What is buildings insurance? Building insurance explained by Jersey Mutual
What is buildings insurance and do I need it?
For most of us, our house is our biggest and most important asset. Far from being just bricks and mortar, it is home, and the product of hard work, time, and effort. So naturally, you should make sure that your insurance covers the cost of repairing or even rebuilding your home, should the unexpected happen. Home insurance policies are comprised of two main elements: buildings insurance and contents insurance. While the value of your contents, ie. possessions, is relatively easy to calculate, insurance for buildings can be more complex.
Buildings insurance covers the cost of damage caused to the structure of your home from incidents such as flood, fire and subsidence. It covers permanent fixtures and fittings, and outbuildings.
Considering the financial impact of having to repair or even rebuild your home, buildings insurance is something that all homeowners should deem essential. If you have a mortgage for your property, your mortgage provider may insist on you having adequate buildings insurance. We have written this brief guide to help clarify what is and isn’t included, and how you should calculate the level of cover you require.
What does buildings insurance cover?
As all homes vary in shape and size, so does insurance cover, so it’s important to understand exactly what your policy includes. Insurance providers vary in what they do and do not include as standard, and there are optional extras to consider. It’s crucial that you understand the variations in order to obtain the correct cover for your home.
Buildings insurance policies cover the cost of repair to the physical structure of your house, ie. the walls, roof, windows and floors. It also covers repairs to your permanent fixtures and fittings, such as your kitchen and bathroom suite (your freestanding appliances will be covered by your contents insurance).
As to what type of damage is covered, it is usually that which is deemed to be outside of your control. You will find that Jersey Mutual’s House and Home policy protects against the following as standard:
- Fire and smoke
- Storm damage and flood
- Theft and malicious damage
- Escape of water
- Impact (such as from a vehicle)
In the case of one of these unforeseen incidents, our insurance policy will cover the full cost of repairing the damage on a new for old basis. In the unfortunate event that your home becomes uninhabitable, our buildings insurance will also cover the cost of alternative accommodation for you and your family until you can return home.
In addition to our standard House and Home policy cover, there are extras, including accidental damage cover. For example, spilling red wine on a carpet.
A further additional extra is free DAS legal expenses insurance. This will pay for legal advice and costs (to an agreed limit) should you need it, for example in the case of a dispute with a neighbour or an accident that wasn’t your fault.
What is not covered by buildings insurance?
One notable exception is damage caused by standard wear and tear, to items such as carpets and white goods. Similarly, you should not expect to claim for routine maintenance, decoration or faulty workmanship.
A claim could also be refused if the cause of the damage is due to negligence on your part, for example, a recurring water leak that you have failed to repair that goes on to cause structural damage.
What is a buildings insurance schedule?
When you take out any kind of insurance, you will receive a policy booklet containing all of the relevant terms and conditions. It is important to know that this is a generic document, different from the policy schedule that you will receive alongside it. The policy schedule is personal to you and sets out the exact terms agreed with ourselves. A new schedule will be issued at every renewal of the policy.
The schedule identifies you, our Member, the address of your insured property and the dates of the insured period. It lists exactly what covers you have opted for, including standard covers, any additional extras and endorsements. It also details the sums insured for the items covered.
It is a vital document to read and understand at the outset, to avoid any future grievances concerning what is and isn’t covered.
How to calculate buildings insurance cover
Your home is unique, so it is important that we tailor the right home insurance policy for you. When calculating your buildings insurance, the insured sum is not derived from the market value of your home, but the cost of rebuilding your home, including debris removal and professional fees. We will cover the cost of rebuilding your house from scratch if necessary, so it is vital that the sum insured is adequate to avoid any financial upsets to you down the line.
To obtain a quotation, you will be required to provide a rebuild cost of any buildings you wish to insure. Do make sure that you provide the details accurately and honestly, based on the property’s age, architecture and size. Remember to add allowances for luxury fixtures and fittings and any outbuildings.
To help you calculate the level of cover you require, please take a look at the buildings and contents insurance calculator on the Jersey Mutual website.
Should you consider your home to have unique features, or if it is a listed building, it is wise to obtain a professional evaluation.
Jersey Mutual House and Home Insurance
If you are a homeowner in Jersey, you need to look no further than Jersey Mutual for your home insurance. Established in 1869, Jersey Mutual has unrivalled local knowledge and is the island’s only insurance society. We do not use brokers and can always be trusted to have your best interests at heart.
We offer a level of personal care that means there will be no stalling tactics, delays or phone queues, just a genuine desire to handle your claim and to make your house a home once more.