Moving house: an insurance checklist
If you’re in the throes of moving house, the admin element alone can feel overwhelming. But fret not: we’ve asked our property claims team to put together all the insurance you’ll need, so that’s one thing off your mental load.
By Emma Mitra
When it comes to stressful experiences, moving house is up there. Boxing up all your possessions is hectic enough. But when you factor in dealing with mortgage lenders, surveyors, solicitors, estate agents and a whole lot of admin? It’s a given that your cortisol levels will be on the up.
Having something to tick off can make the process feel a little less daunting. Here’s what you should be focussing on when it comes to insurance for your house move and beyond.
First things first
Instruct a solicitor
Super-organised suggestion: it’s well-worth finding a conveyancing solicitor before your offer on a home has been accepted. Lots of the legal admin can be completed before you get to the offer stage, speeding up the process further down the line.
Your offer’s been accepted
Need a mortgage? Think about life insurance
If you need to take out a mortgage, now’s the time to fill out the application. Your lender is likely to ask you about life insurance. Having this sort of insurance in place would mean if you die during the term of your life insurance policy, you're covered. Your partner or loved ones could use the payout to afford to stay in your home when you’re gone, without having to move at a difficult time.
While this kind of insurance isn’t a legal requirement for mortgages, some lenders may insist on it. Morbid? Perhaps. Good sense? Perhaps – especially if you’re buying a house with your partner or for your family. Think of it as a bit of peace of mind for you all.
Read your surveyor reports
As tempting as it is to skim through a lengthy survey, it’s a good idea to read it in detail.
“If the house is near a river or petrol station, for example, it’ll come up in the surveyor report”, explains Stacey Summerton, Aviva property claims team. “Factors like this can affect your home insurance premium.”
Remember that any existing damage won’t be covered by a home insurance policy. So give the report a thorough read and make sure that any actions, however minor, are addressed – whether that’s by you or the seller.
Before moving day
Check your contents insurance
Check if your existing contents insurance covers home removals. “Most policies with this cover only apply when using a professional moving company”, warns Stacey. “So be ultra-careful if you’re asking friends and family to help you move.”
Make an inventory
Back away from the flat pack boxes: before you start packing, make a full inventory of your possessions. Include makes and models of electricals, take photos and hold onto any receipts you dig out of drawers. It’ll all come in handy for insurance claims if any items are damaged in transit.
Get some valuations
Before you take out a home insurance policy, it’s a good idea to get your more expensive possessions valued – things like jewellery, art and electronics. Most home insurance policies have a limit set against valuables, so you may need to be specify them on your policy to make sure they’re full covered.
Get your home insurance in place
It makes sense to get home insurance in place as soon as you exchange contracts - that's the point where you become legally responsible for your new property.
Home insurance is generally made up of buildings insurance, which usually covers the main structure of your home, any permanent fixtures and outbuildings; and contents insurance, which covers your household items, money, valuables and home office equipment.
There are also add-ons, like home emergency cover, which pays out in case of emergencies at your property – things like roof damage after a storm or plumbing emergencies.
Moving into a flat?
If you’re not the freeholder, check whether buildings insurance is already in place. You don’t want to be paying out on a policy if the building’s already covered.
But do check the finer details carefully. While you may have to pay a buildings maintenance cover, this only usually applies to communal area and exteriors of the building. To be sure you have cover for the walls, ceilings, floors, fixtures, and fittings in your flat, you’ll need buildings insurance.
Your old home insurance
If you’re not a first-time buyer, you’ll probably already have home insurance. It’s usually straightforward to transfer this to your new address – but you’ll need to contact your insurer to update them about your new property so the cover can be tailored to your new home.
Your new home insurance
How would you afford to rebuild your home if it was damaged or destroyed? Answer: with home insurance, of course! Never underestimate the importance of home insurance. Your mortgage lender may also insist on seeing evidence that you’ll have some in place.
Before you take out a new policy, it’s worth thinking about a few things:
- Sheds and garages
Has your new property got a shed, outbuilding or separate garage? Make sure that your new policy covers you for it and check the cover that applies. Most policies limit the amount that can be paid out for contents stolen from outbuildings, for example.
- Accidental damage
Do you want cover for accidental damage? Check that it provides the level of cover you need. Some policies offer multiple levels of accidental cover while some only applies to specific things like damage to underground pipes, fixed glass or home entertainment equipment.
- Security systems
Before you move in, check your new home for things like burglar alarms. Having extra security like this could make your premium a bit lower.
If you’re renting your home, go through your tenancy agreement in detail. It should clearly state what you’re responsible for in the property, so you’ll know exactly what kind of home insurance cover you need.
Congratulations! Time to breathe a big sigh of relief. Before you start unpacking, don’t forget to update your insurer with your new address, if you haven’t already.
Remember these final words of wisdom from Stacey: “General wear and tear or anything that happens gradually tends to be excluded from most home insurance policies. So keep your property in a good state of repair, ensuring you keep up to date with any maintenance required.”