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Home insurance: add-ons, fees and charges explained

Find out how the cost of your home insurance might be affected by certain add-ons, fees and charges. 

In this article
Home insurance add-ons
Home insurance fees and charges

Here are some of the most common add-ons, fees and charges which might affect the cost of your home insurance policy.

Home insurance add-ons

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover is designed to protect your home against a number of household crises, such as burst water pipes or a broken boiler.

The cover, which starts at around £30 a year, can also include replacement locks, unwanted pests and electrical faults. Policies can differ greatly between home insurance providers so be sure to check the terms and conditions of your policy.

Watch out if you are hoping to get boiler cover through purchasing home emergency cover. Claims can be limited to relatively low amounts – sometimes just £500, which won’t be enough to cover you if you need a new boiler.

Find out more: Finding the best boiler cover

Accidental damage

Standard contents insurance policies include some cover for accidental damage – eg to stereo equipment – but don't cover accidental damage to goods or furnishings. For an additional £20 to £100, you can extend cover to include these items, which can be useful if you have young children.

 

Personal possessions

You can use your home insurance to cover your portable items, such as your handbag, mobile phone or tablet, while you are outside of the home and overseas, under a personal possessions add-on (sometimes called an all-risks extension). However, restrictions apply, so check with the insurer before you buy.

Legal expenses

This add-on covers the cost of legal proceedings if you need to take action or defend a claim. It typically covers the legal expenses incurred in most personal injury, consumer, property and employment disputes, as well as any award of the other party's legal costs. A few insurers include this cover as standard when you buy home insurance, but most charge an additional fee.

Downloads insurance

If your phone, laptop or tablet is stolen from your house, downloads insurance will pay out for any lost digital content. Downloads cover will include music, mobile phone ringtones, television programmes, films, games, software and computer programs stored on an MP3 player, desktop PC, laptop, mobile phone or home entertainment system.

Find out more: Best and worst home insurance – the big providers rated

Home insurance fees and charges

Many home insurance providers charge extra if you want to make common changes to your home insurance policy. We've rounded up the fees to reveal the best and worst buildings and content insurance providers. Our charges score shows how well the provider has performed in our Which? Recommended Providers analysis on the basis of how expensive its fees are.

10 Best For Fees
Provider APR (monthly payments) Adjustment fee Duplicate documents fee Cancellation fee after 14 days Renewal fee Maximum Switching fee contributiona Which? fee score
Barclays 0% £0 £0 £0 £0 Unlimited 100%
Age UK 0% £0 £0 £0 £0 £55 100%
Santander 0% £0 £0 £28a £0 Refund cancellation fee 95%
NatWest 0% £0 £0 £26.50 £0 £50 95%
NFU Mutual 0% £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 86%
M&S 0% £0 £0 £25 £0 £0 81%
Legal & General 0% £0 £0 £24.99 £0 £0 81%
Insure4Retirement 29.8% £0 £0 £30 £0 £0 77%
Prudential 22.0% £0 £0 £26.40 £0 £0 74%
John Lewis 21.1% £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 71%
10 Worst For Fees
Swiftcover Variable 10c £0 £30 £0 0 57%
Budget 29.8% £0 £5 £35a £0 £25 57%
AA 26.9% £15 £15 £20 £0 £25 57%
AXA 11.5%-59.2% £10c £0 £30 £0 £0 54%
Tesco 29.8% £25 £0 £35 £0 £0 52%
Post Office Variable £20c £0 £35 £0 £0 51%
Saga 22.9% £14.50 £0 £35 £20 £0 51%
Admiral 21.9% £19.50 £7.50 £39.50 £0 £0 51%
Zurich 23.6% £15 £15 £30 £0 £0 43%
Endsleigh 44.1% £30 £30 £20 £20 £0 25%

Table notes:
a Including IPT at 12%
b £55 fee applies for first year, £35 for subsequent years

c If over the phone. Free online

d £12.50 if change of address

We examined the fees and charges of 33 insurers. Each insurer was rated for each of its different fees compared with what others in the survey charged. The Which? Fee Score is the insurer's combined total score as a proportion of the maximum score achievable. 

Table correct at February 2018.

 

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