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Flat insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides cover for those living in flats. Just like standard home insurance, flat insurance is made up of two parts: buildings insurance and contents insurance. Whether or not you need both types of cover will depend on whether you own or rent your flat.
This covers the structure of the property against damage caused by flooding, fire, theft and vandalism. It typically covers the walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors, as well as permanent fixtures and fittings such as the kitchen and bathroom.
This covers personal possessions inside the flat, such as furniture, electrical goods, jewellery and clothes, against damage or theft. If you need both buildings insurance and contents insurance, it usually works out cheaper to combine them on the same flat insurance policy.
Often the freehold of a flat is owned by the landlord and it will therefore be the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building. However, if you own the freehold yourself or you own a share of it, it will be up to you (and the other freeholders) to take out buildings insurance.
If you share the freehold, it will usually be cheaper to take out a specialist policy to cover the whole building, rather than buying your own separate policies.
As part of your buildings insurance policy, you’ll need to consider whether it provides cover for:
Keep in mind that if you have a mortgage on the flat, your mortgage provider is likely to insist that you have buildings insurance as a condition of the loan.
Additionally, it’s worth taking out contents insurance as part of your flat insurance policy to ensure you won’t be left out of pocket if your belongings were destroyed, damaged or stolen.
If you own the leasehold on your flat, the landlord will own the freehold and will usually be responsible for insuring the building. You, as the leaseholder, will then contribute to the cost of this insurance policy through your service charge.
But while buildings insurance will be taken care of, it’s still worth buying contents insurance yourself to protect your personal possessions in the event of fire or theft.
“As with home insurance, flat insurance will ensure both the structure of the building you live in and the contents inside are protected against damage or theft. If you're a tenant or leaseholder you'll usually only need contents cover, while if you own part or all of the freehold, you'll need both buildings and contents insurance. To ensure you get the right level of cover at the right price, always shop around and compare quotes carefully. “
Rachel Wait, Personal Finance Journalist
It’s quick and easy to find the best flat insurance policy by shopping around and comparing quotes – and you could earn up to £28 cashback at the same time.
If you can afford to, you’ll save money by paying for your flat insurance in one go each year rather than in monthly instalments. If this isn’t possible, consider using a zero interest purchase credit card to spread the cost interest-free over several months.
An easy way to lower your flat insurance premiums is to increase the voluntary excess – the amount you would have to pay in the event of any claim. The higher the excess the lower your premiums, but it’s important to ensure your excess would still be affordable.
Home insurance providers often factor in the security of your home when deciding prices, so consider measures such as installing a burglar alarm, as well as fitting deadlocks to external doors and locks on accessible windows to reduce your premiums.
Water leaks are a common problem in flats but claiming on insurance can be complicated. If you experience a water leak, your first step should be to stop it and establish what caused it.
If you live in a block of flats where the flat owners are leaseholders, the freeholder will usually be responsible for the main pipes and you’ll need to make a claim against the freeholder’s building insurance for any structural damage. If any of your belongings were damaged in the leak, you’ll need to claim on your own contents insurance.
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When using the Compare service, you must take reasonable care to answer insurers' questions fully and accurately and if you volunteer other information, you must take reasonable care to ensure that the information is not misleading. If any information that you have provided changes before you take out your insurance, during the life of the policy or at renewal you must inform the insurer or broker of the change. If you deliberately or carelessly misrepresent any information in relation to this insurance, then your policy may not pay all, or part, of a claim and could in certain circumstances be avoided altogether.