every bedroom your property has, the more it’ll likely cost to rebuild. Similarly, the more bedrooms, the higher you may need to set your contents insurance. 

For example, we found, on average, it’s 157 per cent cheaper to insure a two-bedroom property than a six-bedroom home.[5]

Type of policy

If you take out a combined policy, it’ll normally be cheaper than separate buildings and contents policies. If you need a specialist policy, meanwhile, that’ll likely cost more than standard home insurance.


Where you live has a huge effect on your home insurance. This is because insurers will have data on the risks in your area, such as crime rates, and the likelihood of flooding or subsidence.

Type of property

The cost of insuring a house is different to a flat or bungalow. Interestingly, we found that it cost £94.41 more to insure a four-bedroom semi-detached bungalow than it did to insure a semi-detached house with the same number of bedrooms.[6]

Age of property

If you live in an older property, you’ll likely pay more for your cover. This is because older homes have a higher chance of something going wrong, and may require more expensive materials to repair.


The more your family grows, the more you’ll end up paying for cover. While it’s only 5.9 per cent more expensive having two kids than none, from two kids to five kids, the cost of cover jumps 35.9 per cent.[7]

How often you’re at home

If your home is unoccupied for long stretches of time, your buildings and contents will be more expensive. This is because there is a greater chance of something going wrong without you realising.

Value of your contents

The more your possessions are worth, the more you’ll pay for contents insurance. You’ll also need to take into consideration high-risk valuables, such as jewellery and works of art.


The more you choose to pay as a voluntary excess, the cheaper your premium will be. Your voluntary excess is the sum you have to pay whenever you make a claim, alongside any compulsory excess your provider may have.

Security systems

The more secure your home is, the cheaper your home insurance will be. And that doesn’t just include home security systems such as burglar alarms and smart doorbells, but your window and door locks, and even your smoke alarms.

Optional extras

If you add a bunch of optional extras, such as home emergency cover or family legal protection, your policy will end up costing more. If these add-ons are important to you, you could look into policies that include them as standard.

Claims history

If you’ve made a home insurance claim in the past, you’ll pay more for your next policy. However, if you haven’t made any claims, you should have your premium reduced by your no-claims discount.

Money Expert

What our expert says

“Repairing and rebuilding older homes can be more expensive. You’ll probably need pricier materials and possibly specialist craftsmen, who often charge more. Insurance companies are especially nervous about thatched roofs, as there’s an obvious risk of fire and they cost more to repair and replace than other types of roof. Costs can rise even more if your home is listed.”

Money Expert

Why is the cost of home insurance going up?

While the cost of home insurance hasn’t risen as fast as car insurance, the ABI reported that average combined premiums still rose 13 per cent to £341 across 2023.[8]

Policy type Average premium in 2023 (ABI) Year-on-year increase
Buildings and contents insurance £341 14 per cent
Buildings insurance £262 15 per cent
Contents insurance £124 7 per cent

And prices have continued to rise into 2024, with the average combined policy hitting £375 between January and March – that’s up 3 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and 19 per cent year-on-year.[9]

While the average contents cover didn’t change over that period, remaining at £132, buildings cover was up 5 per cent on October to December’s average, rising to £298.

But why has the cost of home insurance been increasing? There are a number of reasons, including:

  • Providers paid out £2.55 billion in home insurance claims in 2023, a 10 per cent increase on 2022[10]
  • Damage caused by Storms Babet, Ciaran and Debi contributed to a record £573 million in weather-related claims, up 36 per cent on 2022[11]
  • Due to rising materials and labour costs, the price of rebuilding homes has risen 21 per cent in the two years to January 2024[12]

And some regions have seen the cost of home insurance rise faster than others. For example, according to the latest data from Consumer Intelligence, the average quote in Wales rose 43.2 per cent between January 2023 and 2024, compared to 38.9 per cent in the East of England.[13]

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11 tips for getting cheap home insurance

As the cost of cover increases, it’s worth doing everything you can to get cheaper home insurance. That’s why we’ve put together 11 tips for how you can reduce the price of your premium:

1 Don’t ‘auto-renew’

Avoid letting your home insurance policy auto-renew, as you could end up missing out on a cheaper deal. Instead, use Independent Advisor to compare home insurance policies from 84 providers.

2 Compare home insurance policies

By comparing a range of providers, not only can you end up with cheaper home insurance, you may be able to find a policy better suited to your household.

3 Combine your cover

On average, you could save £47.78 by taking out a combined policy over separate buildings and contents insurance, based on policies bought from MoneySuperMarket in April 2024.

4 Don’t over insure your building

Make sure you accurately calculate the rebuild cost and market value of your home so you don’t end up paying more than you need to for buildings insurance.

5 Accurately value your contents

It’s worth taking the time to calculate how much your possessions really cost, rather than just estimating, in order to make sure you aren’t taking out too much cover (or, indeed, too little).

6 Be selective with add-ons

Only choose add-ons, such as accidental damage or personal possessions away from home, if you really feel they’re necessary. Otherwise, you’ll be paying more for policies you probably won’t claim on.

7 Increase your excess

By upping your voluntary excess, you can bring down the price of your home insurance premium. However, be careful – only commit to an excess you can realistically pay.

8 Pay annually

If you can afford to, paying for your home insurance policy up front, rather than in monthly instalments, will mean you won’t pay interest on your policy.

9 Maintain your no-claims bonus

It can be worth paying for a small repair yourself, instead of making a claim, in order to protect your no-claims discount.

10 Improve your security

Installing security cameras, burglar alarms, and smart locks can all help you access cheaper home insurance, while improving the safety of your household.

11 Join your Neighbourhood Watch

If you join your local Neighbourhood Watch, you may be able to receive a discount on your home insurance. This is because it suggests to your insurer you’re willing to go the extra mile to protect your home.

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What optional extras can I add to my home insurance policy?

There are a number of optional extras you can add to your home insurance policy if you want a bit more protection.

Accidental damage

This is usually optional and easy to overlook, but very much worth including, as it covers mishaps like spilling wine on the sofa and other accidents that cause damage.

Personal possessions

This normally includes phones, smart watches, gadgets, jewellery and bikes. In some cases, these items will be covered inside your home as standard; in others, you’ll need to add it as an optional extra. You can also pay extra for personal possessions away from home. This usually means they’ll be insured away from home anywhere in the world, including when you’re on holiday.

Legal expenses cover

Some level of legal cover may be included as standard, but family legal protection and a higher level of cover for general legal costs and expenses – if you are sued or need to sue someone, for example – are often optional.

Home emergency cover

More often than not, this is extra and will pay for the cost of calling a tradesperson to your home in an emergency situation, such as a broken-down boiler or burst pipes.


If you own an expensive bike, you may have to include it in your home insurance policy as a separate item, as some policies only cover bikes worth up to £350 as standard, if they’re included at all.

Replacement keys

Replacement keys can be a standard inclusion, but if not it’s worth considering it as an optional extra, as it should cover the cost of having locks changed and new keys made should your house keys be lost or stolen.

Freezer contents

This would pay to replace spoiled food if your freezer breaks down unexpectedly. Some home insurers will offer this as standard, while some make it an optional extra. Admiral, for example, includes up to £250 of cover for freezer food under its basic contents insurance.

Additional information

We have put together a list of popular questions that you may have, to help you along in your home insurance purchasing journey

Related articles
Is home insurance worth having?

While home insurance isn’t a legal necessity, a valid buildings insurance policy may be required by your mortgage provider. Even if this isn’t the case, not having the appropriate cover in place can leave you and your family vulnerable.

Your home is probably your most valuable possession, and it’s filled with things that are important to you and your family, so keeping it safe and secure makes sense. While the risks of theft, accidents and natural disasters can’t be eliminated, home insurance can reduce their impact, as it allows you to replace your damaged or lost possessions without being entirely out of pocket.

What is a no-claims discount?

A no-claims discount or bonus is a reward for not claiming on your home insurance. It gives you a reduction on your premiums when you renew your home insurance.

The discount builds up and becomes more valuable the more years you go without claiming on your insurance. No-claims discounts vary from insurer to insurer. It can be up to 30 per cent for the first year, increasing to as much as 60 per cent after around five years.

Before claiming on your home insurance, you should weigh up the cost of paying for the fix or replacement yourself against the cost of the increased premiums from losing your accumulated no-claims discount.

Is it cheaper to combine car and home insurance?

Many insurance providers offer discounts to customers who bundle several products together, such as car insurance and home cover. These include Admiral and LV. You should still check that a combined policy from a particular provider is cheaper than taking the policies out separately from different providers, however.

Aside from any potential savings, combining products has several advantages, including:

  • Streamlining your bills: with only one payment leaving your bank account, it’s easier to keep track of your finances
  • Pay a single excess: if your home and vehicle are both damaged due to the same incident, such as a fire, some insurers will only ask for one excess payment. If your policies aren’t combined, you would need to pay two excesses to two different providers
  • One account: both your car and home cover can be managed from one account
Can a smart home security system reduce home insurance premiums?

Installing a smart home security system can potentially reduce home insurance premiums with some providers. Insurance companies often view homes with security systems as less likely to experience theft, vandalism, or other property damage. This decreased risk can lead to lower insurance premiums for homeowners.

It’s important to note that the discount amount will vary depending on the insurance company, the specific smart home security system, and other factors related to your home and location.

Can Neighbourhood Watch schemes reduce home insurance premiums?

Joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can potentially lower your home insurance premiums. Such programmes involve community members working together to report suspicious activities and help prevent crime in their neighbourhoods.

Insurance companies often view these programmes as an effective way to reduce crime rates and improve community safety. However, the impact on your insurance premiums will depend on your specific insurance provider and their policies.

Do I need home emergency cover?

Home emergency cover isn’t essential, but it can be useful if you think you might find it difficult to pay for any emergency repairs to your home you might need.

It typically includes situations such as a boiler breakdown or central heating failure, plumbing problems such as a burst pipe or blocked drains, electrical failure, broken doors and windows, and roof damage that needs immediate attention. It won’t cover incidents caused by a lack of maintenance on your part (such as a boiler that hasn’t been serviced within a certain period of time) or anything resulting from normal wear and tear.

Do I need accidental damage cover?

Accidental damage cover as part of your buildings insurance will provide cover for items that are part of the structure of your home or fixed fittings. For example, if you knock a glass off a shelf and it cracks your bathroom sink, or if a football smashes your window, it’s likely to be covered.

Under accidental damage cover in contents insurance, incidents like knocking a TV over, cracking a glass coffee table or spilling red wine on a carpet or sofa are likely to be covered.

Whether or not you need accidental damage cover can depend on the makeup of your household, for example if you have pets or children.

How do I make a home insurance claim?

If you need to make a home insurance claim, follow these tips to maximise your chances of success:

  1. Make a list of what items have been damaged or stolen. Gather together any evidence that could help your claim, such as receipts and photographs of the items before they were lost or broken.
  2. Get your paperwork together. Find your insurance policy documents, because you’ll need those to make a claim. You should also read them to make sure what you want to claim for is covered.
  3. Call your insurer as soon as possible. The damage or loss will be fresh in your mind, which will help you make your claim. Also, the sooner the insurer knows about the claim, the quicker it can get it settled and pay out.
  4. Don’t throw away damaged items. Your insurer may want to professionally assess them. If you need to throw them away for health reasons, take photographs of them first. You should also take photographs of any other damage as soon as possible.
  5. Consider a loss assessor. For large claims where the insurer may be reluctant to pay out, an assessor will independently judge the value of your claim.
  6. Get works approved. Make sure you ask your insurer to approve any repair works before you start. If you just go ahead without approval, the insurer is not guaranteed to cover the cost. You can get temporary repairs done to stop the damage getting worse and keep the receipts to use as part of your claim but it’s still best to call your insurer first.

We research the latest home insurance data, news items and trends so that you always have the most up-to-date information to help you make your decision. 

When we’re reviewing home insurance providers, meanwhile, we focus on the following features to gain a thorough overview of what a company is offering:

  • Policy types and levels
  • Standard cover
  • Optional extras
  • What’s in the small print
  • Excesses and no claims discounts 
  • Claims process
  • Customer service and reviews
  • Defaqto scores
  • Fairer Finance ratings

Find out more about how we review home insurance providers.

Connor Campbell new profile April 2024

Connor Campbell

Senior Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Laura Miller round image

Laura Miller

Money Writer

Laura Miller is a freelance journalist, editor, and producer. She has a wealth of consumer finance experience, having written about money matters and business for over 15 years.

During her tenure as a freelance writer, she has worked for ITN, Wired, and The Sunday Times, as well as financial institutions such as Aegon, the Chartered Insurance Institute, and Pension Bee, where she’s presenter of the Pension Confident Podcast.

Laura has previously held roles at The Times, where she was the Acting Editor of Times Money Mentor, The Telegraph as a senior finance reporter and was the co-host of the It’s Your Money Podcast, which was renowned for making complex finance issues accessible, and The Financial Times, where she worked as a News Editor. Laura has also worked at CNN,, and as a producer at Radio 5 Live.