A guide to what’s covered under home insurance

No one likes nasty surprises. So it makes sense to know what you’re covered for before you need to make a claim. We’ve put together this guide to help you get to grips with the things you can expect your policy to include – and what you might need to add on as an extra.

Do all policies cover the same things?

No. The things you’ll be covered for depend on the type of policy you take out. There are three main types of cover: contents, buildings and combined buildings and contents.

1. Buildings insurance
This covers the structure of your house and includes things like window glass, walls and the roof, as well as permanent fittings like your bath, toilet and fitted kitchen.

2. Contents insurance
This is for possessions like electrical equipment, jewellery, furniture and clothes.

3. Buildings and contents insurance
Combined buildings and contents insurance covers both. To find out more about the different types of cover out there, take a look at our guide to home insurance.

What does home insurance cover?

Policies often insure against:

  • theft
  • loss
  • deliberate damage and vandalism
  • fire
  • flooding
  • weather-related damage
  • leaks
  • subsidence

All insurance policies are different, and not all of them cover these things. So always read your policy carefully to find out what it includes – and what it doesn’t.

Will it include cover against accidental damage?

To some extent. But if you’d like your cover to stretch to things like repairing a pipe you’ve accidently cut through, you’ll need to add extra accidental damage cover.

What else can I expect to be included in my home insurance policy?

Again, it varies between insurers. So you should always read the small print to double check. But, usually, there are a few things you can expect to see as standard.

1. Trace and access cover
If something’s leaking in your home – like your pipes, meter lines or central heating – trace and access insurance covers the cost of finding the source and fixing any damage made in the process.

2. Your plants, trees and garden contents Outside, it includes things like BBQs, children’s toys and lawnmowers. It also covers your plants, trees and shrubs against damage and loss caused by bad weather, vandalism, fire and theft.

3. Your jewellery
Your precious items like engagement rings and watches are covered under your home insurance if someone breaks in or forces their way into your home and steals them.

4. Your bicycles
Your bike is usually insured against theft, loss and damage while it’s in your home, kept in your shed or garage, or locked up in your garden. Most home insurance policies don’t cover your bike for loss, damage and theft while you’re out and about as standard.

5. Your children’s possessions while they’re studying away from home
If your son or daughter is at university, it’s likely their possessions will be covered against loss and damage under your policy. They’ll need to be in full-time education and studying away from home. And they won’t be covered when their house or halls are empty during the holidays.

6. Celebrations and special events
If you’re planning a celebration or special event, some insurers will temporarily increase your cover to include all the extra food, drinks and presents you’ll have in your home.

7. Your contents while you’re moving house
Removals cover covers your things against loss, damage and theft. It doesn’t usually cover them against accidental damage. You’ll need to speak to your insurance provider to add this on.

Can I add extras to my home insurance?

Absolutely. If there’s something you’d like to add to your policy, you should speak to your insurer. Popular add-ons include:

  • Accidental damage cover - so those little accidents don’t cause big headaches
  • key insurance
  • family legal protection
  • personal possessions – to protect items like your handbag and laptop while you’re out and about
  • bicycle cover – to insure your bike against damage, loss and theft when it’s not in your home or garden.