Finding the best home insurance for you can be difficult.
Home insurance provides many different covers – buildings, contents, personal possessions, legal expenses, home emergency cover – and insurers will often treat these differently.
To help you, we’ve look at some of the popular home insurance companies in the UK based on various factors, including the quality of cover, hidden extra costs, as well as independent reviews that take into account customer satisfaction and complaints handling.
The Best Home Insurance? Our Top Picks
Emerald Home Insurance
So we’re a little biased here but do honestly believe our home insurance ranks highly, although plenty of these our top home insurance brands could be better for you depending on your circumstances so do shop around.
Why use Emerald home insurance? We’re Feefo Five-Star Rated with FREE home emergency cover and legal expenses cover. The only home insurer in the UK to include discrimination cover as stardard.
At Emerald, we like insurers that provide a wide range of cover for various different circumstances.
For example, Emerald home insurance can offer cover for unusual home construction materials such as glass, fibreglass, or living rooves.
Emerald will also consider difficult to insure properties, either those in a flood risk area, those where renovations are planned or where the insured has county court judgments or criminal convictions.
Other insurers also provide some of those more unusual covers. If you’ve been refused home insurance or had a renewal declined, you may be able to get a quote with specialist insurer like HomeProtect.
John Lewis Home Insurance Review – Plus and Premier
John Lewis Finance is among the highest rated home insurance providers. Three levels of cover are available, Essential, Plus and Premier. That said, we believe only the Plus and Premier options are viable as standard packages. Buying the Essential plan will likely leave you short of cover in vital areas.
Premier is the most comprehensive of the bunch and features the following benefits:
- Full Accidental Damage Cover
- Unlimited Buildings and Contents Cover (in contrast to the Plus plan that has cover limitations).
- Unlimited Alternative Accommodation Cover
One other noteworthy benefits of the Premier tier are cycle and garden cover as standard, which are only optional extras on John Lewis Finance Essential and Plus.
LV Home Insurance Review
LV= is highly regarded as one of the best home insurance policies that scores highly amongst customer reviews. One of the positives customers enjoy is the company’s no fuss approach to applications. Many value the ability to set up a policy quickly and efficiently, and LV= has a reputation for making the process easy.
Home insurance from LV= is relatively straightforward and misses several perks that are standard in some other policies (such as built-in home emergency cover). Nevertheless, customers of LV= can choose between three standard home cover policies:
- Contents Only Insurance
- Buildings Only Insurance
- Buildings and Contents Insurance
If you want to add other benefits beyond these standard home packages, you will have to pay more for optional extras.
Aviva Home Insurance Review
Aviva is one of the largest insurers in the UK and its home insurance policy ticks most boxes without ever being amazing. In other words, Aviva is a good choice if you want a solid standard of service across most areas. It’s not the most affordable but also not the most expensive and does not have excellent reviews, although is generally well-liked.
Importantly, Aviva also takes a neutral down the middle approach to its home insurance cover. Customers can choose between Basic, Regular, and Premium policies, all of which have varying levels of buildings and contents insurance but no additional perks. Aviva offers a range of optional extras, including protected no claims discount, accidental home damage cover, and home emergency cover.
Saga Essential, Tailormade and Premier
SAGA is a specialist in insurance for the over 50, and the company has a good reputation amongst its target demographic. Certainly, reviews show customers like how easy it is to renew existing home insurance policies through the company, while SAGA’s customer service also scores highly. Of course, if you’re a younger customer SAGA is not for you, but for the over 50s it is ideal.
There are three coverage options available, Essential, Home, and TailorMade:
- Essential – Buildings and Contents insurance, new for old replacement, and high value specification limit.
- Home – All the benefits of the Essential plan with a three-year fixed price and built-in extras such as accidental damage cover and personal belongings cover.
- TailorMade – A comprehensive package building on the Essential and Home plans by bundling landlord insurance and high-value home insurance.
It is worth pointing out SAGA’s policies are known for being more expensive than the market average. However, the company remains among the best home insurance providers for the over 50s.
Churchill Home Insurance Plus
Most people will know Churchill because of its British Bulldog mascot, but over the years the company has developed a reputation for good insurance products. With it’s home insurance cover, Churchill has one of the most robust policies available with its Standard home package.
Customers receive buildings cover up to £1,000,000 and contents insurance up to £50,000. You can choose to buy these separately or bundle them together. Churchill also throws in some additional perks, including:
- £1,000 landscaping cover
- 12-month guarantee on building works (Churchill approved)
- Alternative accommodation
- Churchill covers the cost of finding a water leak and resulting damage
Those are nice touches, but there are some optional extras Churchill charges for, such as home emergency cover and legal protection. Some insurers, including Emerald Life, include these benefits as part of their standard home insurance policy.
Tesco Bank Home Insurance
Most of us know Tesco as the place we go for the weekly shop, but the retail giant has branched into all sorts of avenues over the decades… insurance is just one of them. Unfortunately, Tesco Bank has some awful customer reviews, such as a very low score on Trustpilot. While that covers all the bank’s products and services, the focus of customer anger seems to be on general customer service.
That may not be a dealbreaker for some customers and if you are willing to give Tesco Bank a chance, the company’s home insurance policy is a good one. You can buy buildings and contents insurance separately or together without set limits. Tesco Bank home insurance stands out because of its various add-on benefits:
- Accidental damage for home entertainment devices
- Garden contents cover
- Food cover (broken freezer)
- Permanent fixtures cover
- Sewer pipe cover
- Lock replacement
M&S Bank Standard and Premier
Like Tesco, Marks and Spencer is another retail giant that delivers insurance and other financial services. It seems M&S fairs better amongst customer reviews and has become notable for a high level of home insurance cover. The company provides protection through two home cover policies, Standard and Premier.
Looking at the Standard cover, there is a buildings insurance limit of £1,000,000 and a contents insurance limit of £100,000.
Premier is more expensive but more comprehensive. Customers receive unlimited buildings and contents limits for most claims. Although, it is worth checking the small print because M&S promotes unlimited cover, but that’s not entirely true. For example, there is a £15,000 limit for single items, a £50,000 limit for specified items, and a £500 limit for cash you have in the home.
RIAS Home Insurance
Like SAGA, RIAS is a specialist insurer that provides cover to the over 50s. Again, if you’re a younger customer you won’t be able to take out a policy with RIAS. For those who fall into the company’s target demographic, RIAS is oddly expensive but does offer a robust level of home insurance.
RIAS bundles buildings and contents insurance together with the following benefits:
- Cover for the home structure, gardens, drives, outbuildings, fixtures, and fittings.
- Identify Theft Assistance Service.
Sadly, more useful perks like legal assistance and home emergency cover are not part of the package. Instead, RIAS customers can pay more on top of their policy for these optional extras.
Age Co Home Insurance
Age Co is another insurer that aims its products at the over 50s, although policies can be purchased by any customer of any age. Some may know Age Co as Age UK, serving as the financial services part of Britain’s largest charity for people in later life. Still, Age Co’s insurance is not sold at charitable or subsidised prices.
Customers buying home insurance from Age Co can purchase separate buildings insurance, contents insurance, or combine the two. Under the standard policy, customers receive £500,000 buildings cover and £60,000 contents cover. Both these limits are lower than most other standard policies.
Barclays Home Insurance
Banking giant Barclays provides home insurance for its Premier customers. There are two policy options available, a standard Home Insurance package and a Premium Home Insurance cover. Both come with buildings insurance and contents insurance:
- Home Insurance: Unlimited cover for buildings and contents insurance.
- Premium Home Insurance: Unlimited cover for buildings and contents insurance, alongside accidental damage and loss protection.
Despite being billed as a Premium package, Barclays’ comprehensive package does not come with Accidental building damage, legal cover, home emergency cover, or insurance for sports equipment and bikes.
That’s a little disappointing considering you will be paying more for the Premium policy and might expect some additional perks.
Halifax Home Insurance
Halifax is one of the best-known banks in the UK. Alongside the company’s banking services, customers can access other financial products, such as mortgages and insurance. Halifax home insurance comes in a standard (Home Insurance) and comprehensive (Home Insurance Ultimate) policy.
Buildings and contents insurance are available on both options. For the standard package, customers get buildings blanket cover of £500,000 (option for £1 million) sum insured for buildings, and blanket cover of £75,000 (option for £100,000) sum insured for contents insurance. The Ultimate package makes both contents and buildings insurance unlimited, and also adds property owner liability cover.
Halfiax also gets good consumer reviews from policyholders who appreciate how easy the process is when they need to make a claim.
Sainsburys Home Insurance
Tesco is not the only major supermarket chain that sells insurance policies. Rival company Sainsburys is also an insurance provider across several lines. For its house insurance, the company has a standard Home Insurance policy and a Premier Cover policy. Furthermore, Sainsburys throws in an enticing offer of up to 35% off your policy when you buy direct from the company with a Nectar card.
For the Premier Cover policy, Sainsburys offers unlimited protection for Buildings Insurance. It does not offer the same for contents cover, instead adding a limit of £100,000. You also won’t receive home emergency or legal protection on the policies without paying extra for them.
While that welcome bonus is interesting (Sainsburys will also give double Nectar point on fuel purchases for two years when you buy a home insurance policy), such offers should never be the reason to buy cover, even if they are a welcome addition. Remember, you’re looking for the best home cover, not flashy add-ons.
Home Protect Review
Home Direct is a leading independent home insurance provider. The company aims to deliver insurance products to customers with specialist needs. For example, Home Direct will cover unique buildings like converted barns, flood-risk properties, listed buildings, and other unique buildings.
If you have personal needs, Home Protect is among the best companies for tailoring a policy to your unique demands. All policies combine accidental damage and personal possessions cover alongside contents and buildings insurance. Basic levels of legal insurance are also part of Home Protect policies, as well as basic home emergency insurance.
Home Protect offers arguably the best home insurance protection for unique buildings.
British Gas Home Insurance
Utilities giant British Gas takes a simple approach to home insurance. There are no coverage tiers, just a straightforward buildings and contents insurance policy. Buildings cover is up to £1 million and contents has a £80,000 limit. Benefits available on top of the company’s home insurance policy as optional extras include home emergency and legal cover.
British Gas has a reputation amongst customer reviews for hiking policies for long-standing customers. Whenever a renewal is due, it’s worth shopping around to see if British Gas can match similar prices and policies from other insurers.
What other insurers might you consider?
It’s a crowded market for home insurance, so although we like us (of course!) and those we have listed above, there are several other home insurers that may suit you.
There are insurers such as Hiscox and a handful of other well-known companies such as More Than and Nationwide that are popular for quotes.
Doing a home quote can take some time, so it is worth understanding which insurer will cover which circumstances.
For example, Emerald can provide home insurance for UK holiday homes, buy-to-let and unoccupied (whether empty for probate or renovation purposes), whereas some more ‘high street’ brands often prefer more standard cover.
Our home insurance offers and deals
Emerald is making insurance more equitable by allowing its customers to donate part of their premium automatically to charities – use THT5 to donate 5% of your premium to Terrence Higgins Trust, or 50FUND to donate 5% of your premium to Emerald’s own 50 Fund, which helps LGBT+ and women’s grassroots organisations in Southern Africa.
You can also insure your personal possessions away from home, with global coverage. For items over £10,000 you will need to call us, but anything else can be done immediately online. We will also cover bicycles if you want to stay fit!
Are You Also Looking For Travel, Pet or Wedding Insurance?
Emerald also provides these – and if you buy Emerald’s wedding insurance we will give you 15% off your home insurance quote when it next comes around.
For a quote on our wedding insurance, with cover from £12,500 to £100,000, click here
For a quote on our pet insurance, with flexible cover up to £7,000 annually, click here
For a quote on our travel insurance, for individuals, couples, families or groups, with optional winter sports or cruise cover, click here
What makes these home insurance companies special?
The home insurance companies that we have mentioned have high levels of buildings and contents insurance cover and many have received recommendations or awards from trusted organisations such as Feefo.
What makes a good home insurance policy?
There are three main types of home insurance – buildings, contents, and buildings and contents combined.
If you live in a rented house or flat you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance, it is your landlord’s job to sort that out – and you should check that they have done this. Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility. Owner-occupiers are likely to need both buildings and contents insurance. If you own a flat there is usually a communal buildings policy, but again you will need contents cover.
It is worth reading the features of any policy before you buy. It is worth checking the amount of payouts, any sub-limits and the levels of any excess (which is the amount that you have to pay in any claim). You should also look at what flexibility the policy has:
- Can you cover accidental damage?
- Can you cover personal items away from home?
- Is there home emergency cover? And do you have to pay for it?
- Does your insurer cover unoccupied properties, or buy-to-let?
- Does your insurer cover damage by pets?
The best home insurance policies also include alternative accommodation for you and the inhabitants of your home if it needs to be rebuilt. But check what is covered. Emerald offers up to 24 months of alternative accommodation if you need it. John Lewis Finance Premier offers unlimited alternative accommodation, while Direct Line offers up to £40,000 of cover.
When you are looking at contents insurance, it is important to make sure that you add up all the things that you own. You would be surprised how quickly it all adds up. Emerald can offer unlimited contents insurance, but you will need to all us if your contents value exceeds £150,000 as we will have a few more questions on security etc.
As for the other insurers,
- John Lewis Finance Premier offers unlimited cover for contents and up to £40,000 for valuables.
- Age Co Home Insurance (formerly Age UK) – Contents: up to £100,000; valuables: up to £50,000.
Comprehensive policies will also provide some level of accidental damage cover for anything you might break or damage in your home. Cover levels vary but the best policies have no limit on claims. However, if you do make a claim, be aware that your premium may go up in the following year.
Some insurers may also include home emergency policies, where they will send someone out to fix urgent problems such as a leak or a broken window. This is a valuable part of home insurance and it’s worth considering, even if it’s an optional extra. Emerald offers this for free on all main residential policies.
Other than policy features, some companies aim to attract customers with special offers such as cashback, vouchers and discounts. While it’s not a good idea to choose a policy based on this alone if you’re torn between two insurers with similar products it can help tip the scales.
It is important to know exactly what is covered by your policy and to choose the most suitable cover for your home. That might not be the most expensive cover but it doesn’t mean you should go straight for the cheapest. Often, the cheapest insurance has higher excesses, and some insurers are cheaper because they tend to dispute claims more often.
Pros And Cons Of Home Insurance Comparison Sites
There has been an enormous rise in the popularity of insurance comparison websites. Bear in mind that while these are convenient, they are PRICE comparison websites.
With a product as complicated as home insurance, often just looking at a price does not show the total scope of cover. Nevertheless, many people simply look for the cheapest price when choosing a home insurance company, believing it to be the best deal. That is often not the case.
Comparison sites, such as Confused.com and Go Compare have their advantages – they make home insurance reviews much more accessible and transparent and they encourage competition between insurance companies, which in turn pushes premiums down.
However, that can often be at the expense of cover, in cases where the insurer simply removes or reduces parts of the cover in order to lower the premium without suffering the loss, so it is worth checking the policy that an insurer offers on a comparison website against what is on the insurer’s own website.
What’s more, some of the best-known insurance companies, such as Emerald, AvivaPlus Home Insurance and Direct Line Home Insurance, are not on comparison sites as a matter of principle.
How to Get The Right Level of Home Insurance Cover
Find Your Rebuild Value
When you are looking at buildings insurance, you need to insure your house for the amount it will cost to rebuild.
This is different from the market value. Mostly the rebuild value will be less than the market value but in some cases it may be higher (for example if the property is difficult to access or has a complicated construction).
You can use the free calculator provided by the independent Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) to work out the rough rebuild cost of your home.
However, you need to think whether your house has anything (such as expensive windows, decoration or materials) that may increase the rebuild value.
How Much Contents Cover Do I Need?
When looking for insurance, it is vital not to underinsure. In the event of a claim, the insurer will look at the value of the cover that you took out and may reduce a payout.
So, in a simple example, if you have £100,000 of contents but only take out £50,000 of contents insurance, then in the event of a claim for £40,000 the insurer may only pay out half, ie £20,000, as they consider that you only insured 50% of your possessions.
Bearing that in mind, it is important to get this right. Think about each room in the house or even go through it room by room.
People tend to forget about clothes, DVDs, crockery, glassware etc. All these things can quickly mount up and if you are underinsured, then you may find future problems in the case of a claim.
For particularly valuable items (often exceeding £2,000) you may need to list these specifically on the policy and keep receipts or have a valuation done. While there are separate policies specifically to cover high-value items, they can often be more expensive than adding any items onto your home policy, so it is always worth checking.
Empty homes – even if only temporarily empty – may not be covered by standard home insurance policies. Typically, if your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days it may invalidate your policy.
You can get a separate policy for unoccupied properties or holiday homes, but either way, be sure to tell your insurance company if no one will be living in your house for more than 30 days. Emerald can provide a quote for unoccupied properties, with an online quote service for most cases.