Buying Home Insurance

Before buying your home insurance online, take a few minutes to make sure you're familiar with property insurance options.

Buildings Cover

Most house insurance is a combination of buildings and contents insurance and insurance companies can generally offer lower prices when both are combined in the same policy. However there are situations when buying building insurance alone is the preferred option.

Buildings insurance covers the cost of rebuilding, damage to services and fixtures such as glass and sanitary systems, and property owners liability to an amount specified in the policy.

When calculating the amount of buildings cover you require, you should accurately estimate the amount you would need to rebuild the property. This is very different from insuring for market value which can be significantly higher as this includes your site value.

Underestimating the cost of buildings cover is never recommended. In the event of having to rebuild your property any shortfall between the estimate and the actual cost of rebuild will result in your insurer applying the average clause which can be very costly.

Contents Cover

This property insurance option covers your home contents for loss/damage incurred through causes specified in your policy e.g. theft, storm damage, fire, flood, burst pipes, smoke, subsidence. Contents cover can also include the value of freezer contents. Depending on your policy, coverage of valuables such as jewelry could be covered under a different section e.g. specified items. Always cover your belongings realistically; one way to be sure is to take an annual contents audit before renewing your policy.

Some insurers replace goods on a 'new for old' basis. Remember that you pay the agreed excess on any claim you make.

When buying home insurance make sure to factor in your no claims discount and avail of any opportunities for cheaper insurance by bundling insurance with buildings cover or even your car insurance.

Always check the single article limit to ensure that your most valuable goods are covered. For example a €1000 single item limit would mean that you would only receive this amount for damage of a painting worth €1,500. Specify any items which are above the single item limit.

Accidental Damage

Spilling coffee over your computer or dropping paint on the carpet can be covered by accidental damage insurance. Insurers differ on what is actually covered and in what instances, for example many will not cover clothing or delicate objects such as crystal. Most general home insurance policies include standard accidental damage but additional coverage can be arranged for both contents or buildings. Be aware of the excess applied to the cover.

Personal Belongings

If you are away from your property, personal belongings coverage can insure you against loss of such items as clothing, money, credit cards and jewelry. What items are covered, after what excess and in what circumstances varies between insurance companies so make sure you are getting the best deal.