Whether you own or rent your home it is important that you have adequate insurance cover for your belongings and, if you do own your home, for the property.
Contents insurance covers your household possessions against loss, damage or theft. Items covered by a typical contents policy include furniture, carpets, clothes, electrical items and ornaments. Extra cover can also be bought for valuable jewellery, antiques, artwork and even the contents of your freezer should a power cut cause it to defrost. Always check what is covered under the policy and, perhaps more importantly, what the exclusions are.
If you are a Council tenant you can take insurance through our tenants' contents insurance scheme. For more information follow the links in the further information section.
Buildings insurance - private owners
If you are a Council tenant you do not need buildings insurance as we already have insurance in place which covers the building. This will normally also be the case if you rent from another landlord but you should check with them.
If you own your home you will need to have buildings insurance to cover the structure, fixtures and fittings of your home - roof, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows, fitted kitchens, built-in cupboards and bathroom suites. You may need to pay extra to cover outdoor structures such as sheds and garages.
A comprehensive buildings insurance policy should cover the full cost of repair/rebuild in the event of:
- storm tempest flood
- burst pipes
- riot civil commotion
- impact damage
Carefully read your policy documents and ensure that you know what is covered as well as what is excluded under the policy.
If you live in an area at risk of subsidence or flood check what the policy wording states in relation to losses arising from either of these risks. You might also want to check that your buildings insurance policy provides you with alternative accommodation if your home becomes temporarily uninhabitable.
Council blocks of flats where some properties are privately owned
In the event of any damage from storms/fire/lightning/earthquake and so on, private owners should advise their own buildings insurer that their property has been affected. Most policies have a time limit in which to notify the insurance company that an event has occurred. The time limit will be stated in your policy.
Any damage to contents should be claimed under the owner/occupier's own household contents insurance.
In terms of the Deed of Conditions relative to private property in a block, the Council reserves the right to instruct common emergency/urgent repairs. The repair costs would then be apportioned to any owners within the block who would be invoiced for the work done. Due to the urgent nature of this repair work, the Council does not require to provide prior notice.
Insurers may request that the owner obtains independent quotes for work required to common areas within the block which have been affected by any of the above perils. The Council's position in relation to this is detailed below.
Third party quotations
Where the Council retains an ownership interest in the block of properties of which your insured property forms part, it has legal responsibility to its tenants and an ongoing statutory responsibility as owner to ensure effective management of its property assets. The Council is therefore not in a position to instruct contractors on the basis of alternative third party quotations which is in contravention of its standing orders, nor in a position to delegate responsibility for instruction of repairs and the management of contracts impacting on its property to a third party. The Council will not consider alternative quotations from any third party for common works.
Please remember that it is likely you will have a policy excess which as an owner you will be responsible for paying. The excess will vary from one insurer to another, so again, you must check your policy document to find out what level of excess applies.