When should I buy home insurance?
First of all, there are two types of home insurance: Building Insurance and Contents Insurance. The property structure + fixtures and fittings are covered by Buildings Insurance. Contents Insurance covers just the property contents.
Buildings insurance will cover any structural damage to your property – like fire, flood or earthquake damage.
If you’re buying a leasehold property, the insurance will normally be in place already. You’re conveyancer/solicitor will check the insurance policy before proceeding with the leasehold sale.
If you’re buying a freehold property, building insurance is your responsibility. You’ll need make sure that the buildings insurance is active from the date that the contracts are exchanged. Your conveyancer/solicitor will advise you before the exchange of contracts and make sure the freeholder has insurance in place.
Building insurance is not legally mandatory in the UK. But Mortgage lenders will insist that you have buildings insurance in place, this will protect the lenders collateral against any damages.
You should have an active buildings insurance on the date you exchange contracts, as this is when you are legally obligated to purchase the property. Any damage to the property after this date will be your problem and your loss.
Contents insurance is less important, it is neither legally mandatory, nor required by mortgage companies.
It is common for items to get damaged, lost or even stolen when moving in to a new property. That’s why it is strongly recommended that you get contents insurance before moving in to a property. It covers all your property content, such as jewelry, paintings and furniture.