Part 1 - General questions on Buildings and Contents Cover
What is Building and Contents Insurance?
There are usually two things that you might want to protect – the structure of your building, and the things that you own inside it. Although separately these are often known as a buildings policy and a contents policy, when taken together they are usually known as home insurance
A building insurance policy is one that protects you against damage to the fabric of your property – such as the roof or the walls.
So if your property is damaged by flooding or a burst pipe or by third party actions, for example, your insurance will cover the cost of repairs and also pay for you to stay somewhere else, if required, while your home is being returned to its former immaculate condition.
Your Emerald building insurance also provides cover to protect you against those everyday disasters such as losing your keys and requiring a locksmith to change the locks.
If you live in a flat, where there are other flats in the building, or you rent your home, then it is more usual for the buildings insurance to be taken out by the owner of the while building (sometimes, the freeholder), as the owner has the obligation to protect the building itself. However, the costs of that insurance will usually be passed through to the owners of the flats as part of the service charge.
Contents insurance is a policy that covers the belongings and possessions in your home from damage or loss.
What level of building and contents cover do I need?
Your building cover should be set at an amount that would technically be required to rebuild your home in the event it was destroyed. You must determine what this amount should be, as we are not able to give you a recommendation. You may be able to find a rebuild value from your mortgage provider, or there is a calculator that you can use from the Association of British Insurers (http://abi.bcis.co.uk).
The level of your contents insurance will depend on the value of your possessions and what it would cost to replace them all in total. Please remember that this is not just valuables and portable items, but would also include beds, bed linen, clothing (not just the designer stuff), tables, chairs, sofas, kitchenware and kitchen equipment etc. We would recommend that you list your contents and then estimate a replacement cost, and it is this total that should be the amount of cover that you need. Many people materially underestimate the level of contents required, and if you buy a level of contents cover that is materially less than the actual value of contents, then we may not pay out the full amount of a claim.
What is included in the definition of a building?
Emerald’s building insurance covers your home including domestic outbuildings, garages, domestic fixed fuel oil tanks, drives, patios and terraces, walls, gates and fences, swimming pools and tennis courts. Essentially, everything that makes up the property that you have insured with us.
As a rule of thumb if you would leave it behind when you move house then it is covered under buildings insurance
What does building insurance cover?
Our Core product and our Core+ product each have an upper limit of £500,000 of rebuild cover while our Premier product provides up to £1,500,000 of rebuild cover.
Our home insurance protects you against a wide range of eventualities including damage or loss caused by fire, floods, storms, freezing temperatures, escape of water or oil caused by leaking pipes, and as a result of your home being burgled or attacked.
Emerald building insurance also protects you for damage or loss caused by homophobic or hate crime.
What does contents insurance cover?
Our Core product has a limit on overall contents cover of £50,000. For our Core+ product this is limit is £75,000. For our Premier product, customers have the flexibility of selecting an amount of coverage cap that they need, from £75,000 up to £150,000. This allows the customer to pay only for the cover that they need.
Emerald contents insurance covers all your belongings and personal possessions, subject to certain limits and excesses, against loss or damage caused by disasters such as floods, storms and fires and against theft, homophobic and hate crime.
As a guide if you would pack it up and take it with you if you moved house then it is treated as contents.
Contents cover also protects your cash and credit cards and other assets such as digital downloads of music and films.
We also provide material levels of cover for your art and memorabilia, including collections.
Can I just take out Contents Insurance rather than both Home and Contents Insurance?
Yes you can, if you need just contents cover. If you live in a flat in a larger building, or rent your home from a landlord, you only need contents insurance as building insurance is provided by the company who manages the property.
If you own your home and you also need to take out buildings insurance in order to protect the fabric of the building, then there are advantages in buying buildings and contents together, particularly when you need to make a claim as then there is only one insurer that you will need to deal with.
How do I pay for my policy?
In order to keep the overall cost to our customers as competitive as possible, we ask for payment of the single annual premium at the beginning of the policy term. We prefer not to offer instalment plans that can have a significant rate of interest, or instalment plans where the costs of offering that flexibility to some customers are spread across all customers.
Part 2 - Specific Issues Relating To Cover
I use a spare bedroom in my home as an office. What cover do I have in this case?
Your Emerald policy allows you to use up to two rooms in your property as a home office. If you are a couple, you may each need a separate room for the work that each of you do.
My home office contains valuable equipment used for my business. is that covered by your contents policy?
Yes, up to a value of £5,000 in our Core policy and in our Core+ policy and £20,000 in our Premium policy, which also includes cover for business records
I keep my bike in my home. Is it covered in the contents insurance?
Yes, whilst in your home your bicycles are covered the same as your other contents and subject to the same limits, excesses and exclusions. If you require cover for your bicycles whilst away from home you need to buy the optional Pedal Cycle cover which can cover bicycles up to a value of £1,250.
Does your contents insurance cover against accidental damage?
Cover for accidental damage is an optional extra for our policies. However accidental damage doesn't include mechanical or electrical breakdown.
Is tenant liability included in your contents insurance?
Yes, up to a value of 20 per cent of the total sum insured in your policy, depending on your level of cover.
My passport was stolen from my home. Is it covered?
Documents such as passports and title deeds are covered up to a value of £500 as part of our Core and Core+ policies and £10,000 for Premier cover.
Are my personal possessions covered while I am away from home and they are with me?