Building insurance

Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your home if it’s damaged or destroyed. It’s usually compulsory if you’re planning to buy your home with a mortgage and you may not be able to get one unless you take out buildings insurance.

This page tells you what you can expect buildings insurance to cover and what you should think about when you choose a policy.

What is buildings insurance
Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your property. Garages, sheds and fences are also covered, as well as the cost of replacing items such as pipes, cables and drains.

Your insurance should cover the full cost of rebuilding your house. This also includes the costs of demolition, site clearance, and architects’ fees.

Buildings insurance usually covers loss or damage caused by:

fire, explosion, storms, floods, earthquakes
theft, attempted theft and vandalism
frozen and burst pipes
fallen trees, lampposts, aerials or satellite dishes
subsidence
vehicle or aircraft collisions.
Do you need buildings insurance?
If you have a mortgage
Buildings insurance will be a condition of the mortgage and must be at least enough to cover the outstanding mortgage. Your lender should give you a choice of insurer or allow you to choose one yourself. They can reject your choice of insurer but can’t make you use their own insurance policy unless your mortgage package includes insurance.

If you buy a house you should take out buildings insurance when you exchange contracts. If you sell a house you are responsible for looking after it until the sale is completed so you should keep your insurance cover until then.

If your mortgage lender repossess your home you’re responsible for insuring it until it is sold and you should tell your insurer that you are no longer living there, otherwise you may not be covered.

If you don’t have a mortgage
Buildings insurance isn’t compulsory but it is advisable. Think about how you would afford to rebuild your house if it were damaged or destroyed.

If you’re a leaseholder
Your lease may say that you should have buildings insurance with a named insurer, or the freeholder may take out insurance and charge you for it.

If you’re a tenant
Your landlord usually takes out the insurance, although you may be responsible for loss or damage to fixtures and fittings. Your household contents insurance may cover this.

How much buildings insurance cover do you need?
It’s important to make sure you insure yourself for the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your home. This is called the sum insured. The cost of rebuilding your home is not the same as the price you paid for your home, or its current value if you were to sell it. Rebuild costs are usually less than the current market value, so make sure you don’t over or under insure yourself.

To help you work out the cost of rebuilding your home, there’s a Building Cost Information Service online calculator on the Association of British Insurers’ website.

Some insurers offer unlimited cover so you don’t have to work out the rebuild costs. However, if already know what they are, it may be cheaper to shop around for a policy that fits your exact needs.

Some policies work out the sum insured based on a general assessment of where you live and the type and age of your home. However, this may not fit your particular property, so you’ll need work out whether you’ve got enough cover.

You should regularly review the amount your buildings insurance cover as rebuild costs tend to rise over time. Some insurers offer policies that will increase the sum insured automatically in line with rebuild costs.

Remember, if you improve your home, such as adding an extension or a loft conversion, the rebuild costs may also increase and you will need to make sure you’re covered.

If your property has special features, for example a thatched roof, or it’s a listed building, you can pay for a survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors to assess the rebuild costs.

Do you need extra buildings insurance?
You might want to consider taking out extra buildings insurance to cover for you for other risks. You’ll have to pay higher premiums for this cover. You can add on extra insurance for:

• flooding or subsidence if you live in a high risk area
• accidental damage to your home
• alternative accommodation if you have to move out of your home after you’ve made a claim
• damage to boundary walls, fences, gates, driveways and swimming pools
• damage to underground pipes, cables, gas and electricity supplies
• glass in windows, doors, conservatories and skylights
• liability cover if someone else’s property is also damaged
• legal expenses cover
What is buildings insurance?
Buildings insurance is just one of two home insurance options available to homeowners.

Your building’s insurance will cover, well, your building. But it’s helpful to think about what that means when you’re deciding if you need it or not. You could think of it as the building itself, as well as it’s fixtures and fittings, so it’s particularly useful for homeowners as your mortgage lender might ask you to have it in place before you buy a property. But do bear in mind; it won’t cover your contents — for that you’ll need contents insurance.

AXA’s buildings insurance will cover damage to your building. It’s useful because it protects your home from a wide range of unforeseen events like, storms, floods, fires, and theft. Typically, it covers your outbuildings, exterior & interior walls, fencing, roofs, and flooring, amongst other things. But not all policies cover your building against accidental damage, so it’s always a good idea to check your policy to make sure it includes the cover level you need. Accidental damage actually makes up over one in three of our claims*. That’s pretty high. So it might be worth considering.

Why choose AXA’s buildings insurance?
Your house is more than bricks and mortar. It’s a home. It’s your home. We get that. So whatever your needs might be our three flexible home insurance policies will fit your stage of life. So whether you chose HomeSmart, HomeSafe, or HomeSure you can rest easy knowing your building is covered against the unexpected. We’re restless for a reason. So you can simply modify our products to your specific needs by adding extras, like accidental damage, if you want them. That way, you’ll only pay for what you need, and nothing more.

AXA building’s insurance covers you against the unexpected
With AXA, you’ll get buildings insurance cover you can count on, whether you’re just starting out, welcoming a new set of tiny feet, or taking things a bit slower. And with many benefits included as standard in all three of our products, whatever comes your way – we’ll have you covered.
How much buildings insurance do I need?
The amount of buildings insurance you’re likely to need will depend on the amount you’d need to rebuild your home from scratch in the event of a fire or flood. This is usually lower than the market value of the property.

If you’re unsure how much this would be you can always ask a surveyor to estimate this for you. You can contact one through the Royal institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Will I need to add some extras?
It’s always good to check what’s included when you get your quote because some of our optional extras are included in our HomeSure and HomeSafe policies.

But if you do feel like you’re missing some cover that you’re likely to need you can add it as an extra, when you’re getting your quote, or by logging in to your AXA online account.

With AXA’s buildings insurance there are three optional extras you can choose from:

Accidental damage — will protect your buildings against those whoops moments, like accidental damage to your walls, ceilings, fixed glass and doors. This comes as standard with HomeSure and HomeSafe policies.
Legal expenses — Protect your family from legal expenses with up to £50,000 of legal cover. This comes as standard with HomeSafe with a higher limit of £100,000
Home assistance — Broken boilers, burst pipes and blocked drains can be a costly inconvenience. With home assistance you can call our domestic helpline at any time of the day and we’ll arrange for contractor to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
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