As a specialist insurance provider for the over 50s, Insure4Retirement know better than most how valuable a home and its contents are. From one-bedroom flats to six-bedroom mansions, it’s important to make sure that you have the right protection in place to keep your buildings and belongings safe. This is where home insurance comes in, and to help you understand what home insurance is, and what cover you need, we’ve written this handy guide.

What is home insurance?

In a nutshell, a home insurance policy protects you against the costs of repairing your home or replacing belongings in the case of loss or damage. Home insurance policies are normally made of up two different types of cover: cover for your building, and cover for its contents.

Buildings insurance cover

Buildings insurance protects the structure of your home, which means the roof, walls, windows and also permanent fixtures such as bathroom suites and fitted kitchens. If any of these get damaged, for instance in a fire, storm or flood, a buildings insurance policy will cover the cost of repair. Burst pipes, falling trees and explosions are also normally covered.

Contents insurance cover

When it comes to home insurance, it’s not just the structure of your home but what’s in it that matters. Contents insurance covers your belongings against loss or damage caused by fire, storms, lightning, flooding, theft and water leakage. The term “contents” covers a whole variety of different items, from your possessions such as computers and jewellery to your clothes, furniture and carpets. Accidental damage and loss of your house keys are also covered in most policies, as well as cover for your personal possessions outside the home, all of which Insure4Retirement supply as standard.

How much home insurance do you need?

As a rule, you should always take out enough insurance to cover the cost of your home and contents in the event of a complete loss. With buildings insurance, this means that if your home burnt to the ground, your policy should pay for the cost of the rebuild. With contents insurance, if all of your possessions are lost or damaged, your policy should cover the cost of replacing everything.

Working out things like rebuild costs and the value of your contents can be tricky, but it is important to get right, as the premium of your policy will be based on those values. You don’t want to pay for cover you don’t need, but nor do you want to undervalue, and end up paying the shortfall.

Valuing your home and contents

If you’ve just bought a new home, then the rebuild cost will be on the mortgage valuation. For older homes, or more unusual homes, you may need to have your rebuild cost valued before taking out home insurance. It’s also wise to do this regularly, as prices do change. Home insurance premiums are on the rise, so regularly reviewing the value of your house could result in a saving. For a handy calculator of rebuild costs, visit the Association of British Insurers website.

When valuing contents, the easiest method is to tour your house and make an inventory of all your belongings. That way you can make sure you don’t forget anything, as well as easily assess the total cost of replacement. Remember to check whether your insurer replaces items on a new for old basis, as this will ignore wear and tear and replace any lost items with new ones.

Many insurers will also ask if you have any named or specified items, which are usually very important possessions such as rings or computers and have a specific value. Once again, make sure to update your insurer if you buy something valuable. Also remember to check the wording of any home insurance quotes to see if your insurer limits the pay out for a single unspecified item. At Insure4Retirement, our limit is £2,000.

Is home insurance mandatory?

While home insurance isn’t mandatory, many mortgage lenders will ask that you have adequate insurance for your home and contents.

Home insurance protects you financially. For instance, should a tree land on your roof, would you have enough money to cover the cost of repair? Accidents can and do happen, so having a policy that covers you for any eventuality means peace of mind for both you and your wallet. Without it, you may have to fork out for costly repairs and replacements.

If you are looking for a new home insurance policy and are over the age of 50, Insure4Retirement can provide cover for both your building and its contents. We have helped over 100,000 customers across the UK protect their homes and belongings and pride ourselves on both our level of cover and our service.

To find out more about what we offer and get a home insurance quote, take a look at our home insurance page. You can also phone or helpful experts on 0800 2988 707.