Buyers' Guide - Home and Contents Insurance

It's estimated that five million households don't have insurance but it could mean they're seriously out of pocket if their home is burgled or floods. So if you're perplexed about the cover you need, let Moneywise help with our Buyers' Guide.

If you own your home it's essential you have adequate buildings and contents insurance. But how much cover do you need?

With buildings insurance, you don't insure your home for the market price. It's the rebuild costs that matter, which don't include the value of the land. This should be included in the survey you had to buy your home. If not use an online calculator.

Watch out for catches in the small print of buildings policies which may mean you don't have the cover you want.

When you're buying contents insurance, either add up how much your possessions would cost to replace or take out a policy with unlimited cover.

Most policies pay out on a ‘new for old' basis. But expect wear and tear to be taken into account if you're claiming for things like linens and carpets.

If you have a garden, find out how much cover you have for furniture and if your shed or greenhouse is insured. Be particularly mindful if you have expensive tools or plants.

If you want items like jewellery or gadgets insured away from home don't forget personal possessions cover.

For expensive items like jewellery check the single item limit - typically £1500. If you've anything worth more than this ask for it to be insured separately.

Accidental damage cover can also be invaluable.

If you're home is tricky to insure, say you live on a flood plain or your home is of non-standard construction, speak to a broker.

And, before you buy find out how the insurer handles claims by asking your broker or looking at review sites.