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How to get the right home insurance for you

Home insurance protects you if something happens to your home or its contents, so you’ll want to make sure you get the right policy for your needs at the best price so you’re covered without paying more than you need to. 

If your home is destroyed by a fire, hurricane or flood, or your belongings are damaged or stolen, you could have to pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds to rebuild your home or repair or replace the items that have been affected. Home insurance helps with the cost of these so you can avoid financial ruin.

Getting the right home insurance quote

There are big differences between the prices on offer for equivalent policies by the same insurer so it’s worth shopping around for the best premium, whether you’re getting home insurance for the first time or looking for a better price than the renewal quote from your current provider. 

You can compare quotes in a matter of minutes, whether you’re looking for buildings or contents insurance, or a combined policy. Just make sure you’re searching for policies that meet your needs and comparing like for like in terms of what’s covered, cover limits and excesses. Find out which are the best insurance companies before you start.

Our experts are here to help you find the right cover for your home and possessions so we bring you the definitive guide to how to secure the best deal for your budget and needs. We aim to help you navigate some of the more confusing elements of home insurance and compare quotes with confidence. Understanding what you need and how to find it is crucial if you want to get the best deal.

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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 buildings that make up your home and anything attached to them.

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.

To be covered, you pay a monthly or yearly amount – known as a premium – to an insurer. If damage occurs to your property or belongings, you lose them, or they are stolen, you contact the insurer to make a claim. If the insurer agrees your claim is genuine and covered by your policy, it will pay out an amount to repair the damage, or to replace your valuables.

front of uk house with red brick and blue front door
Home insurance – whether it’s contents, buildings, or combined – is relatively inexpensive and gives you peace of mind (Adobe)

Do I need home insurance?

Put simply, yes. Just think about how much it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch in the event of a devastating fire or catastrophic storm. The cost would be ruinous for most people, or at least wipe out your savings. 

This is where buildings insurance comes in. For an average of £24 a month, according to the latest price data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) for the last quarter of 2023, the physical buildings of your home will be covered. From your garage to your pipes and drains, buildings insurance covers property damage up to the full cost of rebuilding your home.

While it’s not a legal requirement to have buildings insurance, if you own your home and have a mortgage, your lender will require that you have it to at least cover the value of the outstanding mortgage. If you own your home and don’t have a mortgage, it’s still important to have buildings insurance. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the entire cost of repairing or rebuilding the structure of your home if something happens to it.

If you live in a rental property, your landlord is responsible for looking after the structure of the building so would be the one taking out buildings insurance.

Now consider what’s inside your property. The cost of replacing or repairing everything you own without home insurance can be high, regardless of how many valuable items you have. You could have to spend large amounts of your savings, or get into expensive and unmanageable debt.

Consider just one room in your house. If you had to replace everything in that room, from rugs to furniture, how much would it cost? 

Contents insurance covers all the belongings inside your home. If you live in a high-risk area for issues like crime or flooding, it’s particularly worth having contents insurance to protect them, but everyone should seriously consider it in case the worst happens. You’ll need tenants insurance if you’re renting too, as your landlord’s home insurance won’t cover your belongings.

Our research found it takes on average just seven minutes to get an online home insurance quote for a combined buildings and contents insurance policy using the most popular home insurance comparison sites – well worth your time, in our opinion.

Home insurance provides a financial safety net. When you make a valid claim, your insurer will pay out an amount to fix damage to the structure of your home under a buildings insurance policy, or an amount equal to the cost of replacing or fixing your lost, stolen or damaged items at today’s prices under a contents insurance policy.
Before you start to compare home insurance, think about how much cover you’re likely to need. For buildings insurance, it will be the cost of rebuilding your home if it’s completely destroyed, which is different to the market value. Comparison sites will often give you an estimate of the rebuild cost based on the details you’ve entered, or you can look it up yourself using the Building Cost Information Service’s calculator.

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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.


Until the end of 2021, this was mainly due to something called “price walking”. When it was time to renew your insurance, your insurer would normally increase the premium for the following year by more than inflation and hope you didn’t notice. But if you went onto price comparison sites, you’d almost certainly find a lower price being offered by the same provider. In other words, insurance companies were offering better deals to new customers than existing ones.


Insurance companies are no longer allowed to discriminate against existing customers, but it still makes sense to shop around, as it seems that some still are. A survey by Which? published in January 2024 found that existing insurance customers were still at a disadvantage compared to new customers so still have to pretend to be a new customer or haggle to get the best deal. 


The Financial Conduct Authority has said it will carry out an evaluation of how the ‘loyalty penalty’ ban is working in 2024.


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. And if you’ve got separate contents and buildings policies, you can check whether you’ll get a better deal if you combine them both into one policy.

What’s the right home insurance for you?

Homeowners (freeholders and leaseholders)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. Even if you’ve paid off your mortgage, the cost of buildings insurance is likely to be far cheaper than paying to repair major damage yourself. It’s your responsibility to maintain the building for at least the term of your mortgage. Without insurance, that can be very expensive. Fixing a roof after a storm, for example, can cost thousands of pounds. If you’re a leaseholder, you should check with the freeholder what home insurance cover they have. Typically, it’s the freeholder’s responsibility to have buildings insurance to cover the physical structure. 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. Whether you’re a freeholder or leaseholder, you’ll need to take out contents insurance to cover the items inside your home that you own against damage, loss or theft.
RentersIf you rent, you’ll need contents insurance to cover your belongings. Your landlord will typically have insurance to cover damage to the building, but this will not cover your personal items. It’s a good idea to compare quotes from multiple insurers for contents insurance ahead of time.
LandlordsIf you’re a landlord, you’ll usually need landlord’s buildings insurance to cover the structure of the building you rent out. This will also protect you against any accidental damage done to the property by your tenants if your policy includes this cover. If you’ve furnished the property, you may also want to take out landlord’s contents insurance to cover damage to those items.
StudentsAs a student, you’re likely to need contents insurance to cover your personal items. Student accommodation, like halls of residence or private shared housing, will be covered by the buildings insurance of the property owner, but there won’t be cover for your belongings. Replacing broken or stolen items like laptops, musical instruments or sports equipment while away at university can be very expensive without insurance.
Holiday homeownersIf you’re a holiday homeowner, you’ll need specific holiday home insurance that covers both the building plus the furniture and other items you own inside. 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.
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Types of home insurance explained

Home insurance policies can cover the structure of your home (buildings insurance), your personal belongings inside the property (contents insurance), or both.

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.

If you need both buildings and contents insurance, you can get quotes for each type of insurance separately and choose the insurer that gives you the best quote for each. Alternatively, it may be cheaper to buy them together from the same insurer in a combined policy.

What is contents insurance?

woman using a remote control on her TV in a UK living room
Contents insurance will cover your possessions (Adobe)

Contents insurance covers the items inside your home that you would take with you if you moved house. It includes items ranging from your washing machine and fridge freezer to 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.

Price comparison sites are a good place to find and compare contents insurance policies.

What is buildings insurance?

subsidence crack in a wall near a window
Buildings insurance will protect your physical home from issues like subsidence (Adobe)

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.

Again, comparing policies using comparison sites is the best way to go here.

Combined buildings and contents

Combined buildings and contents insurance policies cover both the structure of your home and your belongings inside in one.

In the event of serious damage to your home, for example from a fire, it’s likely you would need to claim on both buildings and contents insurance. Buildings insurance would cover the cost of repairing the damage to the structure of the property while contents insurance would pay to replace your belongings.

Buildings and contents insurance can be bought together as a single combined policy when you get a home insurance quote online.

What is non-standard home insurance?

Owners of some property types may find it more challenging to find home insurance, with providers reluctant to cover thatched roofs, modular buildings, or properties built on flood zones, for example. 

You may also need non-standard home insurance if you have specific personal circumstances, such as criminal convictions, bankruptcy, county court judgments, or a high-risk occupation.

There are several categories that your property may fall into.

Non-standard construction

Non-standard construction refers to homes built from materials that are non-typical, so not made from the usual brick or stone, or with a tile or slate roof. These include: 

  • Timber-framed buildings
  • Steel-framed or BIFS (British Iron and Steel Federation) buildings
  • Properties using natural construction materials, such as straw bales, wattle and daub, flint, cob, or grass and peat
  • Homes with thatched, shingle, plastic or flat roofs
  • Barn conversions
  • Modular or prefabricated homes
  • Self-builds – depending on construction material and property design

For these types of property, any claims for repairs are likely to be larger and more frequent than for standard properties. The cost of materials could be higher, and, depending on the property, it may be harder to find tradespeople with the required expertise. Ongoing maintenance may be necessary, as some materials are more prone to damage than regular bricks and mortar, and any repairs could take longer and cost more.

Non-standard property

The construction materials may not be the only reason why a property counts as non-standard for insurance purposes. You may also require specialist home insurance if:

  • Your home is in a flood-prone area
  • Your home is at risk of subsidence
  • You live in a listed building
  • Your home is unoccupied for long periods
  • Your home has an exceptionally high valuation

Non-standard home insurance is available from mainstream insurers but, depending on the nature of your home, you may need insurance from a specialist provider. It can also be worth speaking to an insurance broker to get the best deal. You can find one on the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website.

What does home insurance cover?

Home insurance policies all cover you to a varying degree against loss, damage or theft. This could be caused by a natural event such as a flood or fire, or losses in a burglary, for example. 

Accidental damage – because you smash a vase or knock over a pot of paint, for example – may not be covered as standard by your home insurance policy. Cover for accidental damage can typically be bought as an add-on for a small extra cost. It can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you have children, who may be more likely to break things by mistake. 

Bear in mind that accidental damage cover doesn’t usually include damage caused by pets, such as from fouling, chewing, or scratching, so you may need extra insurance for that.

Insurance of all types is essentially designed to put you back in the same position you were in before the damage or loss happened.

Be sure to compare home insurance policies for their different features so you know what coverage you’re getting. The easiest way to compare home insurance quotes is online through price comparison sites.

What doesn’t home insurance cover?

Home insurance won’t cover deliberate damage to your home or its contents. Home insurance also might not cover you if you fail to take sensible precautions, like locking your doors and windows, or setting your burglar alarm. It won’t cover general wear and tear either.

Different policies will have different levels of cover as standard. When doing a home insurance price comparison, compare home insurance exclusions across a few different policies to find the best option for you.

iphone back with a cracked camera lens
Accidental damage isn’t usually included but can be added for an fee (Adobe)

How much is home insurance?

You pay your home insurance premium (the price you pay for your policy) monthly or yearly. When you compare home insurance quotes using comparison sites, they show you the premiums you’d have to pay for different policies, usually listed with the cheapest option at the top.

The average combined buildings and contents insurance policy quote stands at £244 a year, according to the latest Consumer Intelligence Home Insurance Price Index from February 2024

A standard home insurance policy may not cover everything you want it to so you may need to purchase an add-on to your policy.

For example, for a three-bedroom semi-detached brick-built house in London, combined buildings and contents insurance with an excess of £300 could cost from £304 a year on the home insurance comparison website MoneySupermarket in March 2024. The following add-ons would change the price of that policy to:

  • Buildings accidental damage = £338 (+£34)
  • Contents accidental damage = £309 (+£5)
  • Legal assistance = £331 (+£27)
  • Home emergency cover = £333 (+£29)

Quoted home insurance premiums rose by a staggering 40.6 per cent over the 12 months to January 2024 – a record since Consumer Intelligence began tracking prices in 2014. Wales saw the biggest increase at 43.2 per cent.

Home insurance quotes: Where in the UK are home insurance prices rising the most?

street of london houses
Unsurprisingly, London has the highest home insurance costs (Adobe)

Increases in quoted premiums ranged from 43.2 per cent in Wales to 38.9 per cent in the Eastern region in the 12 months to January 2024. You can see the increases in other regions in the table below.

UK regionAnnual increase in quoted home insurance premiums
South East42.6%
Yorkshire & The Humber40.5%
North West40.3%
West Midlands40.0%
South West39.7%
North East39.4%
East Midlands39.0%
Source: Consumer Intelligence Home Insurance Price Index, February 2024

When doing a home insurance price comparison, you may wonder why your home insurance quote is much higher than your friend’s in a different town.

When you come to compare home insurance policies, the three main factors that affect the cost are:

  1. Where you live
  2. The value and nature of your home and belongings, and
  3. Any claims you’ve made in the past

When deciding how much your premium will be, insurers will consider factors like how high crime is in your area, or if your home is close to a river that poses a flood risk.

Some home insurance policies will have certain exclusions, or require you to take out extra cover. If you keep expensive antiques or jewellery in your home, your premiums may be higher, for example. If your home has been repeatedly flooded, you may struggle to get cover against that particular risk.

How old you are can also make a difference to the cost of your home insurance. The over 50s tend to claim less on their home insurance than younger people and make smaller claims, so premiums can be cheaper if you’re over 50.

All home insurance policies have a 14-day cooling off period. This means you can cancel it any time in the 14 days after the policy starts or you received your policy documents and get any premiums you’ve paid back (assuming you haven’t made any claims in that period), though you may be charged an admin fee. After that, you’ll usually have to pay a fee for cancelling and you’ll get your premium back minus the cost of being covered up to that point.

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Older homes normally come with higher insurance premiums as they’re more likely to have problems. Old pipes and wires are more likely to cause a flood or fire and trigger an insurance claim, for example. 


Older homes are also more likely to be hit by problems like subsidence. My wife and I live in a 19th-century home – nothing fancy – and we’ve had subsidence issues since 2018. It’s all been a bit of a nightmare and I’ve spent considerable time dealing with the insurance company. When we next move, I want a modern house, built in the 2020s without a single crack. Not even a tiny fissure!


The other problem is that 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.

How to save money on home insurance

Before you start to compare home insurance quotes, here are some ways you can save money on your policy:

Home insurance comparison sites

One of the best ways to save money on your home insurance is to use our online comparison tool powered by MoneySuperMarket. Getting an online home insurance quote is quick and easy, and lets you compare prices between providers to find the cheapest quote for the policy you need.

Combined buildings and contents insurance

Buying buildings insurance and contents insurance together in a single policy from the same provider can be cheaper than buying two separate policies.

Higher voluntary excess

The excess is the amount of any claim you agree to pay yourself. The higher the excess you agree to pay when you take the policy out, the lower the monthly or annual premiums usually are.

Pay premiums annually

Most insurers will give you the option to pay for your home insurance monthly or yearly. You can see these options clearly when you compare quotes on price comparison sites. You’ll generally pay more if you pay monthly as the insurer is effectively lending you the annual premium, which you then pay back with interest each month.

Five steps to the cheapest home insurance

Follow these steps to get the best deal:

5-steps-to-cheaper-home-insurance graphic

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The excess is the fixed amount you pay if you make a home insurance claim. This is made up of the compulsory excess, which is a sum that all customers have to pay when they claim, plus the voluntary excess, which is an additional sum you sign up for when you buy the policy. Going for a higher voluntary excess will reduce the size of your premium.


Let’s look at a couple of examples.


Example 1: Nasty vandal


A vandal spray paints graffiti on your front door and also leaves a dent. Most home insurance policies cover vandalism. Let’s say the cost of a new door is £900. Your compulsory excess is £100 and you chose a voluntary excess of £300 when you bought the policy. That means you have to pay £400 towards the cost of the new door and your insurance company pays the remaining £500.


Claim total £900
Compulsory excess £100
Voluntary excess £300
Insurance payout £500


Example 2: Tearaway toddler


A visiting toddler spills some Ribena on a rug in your living room. The replacement cost for the rug is £200. You still have a total excess of £400. There’s no point claiming because the excess you’d have to pay is more than the cost of replacing the rug. You’ll also preserve your no-claims bonus by not claiming.


Claim £200
Compulsory excess £100
Voluntary excess £300
Insurance payout -£200

Home insurance optional extras

Most home insurance providers offer a number of optional extras to cover anything not covered as standard by their policies. Many also offer premium policies that may include most, if not all, of these add-ons. If you choose the basic package, you’ll usually have to add them. 

Depending on how many extras you choose, you might find a premium policy to be more cost-effective. LV’s home insurance, for example, includes some of its optional extras in its Home Plus premium package, but if you want the basic Essentials package, they are still available to add on at an extra cost. You’ll also get higher maximum cover levels with a premium policy. 

Here are the most common optional extras for home insurance policies: 

  • 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: what this includes varies across suppliers, and some insurers do cover it as standard, but it’s worth checking, as phones, smart watches, gadgets, jewellery and bikes may all come under this. In some cases, these items will be covered inside your home as standard. Paying extra for a personal possessions away from home add-on usually means they’ll be insured away from home anywhere in the world, including when you’re on holiday 
  • Bicycles: 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
  • Legal 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 
  • 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
  • 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

When you weigh up home insurance quotes, be sure you’re comparing like-for-like. A more expensive policy with add-ons included could give you a better deal overall than paying for them separately. As with all things home insurance-related, always read the small print to understand the terms and conditions of your policy.

How risk affects your home insurance quote

When you get a home insurance quote, insurers ask you a range of questions to determine risk – the higher the risk to the insurer, the higher the price of the policy. It’s important to be accurate when completing these questions, as failure to do so could result in a claim being rejected. 

Higher-risk customers have to pay more for home insurance because insurers think there’s a higher chance these customers will make a claim and they’ll have to pay out.

Some key factors that can affect how much you pay for home insurance are shown in the table below:

Policy factorPremiums higher or lower
Neighbourhood watch areaLower – suggests greater security
Proximity to floodplainHigher – increased risk of flooding
Burglar alarm in placeLower – deterrent to theft
Smoke alarms in placeLower – reduced risk of fire damage
Locked windowsLower – higher home security
Ground floor flatHigher – easier access for thieves
Previous claimsHigher – suggests you’re more likely to claim

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.

RankingType of home insurance claimNumber of claims in 2022
1Accidental damage301,000
2Escape of water (non-weather)217,000
4Other domestic claims113,000
Source: Domestic property claims notified for 2022, Association of British Insurers

Do you 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.

When deciding whether it’s worth taking out accidental damage cover, think about your lifestyle and who lives in your home. 

Hannah Davidson, senior underwriting manager at insurer Aviva, said: “People living in a busy household with children and pets running around may consider themselves more likely to experience spills and breakages than a more quiet, sedate home. In the past we’ve seen that accidental damage claims have increased during the school holidays when children are at home.”

Many accidental damage policies won’t cover damage caused directly by your pets, such as from fouling or chewing.  

However, Davidson added: “We have seen and paid many claims where a cat or dog has tripped up their owner, causing them to smash a laptop or damage a carpet.”

Do you need home emergency cover?

flooded kitchen
As a general rule, most insurers consider an emergency to be any situation that makes your home uninhabitable or unsafe, or puts your health at risk (Adobe)

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.

Most insurers have a dedicated 24/7 emergency helpline for customers who pay for home emergency cover. If you make a claim through this service, your insurer will usually arrange for a tradesperson to attend your property to fix the problem as soon as possible and pay for any work they do. 

If there is damage to your property resulting from the emergency that requires additional work, you will usually need to make a claim on your main home insurance policy.

Insuring valuable items

Home contents policies will generally have a single article limit for valuable items and personal possessions, which is the maximum payable for any one item in the event of a claim.

Anything above this limit – usually around £1,000 to £2,000 – should be listed separately on your policy to ensure you’re adequately covered. Insurers often call this a “specified item” on your policy documents.

Tips for making a home insurance claim

admiral home insurance claims page
Non-emergency claims can be made online (Admiral)

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.

What if it wasn’t my fault?

Typically, you can only make a claim on your insurance if what happened wasn’t your fault. This includes situations like floods, storms and accidental damage.

If you were at fault – for example you left your front door open and were burgled, or you failed to maintain your roof and it caved in – you would not be able to make a claim.

Insurer Aviva gave us this example:

Imagine there’s a major storm in your area. If your home is damaged due to high winds, but your roof already needed maintenance work before the storm, it’s not covered because the winds would have highlighted the existing damage.

But, if the high winds made a tree fall on your roof, then your roof repairs would be covered.

The claims process

Different insurers will have slightly different claims processes but these are the steps you’ll generally need to follow when you’re making a home insurance claim:


Call the police

Report the incident to the police if you are making a claim for theft. They will give you a crime number, which you will need to make a claim.


Contact your insurer

Find your policy documents and contact your insurer to tell them you are making a claim. The quickest way is to call them. Ask them to send you a claim form. They may send this to you via email to speed things up. Many insurers also offer an online claims service, which you might find quicker to use for small claims.


Complete the claim form

Be honest, as insurers can reject claims they think are fraudulent or overinflated. The more information you can provide, the quicker the process is likely to be. Keep a copy of your form for yourself.


Send off the claim

Include copies, not originals, of receipts and/or photos to prove your claim.


Get urgent help

If urgent repairs are needed, speak to your insurer about approving the works and then claim back for them. Keep any invoices for work done.

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.

You can protect your no-claims discount by carrying out preventive measures to avoid a claim, for example insulating your pipes and water tanks to prevent freezing in cold weather. Some insurers will also allow you to protect your no-claims discount by paying a little extra on your premium. This means you can make a specified number of claims during a particular period without losing your accumulated discount. It doesn’t protect the overall price of your policy, but it means your no-claims discount won’t reset to zero.

Home emergency claims often won’t affect your no-claims discount, even if it’s not protected.


Now that you’ve read our in-depth guide you have all the information you need to choose and buy a home insurance policy that’s perfect for your needs and offers the best value. Just remember to shop around again when your policy is coming to an end as the renewal quote your provider gives you may no longer be competitive.

Home insurance FAQs

Many people have seen their home insurance premiums rising or are finding new and renewal quotes to be far higher than previous years. This is due to several factors, including inflation increasing rebuild and repair costs, and the growing environmental risks faced by UK homeowners, such as flooding. Insurers had to pay out huge amounts in claims due to a number of storms towards the end of 2023, pushing up home insurance prices further.

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.

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:

  • 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

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. 

Remember to keep your system well maintained and up-to-date to maintain any potential discounts on your 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.

Participating in a Neighbourhood Watch programme demonstrates to insurance providers that you are proactive in protecting your property and community, which may lead to reduced insurance premiums. However, the impact on your insurance premiums will depend on your specific insurance provider and their policies.

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.

Ed Bowsher

Money Expert

Ed Bowsher is an award-winning financial journalist and broadcaster with over 16 years’ experience.

He’s written about investment and personal finance for a range of publications including Love Money, where he was the launch editor and later Managing Editor, MoneyWeek, Citywire, and The Motley Fool.

As a broadcaster, he’s presented daily shows for Share Radio and Love Sport Radio. In 2016, Ed won the ‘Broadcast Financial Journalist of The Year’ award from the Association of Investment Companies. He’s made numerous appearances at conferences: chairing panels, appearing on panels, and giving presentations.