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Last updated: 7 May 2021

What is home insurance?

If your home is damaged or your belongings are broken or stolen, house insurance can be the protection you need to cover the cost.

Whether you rent or own your home, if it's damaged or your belongings are broken or stolen, the best home insurance can be the protection you need to cover the cost.

Like other types, home insurance involves signing up to a monthly payment premium and you are then covered for the duration of the policy.

The best home insurance is one that will cover the true cost and worth of your home and belongings, so be as accurate as possible with these details when you compare home insurance policies.

Home insurance can be split into two separate policies; buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can buy each separately, or get them together as a combined policy.

Home insurance is also known as house insurance and means the same thing whether you live in a house or a flat.

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance covers the personal belongings in your home against theft or damage. This can include items like furniture, gadgets and kitchen equipment.

Some content insurance policies also cover items you take out of your home, like your phone, bike or laptop. But these aren’t listed as standard, so you should check individual policies if you want to include kind of cover.

With even the best home insurance, UK policies will often include a range of add-ons. Make sure you have the right policy for you to avoid paying for unnecessary extras.

With contents insurance, your belongings will be replaced with new versions. This is called ‘New for Old’. It means that if your phone was lost or stolen, your insurance would cover the cost of a new one, equal in value to the original. So when you take out a policy, think about how much your belongings would cost to replace, rather than how much they might be worth.

If you’re in a house or flat share and want to insure your personal belongings, you can get shared home insurance. Even with the best home insurance, UK policies will only cover your contents if they’re in your room and the door’s locked.

There are several specific kinds of contents insurance you can get. These include:

  • Rental contents insurance (to protect your belongings if you’re renting)

  • Landlord insurance (if you’re a landlord who lets furnished properties)

  • Unoccupied property insurance (for a holiday home)

  • Student home cover

Here’s some more information on what contents insurance covers.

What is building insurance?

Building insurance (or buildings insurance) covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged.

It usually protects the structure of your home and external fixtures like pipes against damage from bad weather, fire or theft. It can also cover internal fixtures and fittings like bathrooms and kitchens, and outdoor structures like sheds.

If there’s been a lot of damage to your property and it’s unsafe to stay in your home, your insurer will pay for you to stay somewhere else until it’s been repaired.

There are some exclusions with buildings insurance that mean you may not be covered. Most policies don’t cover general wear and tear, loss or damage, if your property’s been left empty for more than 30 days.

Here’s some more information on what buildings insurance covers.

What cover makes the best home insurance?

If you’re a homeowner and own the freehold, you should try to get buildings and contents insurance on a combined policy.

Not only can it be the best home insurance, UK providers often offer cheaper premiums compared to having separate policies.

New homeowners can find out the rebuild cost for their home on their mortgage valuation. You don’t legally need buildings insurance, but some lenders insist you have it as a condition of the mortgage. If you own your home and don’t have buildings insurance, you should check whether your mortgage lender has said you must have it. You could be putting your home at risk by not complying.

If you own a flat and pay a service charge, or you’re renting, you might not need buildings insurance. It’s the responsibility of your management company or landlord to arrange it. But don’t forget that only a contents insurance policy would protect your belongings.

How much does the best home insurance cost?

It’s not a good idea to simply look for cheap house insurance if it doesn’t actually give you the cover you need.

It’s more important to have the right home insurance than it is to find home insurance offers that cost less.

While it may seem easy to assume the big providers will be the best home insurance companies, it is important to compare across the market to find the right deal for you.

But, before you do your home insurance comparison, you should consider the following factors which can affect the price you’re offered.

Six ways to lower your home insurance premiums

Some insurers ask you to have specific locks to even take out a policy with them. If your home has high-quality locks, insurers will see you as less of a risk and so generally offer lower premiums.

A working house alarm can reduce how much you pay for home insurance. Make sure the model is approved by the insurer. Also, remember to use it at all times if you’re out of the house, or your insurance could be invalid.

Your house insurance excess is the amount you have to pay when you make a claim. Insurers usually offer a cheaper premium if you’re happy to pay a higher voluntary excess. This can be helpful while you’re making your payments. But you also need to make sure you can afford the excess in case need to make a claim.

Add up the value of your belongings so you know how much cover you need. Don’t get too much, or you will be paying for cover you don't require. Here’s how to work out what you need.

This is how much it would cost to rebuild your house from scratch. It’s not the same as your home’s market value. The rebuild cost is usually listed on your mortgage valuation. This guide explains how to work out your rebuild cost so you can get the right amount of cover.

You can earn a no claims bonus for each year that you continue to have a home insurance policy and don’t make a claim. The more years you have with no claims, the lower your home insurance premiums will be.

What buildings and contents insurance optional extras are there?

The best home insurance policies offer extras. These could save you money and hassle in the long run if you need them, but you’ll sometimes pay more for them.

Extras can increase your premiums sharply, even with the best home insurance companies. UK providers offer a whole host of different policies, so shop around to see if some of your pricey extras are included with a different provider.

When it comes to home insurance, compare which deals offer which extras as part of the package. Examples include:

  • Accidental damage: This is for damage you cause unintentionally. For example, it might cover you for smashing a window or spilling paint on a carpet.

  • Home emergency: This covers you for household problems, like a broken boiler or burst pipe. You’ll usually get access to a 24-hour emergency helpline.

  • Legal expenses: This covers legal issues. It could include costs for property disputes and faulty goods or services.

  • Alternative accommodation: Some policies don’t offer alternative accommodation as standard. It’s a way of making sure you’d have somewhere else to live if your home was damaged and needed repair work.

  • Personal possessions: This covers you for items you take out of your home, like gadgets, phones or jewellery, so it can sometimes be handy. Otherwise, you can insure these items separately.

  • Bicycle cover: You’ll need to decide whether you just want cover if they were taken from your home, or if you want cover away from home, too. Sometimes it can be better to get a specialist bicycle insurance policy.

  • Protected no claims: If you’ve built up a good no claims discount over several years, you might want to pay a bit extra to protect it. Then, if you did need to claim, your no claims discount would be protected.

How to compare home insurance quotes

If you want to compare house insurance, there’s some important information you’ll need to be ready to share to get quotes.

This includes:

PropertyYou’ll need to give the insurer your address and other information about your home. This includes whether you live in a flat, house or another type of property. It also covers how many rooms you have, what kind of roof you have and whether it’s a listed building. If you’re a homeowner you’ll find helpful information, like the age of the property, on your mortgage paperwork or HomeBuyer’s Report. If you’re renting, you can ask your landlord or estate agent for information.
SecurityYou’ll be asked about what types of locks and doors you have, and whether you have burglar alarms or smoke detectors. They’ll also ask whether the property’s left unoccupied for long periods. Most home insurance policies let you leave the home empty for around 30 days, so you can go on holiday without worrying.
CoverYou need to decide what kind of policy you’d like. That includes whether you want buildings or contents cover separately or together. You can also choose when your cover starts, and whether you’d like to pay monthly or annually. It’s usually cheaper to pay upfront, as most insurers charge interest for monthly payments. It’s a good time to make sure your paperwork’s safely filed together, as you’ll need to give value of your belongings.
Personal detailsYou’ll need to say who the policy is for and say where they live, their occupation and their financial history.
Previous claimsYou’ll have to give details of any claims you’ve made in the past. Your previous insurer can help if you can’t remember.

Here’s some more information on how to choose the right home insurance.

Money.co.uk's top tips to save money on your home insurance

When it’s time to arrange house insurance, compare deals to find the best home insurance companies, UK wide.

Of course, you want to find the best home insurance companies offering the cheapest home insurance. But it’s very important to get the best house insurance for your needs, and not just the cheapest.

Many people make the mistake of covering the market value of their home. But all you need to cover is the rebuild cost, which is less, in case it was knocked down. Less cover means cheaper insurance. But you’ll also need to make sure your cover provides you with alternative accommodation so you’d have somewhere to live while your home was rebuilt.

Loyalty isn’t rewarded when it comes to insurance, so remember to compare home insurance quotes when it’s time to renew. You could always ring your current insurer once you’ve done this to see if they’ll price match. It’s fine to haggle or ask for a discount on your home insurance. Also, shop around about a month before your home insurance is due for renewal – you’ll get a better deal than if you leave it until the last minute.

Having good locks on your doors and windows is important. Better locks mean cheaper premiums. Some insurers even specify which ones they need you to have, so check carefully. You’ll also need to put down the right type when you’re asked – getting it wrong could make your house insurance cover invalid. Know your locks!

Although it can be tempting to pay monthly so you don’t have to pay upfront, it’s always cheaper to pay annually. Paying monthly is like getting a high-interest loan. It’s better to pay in full with a low APR credit card than it is to pay monthly through the insurer’s scheme.

Avoid extra cover you don’t need. Check what accidental damage cover you get as standard before you decide whether you need more. For example, some insurers cover electrical goods, but don’t cover you if you spill paint on your carpet.

Think carefully about whether you need to cover personal possessions that you take out of the house too. Some people already have separate specialist mobile phone, gadget, or bike insurance. It can sometimes work out cheaper if it’s separate.

If you’ve gone several years without making a claim, you’ll usually be offered cheaper home insurance. So be sensible about what claims you choose to make. Sometimes it can be better to think about the bigger picture than make a small claim and lose your no claims discount.

How can you build your no claims discount?

There are a few steps you can take to minimise the chance of needing to claim.

These steps will also make lower the cost of your house insurance premium, so they are worth mentioning to home insurance companies.

Improve your home securityInstall a burglar alarm, secure locks and a safe
Don’t leave your home emptyDoing so increases the risk of burglary, fire or water damage
Insulate your pipesOtherwise they might burst when they freeze and thaw in cold weather
Install a smoke alarmA working alarm will decrease the risk of fire damage

Why do I need home insurance?

  • It covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged
  • It is often cheaper than paying for repairs yourself
  • If you're a homeowner, your mortgage provider will likely make it a requirement
  • You can protect the cost of damage to the contents of your home
  • You can even protect your belongings when they are outside your home

Compare Home insurance FAQs

It is not a legal requirement, but if you have a mortgage your lender will insist you have buildings cover to protect their investment.

Yes, if you live with another person you can take out a policy together. This means you can both claim and it can sometimes get you a cheaper premium.

You will only need to insure your contents, because it will the responsibility of your landlord to protect the buildings.

Yes, but you may need a specialist second home insurance policy. Here is how to find cover for your second home.

Yes, but you may need a specialist second home insurance policy. Here is how to find cover for your second home.

Furry destroyers - the pets causing chaos in our homes

They bring us comfort, company and thousands of cute photo opportunities, but pets can also cause their fair share of utter chaos. From knocking over fragile decorations, through to leaving mud (and worse) all over our floors, rarely does a day go by where pet owners don’t find something a little surprising.

But for some animals, the chaos goes way beyond occasional accidents. We’ve scoured pet forums to work out the most destructive breeds of all. The damaging dogs who leave our homes in ruins, through to the catastrophic cats leaving us frantically checking our home insurance policies. 

Dogs are more destructive than cats

Based on the number of people on pet forums lamenting their dog’s behavior, we’ve ranked the most calamity-causing canines. 

Sorry, dog lovers, but your four-legged best friend has caused more damage than any feline. Despite the tendency of cats to climb into what they should keep out of, and occasionally knock things over out of spite, the chaos they cause pales in comparison to that of dogs. 

The energy and excitability of dogs means they occasionally forget how big they are, crashing into things as they rush to show you how happy they are to see you. Cats, on the other hand, are like tiny gymnasts, and are far more laid back about expressions of emotion. 

The top 10 most destructive dog breeds

We delved deeper into the pet forums to decipher which dog breeds are the most destructive, causing all kinds of chaos throughout their owners' homes.

Loveable labs are the biggest home destroyers

One of the most-loved breeds around the world, the labrador has come out top of our naughty list for wreaking havoc in their owner’s home. With 6% of all mentions of various destruction centered around the breed on pet forums, it’s safe to say that their ‘butter wouldn't melt’ faces have deceived us all! 

In second place, and well known for their antics, is the beagle. Their amazing strength and huge amounts of energy have gotten them into a lot of trouble according to our research, with 5% of all mentions of household carnage including this breed.

Though some prangs may be a fact of life for pet owners, the costs don’t have to be. Finding the best home insurance policy for you could save you money and give you the peace of mind to let your perfect pooch have the free rein they deserve.

The things pets love to break

From looking all adorable curled up on your lap, to suddenly ripping up your brand new carpet, pets can decide to ruin your home at the flick of a switch. While they’re probably just doing it because they’re bored, and not because they’ve got some master plan to ruin the no claims discount on your home insurance, the things pets destroy can still end up costing a lot of money. 

Here are the things most likely to meet their maker at the paws of your pets. 

#Item% of all mentions of damage

But don’t fret - there are ways to keep your home (relatively) pet friendly. Cats in particular love playing with anything dangly, making cables an obvious target. By using cable tidies and hiding them behind furniture, you’ll limit the temptation for cats to bat at them. 

Doors are often a victim of excitable scratching. By putting vertical scratching pads on them, you can give your pets a place to vent their feelings without ruining your decorations. A good selection of scratching posts will also keep cats’ claws busy. 

Carpets, meanwhile, can fall victim to many animal habits. For the messier ones, we’d recommend a good carpet cleaner to mop up any stains. If sharp claws are more of a concern, both cats and dogs can be trained to leave your carpets alone, so long as they have other options to play with. 

Generally, lots of playing and exercise with your pets will stop them playing havoc with your house, and save you having to make a claim on your home insurance. Remember, they’re only doing it because they love you. 

Destructive dog breeds and what they love to wreck

We took a look at what the most common form of destruction is for each breed, by matching their mentions on pet forums with each type of damage.

Keep your fragile ornaments away from blundering bull terriers

Staffordshire bull terriers are the clumsiest breakers of the breeds, with 1 in 20 mentions of broken phones, plant pots, glasses and more involving them. They’re a powerful breed with incredible muscles, meaning any excited indoor play could easily result in broken possessions. They love outdoor exercise though, and the more of that they get, the more tired they’ll be when you get them home. 

Labradors, however, prefer to destroy things in a much wetter way. They’re the most likely dog to confuse your furniture and carpet for their toilet, so consistent training is essential if you want to keep your home stain free. 

Coming home to a chewed skirting board or nibbled sofa is a common occurrence for collie owners, with the breed being mentioned the most for this type of damage. They also received the top mentions for the total destruction of property and the snapping of small household objects, like dustpans, dog bowls and mops. If you have a collie in your home, expect chaos!

In the garden, it's the shih tzu that will dig up your favourite flower bed to bury that bone, so gardeners beware! For food-lovers, it's the beagle that you need to watch out for. This breed will steal the food off your plate, tip over the bin for a rummage and ransack any cupboard in reach, with 1 in 15 mentions of food theft including their name.

If you compare home insurance, you can make sure your policy covers your pet’s particular habits – from secret scavenging to amateur gardening.

The things cats love to attack

Bengal cats might be beautiful, but their wee certainly isn’t. This breed tops the charts of destructive cats, mainly for their love of urinating in their owners’ homes. Cat pee has a smell that really sticks with you, especially when it’s in the middle of your floor. With 1 in 3 mentions of cats behaving badly linked to the Bengal, this is one sassy cat to look out for.

Ragdolls also enjoy their turn at wrecking things. They’re a very needy breed, and if you leave them alone for too long they may well take that neediness out on your belongings. 

Tabby cats come in third place. These cats crave exercise, and keeping them inside for too long could see your furniture fall victim to their pent-up aggression. By letting them roam and explore their surroundings, you can prevent the destruction of your home.

The most loved pets on the internet

It’s not all bad news for pet lovers. While they might occasionally scratch/chew/eat/wee on something important, they’ll more than make up for it in the love they show you. 

We analysed social media sentiment to see which pets were receiving the most heart eyes and laughing faces from posts about pets online.

Golden retrievers are the most loved pet on the internet!

The popular and adorable golden retriever is officially the most loved pet online, with an average of 222 ‘love’ reactions per online post around the breed, far ahead of the cocker spaniel in second place with 84 loves for every post. The golden retriever also received the most posts online, with 4.4 million in the last year alone. 

The sass and mischievous behaviour of the Bengal cat received the second-highest number of posts, with 2.4 million in the last year. Bengals have also earned the title of the funniest pet on the internet, with 17 laughing emojis per post. The clumsy and comical Great Dane took a close second place for the dogs with 16 reactions a post. Great Danes are also racking up the sad face emojis, with its puppy dog eyes gaining the sympathy vote online.

Labradoodles and their owners are getting into the most trouble with their energetic antics online, with the highest amount of angry reactions at 79 reactions for every post. 

#BreedTotal online reactions
1Golden retriever4,400,000
2Bengal cat2,400,000
3German shepherd2,300,000
7Great Dane754,600
9French bulldog509,400

The secret price of pet ownership

When buying a pet, there’s much more than the initial cost to think about. When you add the price of food, toys and pet insurance to the list, the price quickly adds up. 

On top of that, it's well worth thinking about the impact they’ll have on your home. If you compare home insurance, you should be able to find a policy that can cover the cost of accidental damage, letting you enjoy all the company your pet brings without having to worry about them wrecking your property. 


We collected over 20,000 posts from pet owners at petforums.co.uk, analysing each for mentions of specific breeds alongside descriptive words for damage, to figure out which breed was most frequently mentioned, and therefore, the most destructive. We then broke down the mentions of breed into specific types of damage, through mentions of key words like ‘chew’ and ‘wee’ alongside household objects, to reveal the breeds causing each type of damage. 

To identify the most loved pets on the internet we used social listening tool Buzzsumo to analyse the number of each type of reaction each breed received on all posts in the last year, and divided this by the number of posts about the breed, to get the average number of each type of reaction per social post.

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