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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. 

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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 Payment default fee Policy adjustment fee Duplicate document fee Cancellation fee after 14 day cooling off period Renewal fee Maximum switching fee contribution Which? fee score
Barclays Bank 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee Unlimited 100%
HSBC 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee Unlimited 100%
NatWest 0.00% No fee No fee No fee £26.50 No fee £50 95%
RBS 0.00% No fee No fee No fee £26.50 No fee £50 95%
Age Co / Age UK 17.50% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee £55 92%
Legal & General 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee £0 86%
NFU Mutual 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee £0 86%
Nationwide 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee £0 86%
M&S Bank 0.00% No fee No fee No fee No fee No fee £0 86%
Co-op Insurance 15.40% £12.50 No fee No fee No fee No fee £0 76%
10 worst for fees
Rias 29.90% £12.50 £0 online / £15 by phone No fee £35 £20 £75 59%
Admiral Variable £7.50 £19.50 No fee £39.50 No fee £0 57%
Tesco Bank 29.80% No fee £25 No fee £35 No fee £0 56%
Saga 22.90% No fee £14.50 No fee £35 £25 £25 55%
Esure 27.70% No fee £20 No fee £58 No fee £0 51%
Sheilas' Wheels 27.70% No fee £20 No fee £58 No fee £0 51%
Bradford & Bingley 29.90% £20 £20 No fee £35 No fee £0 50%
Post Office 26.50% £20 £20 No fee £35 No fee £0 50%
Hastings Direct From 14.90% £20 £20-£25 £0 online / £5 by phone £35 £5 £0 33%
Swinton 35.60% £19 £25 No fee £35 £25 £0 32%

Table correct at February 2019.