I Live in An Apartment – Do I Need Different Home Insurance?
Caeva O'Callaghan | April 29th, 2020
Whether you own or rent a flat, your home insurance needs will be slightly different than people who live in a house. Find out more inside.
You’ll need your own contents insurance, but you don’t need buildings cover. As you share the building and structure with other people, you won’t necessarily be responsible for insuring it. This is usually the duty of the freeholder or management company.
Have you renovated your flat or otherwise improved it? You might need what’s called a “tenants’ improvements” policy.
In this article, we’ll answer questions like:
- I live in a flat – do I need home insurance?
- Do I need buildings cover for my flat?
- Can I make changes to my flat?
No matter what, certain parts of your home will be covered by the freeholder or management company. In other words, you won’t have to pay for everything as in a standard home.
Block insurance policies
If you own a leasehold flat or apartment, your building may have what is called a “block insurance” policy. This type of cover protects the building and structure from the normal perils such as fire, flood and storm damage. This policy is usually held by the freehold owner, or management company.
The freeholder is legally bound to provide you with evidence that they have one. Most importantly, your mortgage provider will insist upon seeing it before they give you a mortgage.
If this is the case, you’re probably paying for this buildings insurance as part of the service charge. Or, it might be directly arranged with your landlord. Check the policy carefully to ensure you’re happy with the terms, or call us to give it a look over before you sign. Your mortgage company won’t do this for you.
If your flat is freehold, you’ll jointly own it with everyone else who owns their flat in the building. Just like if you had roommates, it’s everyone’s responsibility to arrange buildings insurance with the other residents. You can choose not to do so, but you’d be crazy not to.
Many apartment residents form groups and committees to take care of these responsibilities. This is a good idea if your building has a lot of residents, and if a committee exists already you may want to join it if you want to help out. If not, they’ll be happy to answer questions about your insurance. You may already be paying to cover not only insurance costs but also repairs and general upkeep.
Your contents insurance
A good general rule to follow is this: if you turned your apartment, what would fall out? Everything that’s permanently fixed is part of your buildings cover, and everything that’s not is the contents. Therefore, your landlord, residents’ committee or management company’s buildings insurance will cover your fixtures, walls, ceilings, doors and windows. For everything else, you’ll need to sort out your own insurance.
Contents insurance is important as it covers the stuff you care most about. Your electronics, appliances and other belongings all fall under contents. So, this means you may need to shop for contents-only insurance if you live in an apartment. It’s vital that you do so, or you may lose everything and not get a penny towards repair or replacement. Living with others means it’s more likely someone else in your building could cause a fire or flood.
Long-term renters or apartment owners may make significant improvements to their property over the course of their residency. Remember: turn your flat upside-down, and what falls out is a content and everything “nailed down” is a building.
Of course, your landlord may not object to you installing a new bathroom or replacing the floor. But, where does that leave you insurance-wise?
Certainly, if you sink a lot of money into improving your apartment, you’ll need additional insurance. Your provider may be able to offer you a “tenants’ improvements” add-on to your contents policy. This will cover any building works you’ve made over your tenancy. It counts these improvements as your contents. Most importantly, it means you’ll be able to repair or replace them if the worst happens.
To sum up, give us a call and we can advise you on setting up a contents-only insurance policy. We can also add tenants’ improvements to cover any eventuality.
If you own an apartment and have any questions regarding your home insurance, pick up the phone and call us!
If you are buying or renting an apartment or your home insurance is up for renewal, and you have any questions you need clarification on, feel free to call us and talk to our home insurance team. We can advise you on the different types of home insurance that are available to you as an owner and renter of an apartment. Our team of home insurance experts have been helping our customers in Ireland for over 30 years for all types of home insurance. We are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. We look forward to hearing from you.