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Check out our useful hints and tips articles to help you get the best out of your home interiors projects.

Making sure your home and contents are adequately protected

House on fire in a model village. Photograph by Chris Chidsey

Your home is generally the most valuable asset you own, which makes it all the more important that you're adequately protected should anything happen to your house or its contents.

Furthermore, these days, when so many of our homes contain the latest hi-tech gadgets and appliances, it's crucial to consider how you'd cover the cost if any of your possessions were stolen, damaged or lost.

Here is where home insurance comes in. Taking out the right home insurance policy for you could ensure you're financially protected should anything unexpected happen to your home or any of your possessions inside it.

What types of home insurance are there?

As a homeowner, there are two types of home insurance that are equally important to think about when looking at the best policies for you: buildings insurance and contents insurance.

  • Buildings insurance covers the building itself, so if your home is physically damaged - by flooding, fire, natural disaster or subsidence, for example - buildings insurance could help you cover your costs. As well as any structural damage to your property - including, potentially, outdoor structures such as garages and fences - buildings insurance could also cover damage to any fixed fittings in your home, such as built-in appliances. Moreover, if you live in an area of increased risk - such as a flood risk area - buildings insurance could be especially important, giving you peace of mind that the expense should be covered should the unexpected happen.

  • Contents insurance could protect you if any of the possessions in your home were lost, damaged or stolen. These days, when many of us have thousands of pounds' worth of items - such as laptops, TVs and other expensive gadgets - lying around at home, being able to cover the cost should anything happen to them is a particularly high priority. Taking out the right contents insurance policy could make sure this is the case.

Getting the right type and level of home insurance

Deciding to get some insurance is the first step - perhaps surprisingly, there's no legal requirement to take out insurance for your home and contents in the same way as there is for, say, your car. In reality, however, anyone buying their home will usually have to take out buildings insurance as a condition of the mortgage. Consequently, you'll often find building and contents insurance sold together as a combined home insurance package.

If you're a tenant, renting from a landlord, then the situation is a bit different. Here, building insurance is the responsibility of the landlord, but you'll still need to take out your own contents insurance if you want your own possessions to be protected from theft or damage.

Once you've made the decision to take out home insurance, it's equally important to make sure you have the most suitable policy for your needs. For example, some insurance policies might not provide automatic cover for high-value possessions - which sometimes need to be insured separately - or cover the full rebuild value of your home. Any of these scenarios could cause problems if you come to make a claim.

So, you really need to shop around for the best policy for your circumstances - and avoid simply choosing the first home insurance policy you come across. Remember to check all the terms carefully to make sure the policy provides the level of cover you're looking for. If your home has a garden, for example, make sure that valuable items like lawnmowers and garden furniture are covered by your contents insurance.

Finally, make sure all your details are accurate and up-to-date when you apply, as your insurer could refuse to pay out if your details aren't 100% correct.

Photo credit: Chris Chidsey

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