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Guide to Buildings Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

By Darragh Timlin on January 14th, 2021

When it comes to insurance, you want the most comprehensive coverage possible, at the best price, to protect your property. Your building is the most valuable asset you’ll own, so having the right insurance is crucial to making sure that you’re not left out of pocket if anything should happen. If you’re looking at getting buildings insurance for the first time, you might be a little confused as to what it actually is, what it covers, and whether or not you even need it. Here, we’ll go through everything you need to know.

What is building insurance?

Building insurance covers the cost of repairing any damages caused by the events stated in your policy. This can include fires, floods, and storms, and can even extend to covering the cost of rebuilding the building’s structure altogether, from your roof, floors, and walls, to permanent fixtures and fittings like bathrooms and kitchens. If you have any structures connected to your home, such as pipes and a garage, these are also covered by building insurance.

If your building suffers from any damage caused by faulty electrics or leaking pipes, your insurance policy will also cover the cost of fixing this. Building insurance can also extend to damage caused by criminal activity, as well as any accidents. It will typically cover you for temporary accommodation if you need to move out of your home or building while repairs are taking place.

Building insurance typically covers:

  • Damage from fire, flood, and storm
  • Subsidence or heave
  • Burst or frozen pipes
  • Garages, sheds, and outbuildings
  • Patios, ponds, gardens, and pools
  • Accidental damage
  • Temporary accommodation while the building is being repaired or rebuilt

Building insurance does not cover your possessions in your building. For this, you need to take out contents insurance.

Who needs building insurance?

All building owners should have building insurance to protect them financially. This includes business owners, homeowners with or without a mortgage, and landlords.

Business owners

If you own the property from which your business operates, it’s a good idea to take out buildings insurance to protect the physical brick and mortar building. While this isn’t actually a legal requirement for business or building owners, it can keep you protected from the unexpected. If you’re not covered, and something happens to your premises, you could be left unable to continue working, affecting your finances and leaving you struggling to keep up with any repair payments.

If you lease the property you’re running your business in, having the right buildings insurance will typically be organised by your landlord, but you should check that you’re not made responsible under the terms of your lease.

Homeowners with a mortgage

Your mortgage provider will usually stipulate that you carry building insurance, with a minimum amount of cover for your home, for as long as they hold interest in your property. This means that, as long as you have a mortgage, you should also own building insurance. You should ideally have the building insurance in place from the date that the contracts for your property are exchanged, as this is the moment you become legally responsible for the building.

To get building insurance you will need:

  • The property address
  • The date the property was built
  • The materials the property is built from
  • Whether the property is fitted with smoke detectors

Homeowners without a mortgage

It’s not legally required of you to hold building insurance, so if you own your property outright, you don’t have to have it. However, building repairs can get very expensive very quickly, and without insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for any repairs and rebuild. Taking out a building insurance policy can save you money in the event of any emergencies, ensuring you’re not left footing the entire bill alone.


As a landlord, you hold ownership over your premises, even if you don’t physically use the space yourself. And as you won’t be regularly using the building, you have even less control over how well it’s treated and looked after. This makes having building insurance even more crucial, as you don’t want to have to pay even more for damages that may have gotten out of hand. However, building insurance isn’t a replacement for landlord insurance, and you will need to take out a specific policy if you are a landlord.

If you own an apartment in a block of flats, or are a tenant, you do not need to worry about owning building insurance, but you may want to consider contents insurance, which will protect your personal belongings inside the property.

How much building insurance should I get?

A good rule of thumb is to insure your building for the amount of money it’ll cost to rebuild from the foundations, as this will be the most amount of money you’ll need to claim. It’s important to note that the rebuild cost will be less than the market value, which also takes into account the land value and location — such as the proximity to local transport links and shops. A professional chartered surveyor will be able to calculate the rough cost of rebuilding the property for your insurance policy.

How much is building insurance?

The cost of your building insurance policy depends on a number of factors, including the cost of rebuilding it. It’s important that you get your house valued at the cost it would take to rebuild by today’s standards, as this will affect the cost of your policy. Things that can affect your policy include:

  • The age of the property and whether or not it is listed — materials used in older buildings are often more expensive
  • The materials used to build the property — if you need to purchase specific materials, this can drive the cost up
  • How many rooms, doors, and windows you have — smaller properties require less of these
  • The risk of heave or subsidence — increased risk means a higher risk of serious damage
  • Location — if the property is near a river, for example, the flood risks will be much higher

Compare buildings insurance quotes free with Brisco Business today, and find a policy that suits you. Are you prepared for unexpected disruptions to your business operations? Explore our business insurance options at Brisco Business to mitigate potential risks.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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