What Does Buildings Insurance Cover – Exactly?

Caeva O'Callaghan | June 2nd, 2023

What Exactly Does Buildings Insurance Cover – And Do I Need It?

Contents make your house a home. But lots can go wrong with the structure of your house, so you will want to prepare thoroughly in case the worst happens.

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home. This includes all four walls and the roof, as well as all permanent fixtures and fittings.

It’s as simple as that: buildings insurance covers the actual building involved.

In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:

In all cases, your building insurance will cover some kinds of damage and not others. Read on to discover what you need to know.

What building insurance covers

There’s a standard list of situations in which buildings insurance will cover the cost of damage to your home. Almost all insurance providers will cover you for these risks, however, it’s worth checking your policy just in case.

These are:

  • Fire, lightning, explosion or earthquake
  • Smoke (but not smoke damage, which happens gradually)
  • Storm or flood (except to gates, hedges and fences and felt roof over 5 years old)
  • Malicious damage (except caused by people legally in the home or if your home is unoccupied for 40 days plus)
  • Riots and civil commotion
  • Water escaping from a fixed water, drainage or heating installation, waterbed or fishtank
  • Subsidence or ground heave
  • Aircraft and flying objects
  • Aerials, fittings, masts and satellite dishes breaking
  • Oil leaving from a tank
  • Falling trees and branches
  • Removal of debris and building fees
  • Damage to underground services
  • Breakage of fixed glass and sanitaryware
  • Loss of rent and the cost of other accommodation
  • Replacing locks
  • Fire brigade charges

Naturally, your building insurance will cover no more than the sum insured. This means that if you haven’t given an accurate valuation of your home’s worth, you won’t be able to claim any extra costs.

Groundwork and subsidence

Your house sits on solid foundations, but this doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong. Unfortunately, when it comes to groundwork your insurance may not cover all the risks.

This is because it can take a very long time to detect structural damage. The time involved makes detecting foundational damage a maintenance problem. Realistically, not everyone may think of checking the integrity of their foundations on a twice-yearly basis.

However, if you only notice a problem after months or years have passed, your insurance will not cover you. This is because as a homeowner, there is an expectation that you keep a reasonable eye out for such problems.

Many people forget that the purpose of insurance is to cover sudden peril. It’s not a get-out-of-jail-free card for not looking after your property. However, your home insurance may not be completely useless in this scenario. If you have discovered a problem and taken steps to repair it and prevent future problems, your policy may cover ensuing loss. For example, if a hole in the roof has let water into your attic, your insurance won’t cover the cracks but may replace the Christmas decorations.

Cracks in the walls

Again, your buildings insurance will probably cover you, but possibly not. As always, the focus is on your upkeep of the property. If your chimney has cracked due to a sudden and unexpected lightning strike, you will likely have cover.

But if, year after year, you failed to check a hairline crack and it develops into a major problem, insurance won’t cover your negligence.

It’s also worth noting that even if your insurance covers you for damage to your belongings and structure as a result of subsidence, it will not cover you protecting your home. If you worry about future subsidence or ground heave, you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket to shore up your defences or move.

Keep in mind that, as subsidence is an insurable risk, premiums go up for you if you claim. Also, if you live in an area which is prone to subsidence, you will be paying more for insurance.

If you have any House Insurance questions, talk to us in QuoteMe.ie

If you are trying to understand exactly what is covered and what is not covered regarding your home insurance, call us and talk to our home insurance experts. We know home insurance like the back of our hands. We have seen all the possible scenarios and can guide you through choosing a policy that best suits your needs. We are available for calls between 8.30am and 5.30pm each weekday on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

If you would like a home insurance quote online, try our online quote system. We compare home insurance in the Irish market from 12 insurers to get you the right cover for your situation. 

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.