What Does Home Insurance Cover – And What’s Left Out?

Caeva O'Callaghan | September 19th, 2023

Every home needs to have home insurance, just in case the worst happens.

Without it, if your property or possessions are damaged or destroyed, you face the second blow of not receiving any compensation for the loss.

But it’s not always clear what a so-called “standard policy” includes and what kind of cover you can expect – particularly as it can often differ from one home insurance provider to another.

In this guide, we’ll strip it back to the ‘core elements’ and let you know what to look out for when organising cover for your home.

What’s covered in typical home insurance?

When a standard home insurance policy includes buildings and contents, you can expect the following to be covered:

  • Your house – walls, ceilings, the structure and any fixtures or fittings that can’t be removed from the house
  • Its contents – furniture, carpets, appliances, TV, ornaments, etc
  • Your personal effects – clothing, bags, jewellery, sports equipment, bicycles, etc

The maximum value of the items you can claim on (contents up to a certain amount, e.g. €100,000) will be stated clearly in your policy. Most policies carry an excess, which means that you won’t be covered for the first few euros of a claim. A typical excess may be between €150 and €250.

Most policies offer new for old cover, which means you get the full replacement cost of items that are lost, stolen or damaged. However, some policies will only offer you the amount that your items are worth at the time of the claim.

What’s usually not covered?

You’ll have to pay extra to cover possessions that you regularly take out of the home, like cameras or jewellery. This is  known as ‘All Risks’ Cover, which is designed for higher-valued items.

Your home insurance policy may not cover the contents of a freezer or pantry, or damage caused by a computer virus. These may be insurable, but they will not typically fall under a standard home cover policy.

What kind of events are covered?

Any damage to your home or possessions caused by fire, flooding and storms, as well as theft, is usually covered, as well as damage from subsidence or burst pipes.

Always check your policy, especially if you live in a high-risk area like a flood plain.

You cannot claim through your home insurance if your contents are stolen through deception – for example, if you give your keys to a tradesperson who then steals from your home. Any damage caused by general wear and tear will not be covered, such as your carpet wearing thin over the years, and most policies will restrict and reduce cover if your property is unoccupied for a long time (typically 40 days).

Buildings insurance will not normally pay out for damage due to acts of war or terrorism.

Optional extras for home insurance policies

Many home insurance policies offer extra cover for an additional fee, but some may be already included.

Accidental damage can include spilling wine on your carpet or knocking over your TV and it’s one of the most common insurance add-ons, but bear in mind that if you have children or pets your cover may cost more.

You can also take out extra cover for your garden, to insure your plants and ornaments.

Bicycles are only normally covered by house insurance if they are stored inside the house: extra cover will insure your bicycle while it’s in a garage or chained up outside, as well as out and about.

Things you might not know you needed to insure

Some companies now offer separate ‘download insurance’ if you’ve purchased games, music or other digital downloads that you aren’t able to recover if you lose your laptop or device.

Home insurance generally includes liability cover, should a visitor be injured in your home and you’re deemed negligent – remember to check if this is the case when you review your policy.

But if you store money at your property – in a savings jar, for example – in all likelihood you have personal money covered, but you should check the limit of this with your insurer, particularly if you are keeping large amounts of cash in your home.

Don’t forget to make sure the cost of your food is covered if you have expensive ingredients or a large family. If your freezer or fridge breaks down and you lose a month’s worth of food, that will be expensive to replace.

This, of course, is just a top-level broad guide to what to expect (and not expect).

Always read your home insurance policy carefully, and if you find the small print impossible, ask your broker to explain it to you.

A good idea is to ask yourself: if the worst happened, what would I be most upset at losing? Make sure that is covered in your policy first, then check off anything else you can think of.

Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your house insurance queries.

If you have any questions regarding home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051 and talk to one of our home Insurance experts. They are on hand to answer all your questions. You can also get an instant home insurance quote online. We compare the market to get you the best cover.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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