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Home Insurance

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Specialist Policies

Non Standard Houses

Home insurance is to protect your house, it's contents, or both. It is vital to check what is included and what isn't; and to make sure that you are not under-insured. Rebuilding a house after a fire, for instance, can cost far more than you paid for it and some insurers cary out repairs on a pro-rata basis - in other words, if they think you have under-insured the building by 25%, then any payout for a claim you make for repairs, even if it is under the insured sum, may be reduced by that percentage. If your house is of non-standard construction (ie timber framed, thatched or asbestos tiled roof, listed building etc) you may need to talk to a specialist broker.

You may also need to prove that you actually owned goods that have been destroyed or stolen. It is a good idea to go around your house and take a video of your major belongings then store a copy of that video somewhere safe; perhaps online (but not where potential burglars can get at it!).

Remember that insurance for household goods usually only covers things like beds, furnishings, rugs, carpets etc. Items like paintings, jewellery, cash, computer equipment or other valuables usually have to be listed and an extra premium paid. There are usually limits and what insurers will pay on any claim so it is vital that you check documentation carefully to make sure you know what cover you are buying.

UK Home Insurers

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Symbol


LV (Liverpool Victoria) is solid, having been around since 1843. They have an online calculator to help you to work out the value of your contents, and their standard policy covers repairs to the house for up to £1 million, or you can opt for a higher level policy and get unlimited cover. They will replace items that are damaged by fire, flood, water penetration, theft or vandalism and although accidental damage cover is limited, you can opt for full cover for things like damage caused by pets or children, or damage during D-I-Y. It is possible to insure personal goods like watches and mobile phones when they are away from home too, as an optional extra. If you are working from home for an employer you will still be insured but if you are self employed or have visitors for business purposes you must inform LV and again this could involve extra premiums.

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Aviva Insurance Symbol


Aviva are the UK's largest general insurer and they have an excellent reputation for fairness but as usual you need to make absolutely sure you know what is insured, against which risks, and for how much. Their standard buildings policy for instance covers risks like fire, flood, and subsidence, not only to the house but to garages and outbuildings too. They will not cover storm damage to gates, fences or hedges though, and they specifically exclude damage that has happened as a result of bad design, gradual deterioration over a long period, or frost damage (this could be quite extensive if abnormal weather occurred). They will pay towards the cost of tracing leaks and even garden re-landscaping. You can opt for additional cover for accidental damage, legal services, cycles and other personal belongings.

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Direct Line Insurance Symbol

Direct Line

Direct Line can provide contents insurance, buildings insurance or both; which is usually cheaper than getting each separately. As usual they prefer to deal directly with the customer by telephone or online rather than through a broker. With their standard policy building insurance goes up to £1 million and contents up to £50,000 whether these are in the house, garage or sheds and there is a 24 hour helpline. Their upgraded 'Home Insurance Plus' package includes cover for matching furnishings (if, say, a chair is part of a suite and it gets damaged, they will replace the whole suite if a match cannot be found), accidental damage not covered by a standard policy, personal items outside the house, home emergencies and family legal protection. They claim to be able to replace insured essential items like laptops and phones within two hours if they are lost or stolen during their office hours.

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AXA Insurance Symbol


French-owned Insurance giant AXA offers three levels of cover; Homesmart, Homesure and Homesafe. They differ in the sums assured but there are other differences too. Accidental damage makes up more than a third of their claims and with their top Homesafe policy this covers buildings and contents, as standard; Homesure covers buildings only but the cheapest Homesmart policy perhaps isn't so smart because it doesn't cover accidental damage at all. However you can add it as an optional extra. Other optional extras are home assistance; if your boiler breaks down, your drain is blocked or a pipe bursts they will arrange for a tradesman to attend to it and pay towards the expenses of work and parts. Legal expenses are standard with Homesafe but optional with the other levels. Personal possessions away from home, cover for student belongings for the kids when they are at university, or bikes can also be covered for additional premiums.

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The Halifax Insurance Symbol

The Halifax

The Halifax was originally a building society, formed in 1853, but it is now part of the Bank of Scotland, which in turn is owned by Lloyds Banking Group. They offer the usual home and contents cover to owner occupiers but also a rental package for those who either let out their houses, or are tenants, or even have a house with up to three flatmates. This protects property in the house from theft, water leaks, fire or flood and it can be extended to cover up to five named items like bicycle, laptop or mobile phone whilst out of the house. Since renting is often a short term step the contract is monthly and can be changed or cancelled at any time. Liability cover for accidental damage to a landlord's property and emergency accommodation if the property is damaged because of fire or water damage are also covered as standard.

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