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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
Why would you need home insurance add-ons? What is home emergency cover? What is accidental damage cover? Are your personal possessions covered?
Should I get legal expenses cover? What is downloads cover? Home insurance fees and charges

Why would you need home insurance add-ons?

Everyone's home is different, and your standard home insurance policy may not suffice.

Insurance add-ons provide a way to get cover that matters to you without paying for a much more expensive policy that includes features that you simply don't need.

Our home insurance reviews list the add-ons available from each insurer, as well as what's covered as standard.

 

What is 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 dealing with replacement locks, pests and vermin 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're hoping to get boiler cover as part of 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.

Boiler cover

We've surveyed boiler cover customers about the provider they use, so we can tell you which brands boiler owners recommend.

Click on the links for our boiler cover scores and our boiler cover buying guide.

What is accidental damage cover?

Standard home contents insurance policies often cover some items for accidental damage, such as your TV.

But to be insured for a wine spill, or for a rowdy toddler drawing on your sofa, you're probably going to need to extend your cover.

Accidental damage cover usually refers to one-off incidents – general wear and tear isn't included.

Are your personal possessions covered?

You can use your home insurance to cover your portable items, such as your handbag, mobile phone or tablet, while you're away from home and when abroad, under a personal possessions add-on (sometimes called an all-risks extension).

However, restrictions apply, so check with the insurer before you buy. Also consider the excess for claims, and whether it would be worth you making a claim.

Should I get legal expenses cover?

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.

What is downloads cover?

If your phone, laptop or tablet is stolen from your home, downloads insurance will pay out for any lost digital content.

Downloads cover will include music, mobile phone ringtones, TV programmes, films, games, software and computer programs stored on an MP3 player, desktop PC, laptop, mobile phone or home entertainment system.

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 compared the fees charged by home insurers – click on the fee names for more information.

Our Which? fee score shows how well the provider has performed on the basis of how expensive its fees are.

Which? members can log in to see the results of our analysis. If you're not already a member, join Which? and get full access to these results and all our reviews.

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