Buildings insurance covers the property and any fixtures and fittings such as kitchen units and the bathroom suite.
If you have a mortgage then your mortgage provider will usually require you to have buildings insurance. If you suffered a major fire and the house had to be demolished and had no insurance then the mortgage provider would be at a loss and they would not let this happen.
Buildings insurance covers you for certain one-off unforeseen events. Your cover may or may not cover for things like replacement locks or some other events. Please check your policy schedule to ensure that the cover you have chosen is suitable for your requirements.
Buildings cover may provide cover for the following:
Storm - Damage to gates, hedges and fences are usually excluded under storm cover. Also excluded is frost damage or anything which happens gradually.
Flood - This is where your home is flooded, usually due to weather. It is not when you have had a leak from a pipe or something similar. This is classed as an escape of water.
Escape of water - This is defined as water escaping from water tanks, pipes, equipment or fixed heating systems. Also there is cover for water freezing in tanks, equipment or pipes.
Fire - This usually covers fire, lightning, earthquake or smoke damage.
Malicious damage or riots - There is usually an exclusion that damage caused by yourself or any paying guests or tenants is not covered. Also there may not be cover if you leave your property unoccupied for more than the time shown on your schedule.
Heating fuel leaking from a fixed heating system - If you discover that your oil tank has been leaking then there would usually be cover for the oil and the damage caused. If the leak has been caused because the tank developed a leak then the tank itself would not be covered. If oil has entered the ground or any waterway then your insurer would need to be contacted due to contamination and they would take the necessary action required.
Theft or attempted theft - If your property has been broken into and the property damaged or items have been taken this is usually covered by your insurer if you have the relevant cover. i.e. doors and windows are buildings and items within the home are contents (except for fixtures and fittings such as fitted wardrobes and cupboards).
Also there may not be cover if you leave your property unoccupied for more than the time shown on your schedule. If any endorsements have been applied to the policy you need to ensure these have been adhered to. For example, you might have an endorsement whereby you have to have locks on all windows and a certain type of lock on your doors.
If you have high valuable items then you might have an endorsement where certain items need to be kept in a safe.
If you have endorsements and you do not comply with these then the claim may be declined.
Falling radio or television aerials - Even though these are fitted to the building they usually fall under contents cover.
Subsidence, heave or landslip - If you have this kind of damage to your drive this will not be covered unless there is damage to your home. You need to check your policy booklet for the definition of the word home.
Falling trees or branches - Usually if your insurer accepts a claim for damage to the buildings (see definition in your policy booklet) they will pay reasonable costs to remove the fallen part of the tree or the tree if it has partially or totally uprooted.
Loss of rent and the cost of alternative accommodation - This only applies if the property cannot be lived in after one of the events above. Usually this means that you have either no water or no cooking facilities.
If you let your property you must let your insurer know so the policy can be tailored accordingly. If your tenant cannot stay in the property because it has been damaged by one of the events covered under buildings you may be able to claim for loss of rent.
If you live in the property then you would be moved to alternative accommodation until you had the basic facilities again. Usually any costs incurred for kennelling domestic animals would be covered as well.
Replacement locks - If the keys to the property are lost or stolen then your insurer would either appoint their contractor to change the locks or pay the cost to replace them.
Emergency access - Cover is usually provided for any damage caused following access to deal with a medical emergency or to prevent damage to the home.
Tracing and accessing leaks - This only applies if you have selected the cover. If the buildings (see definition in your policy booklet) are damaged due to water escaping from water tanks, pipes, equipment or fixed heating systems in the home, your insurer will usually pay the reasonable cost of removing and replacing any other part of the buildings necessary to find the source of the leak and making good. The repair of the leak itself is not covered. You may have Home Emergency cover separately which might cover the repair of the leak.