This is one of the easier questions we receive at GSI Insurance regarding home insurance.
The answer’s a resounding “no”. Not all home insurance policies are the same.
Of course, it is possible to make a case that home insurance policies have certain things in common. Those things might include:
- they offer a degree of financial protection to your buildings, should they suffer problems arising from an insured peril;
- they do likewise for your contents, if you choose to insure them;
- typically, they may differentiate between properties that are occupied and those which are not (they may define unoccupied properties as being those which are without occupation for 30-45 consecutive days);
- you will need to pay for the cover through what the insurance industry refers to as “the premium”!
Once you move a level below those very broad similarities though, you may start to see some examples of significant differences.
Some home insurance policies might explicitly exclude cover for subsidence. In fact, the insurer concerned might decline to offer it at all due to the potentially high costs involved should your property be the subject of a major subsidence claim.
Here at GSI Insurance, we typically can provide such specialist cover if required. (You can read more about subsidence in our guide here).
Combined buildings and contents cover
You may be surprised to know that some insurers can’t offer this form of typically cost-effective combined insurance. They may require you to take out separate policies for each.
It’s also worth noting that companies can have very different attitudes towards contents cover. Some may have very proscriptive lists of articles that they will not cover under any circumstances (e.g. perhaps cash, credit cards, jewellery, electronics). Others might offer such cover but only to very reduced maximum claim levels.
Accidental damage cover
Surprisingly, the philosophies here can differ between policies too.
In some cases, if you accidentally damage your property or your contents, your policy might not cover the costs of replacement or repair. By contrast, other policies might offer a contribution.
You may be able to opt to have this level of cover as an add-on.
Third party liability cover
Although commonly misunderstood, this is an extremely important aspect of any home insurance policy. For example, if one of your neighbours is accidentally injured (or has their property damaged) as a result of your property, for example a slipping roof tile, they may sue you for compensation.
Some home insurance policies only offer very limited cover in this respect.
One of the biggest areas of difference between policies can arise in the area of flood insurance.
Once again, some policies may exclude it totally. Others may offer protection as part of the national “Flood-Re” scheme.
It is not a question of saying, in abstract, what type of policy is or is not “best”. It will very much depend upon your individual circumstances and what you expect to get out of your insurance. In a nutshell, the best home insurance for you may not be the best for someone else.
As you will see from the above examples, although this is an apparently easy question, the answer to it may be complicated. That is why we are always standing by ready to offer you information relating to insurance and options you may need to consider.
Do keep in mind too that it is easy to become overly-focused on the price of a policy whilst ignoring just what cover it is providing or not providing. Try to think firstly about the protection you require and only secondly how much a policy is going to cost to provide that cover.