Flat Insurance

If you live in a flat instead of a house, you still need home insurance to cover the building itself and your contents inside. But are there any differences to be aware of?


Buildings insurance for a flat

Your obligations, when it comes to taking out buildings insurance for a flat, will differ depending on whether you own it on a leasehold or freehold basis.

What’s the difference? Leasehold is when you own the property for an agreed period of time; you might buy a flat with a 25-year leasehold. In this scenario, the landlord may own the freehold, and when your lease period comes to an end, ownership of the flat returns to the landlord.

If you own a flat on a freehold basis, you own it outright - until you decide to sell it, of course.

Owning a flat on a leasehold or freehold basis has an impact on the type of home insurance you need to have in place. With leasehold ownership, the landlord may usually arrange buildings insurance, but you should certainly check to establish where your responsibilities start and end. Under the terms of your lease, you may find that certain parts of building insurance are your responsibility. 

For example, while the exterior of the flat, and the roof of the building your flat is located in, will typically be the responsibility of the landlord and freehold owner, the kitchen might be deemed part of yours. A fitted kitchen could well be considered a fixed, permanent part of the flat and therefore falls under buildings insurance - but you might be responsible for its maintenance under the terms of your lease.

If you own the flat freehold, buildings insurance is your responsibility.

If you don’t own the flat but rent it instead, buildings insurance isn’t usually your responsibility.

You can read more about leasehold property here, on GOV.UK.


Contents insurance for a flat

If you own a flat, the contents are definitely your responsibility. Contents insurance covers everything of yours inside the flat. These are your possessions, and so while contents insurance is optional, you should think carefully about the value of those possessions and how you’d feel if they were damaged or stolen. And how you’d be able to replace them if something did happen to them.

Contents insurance offers protection for your belongings. They could be damaged accidentally - you might crack the screen of your TV - damaged due to a fire, or an flood because of a leaky water pipe, or stolen by a burglar. 

Items of furniture are usually covered by contents insurance too, typically sofas, beds and wardrobes but also possibly fitted carpets. Taking out contents insurance provides a level of financial security and peace of mind. There’s more information about RAC contents insurance here.

Even if you rent a flat instead of owning it, you’ll still need contents insurance, to cover your belongings and everything in your home.


Calculating the value of your contents insurance

When you’re getting a quote for your home contents insurance, you’ll usually be asked to put a value on the amount of cover. Don’t guess; if you underestimate it, you could be out of pocket in the event of needing to make a claim.

If the task of putting a collective value on everything in your home feels daunting, this guide might help. If you’ve got any items of particularly high value - such as a piece of jewellery or antique furniture - then you might decide to detail them separately on your policy, and assign single item cover to them.


Getting a quote for flat insurance

Whether you own a flat, or rent from a landlord, you’ll need some form of home insurance - buildings, contents, or both. If you need cover, get a quote from the RAC online here or call us on 0330 159 0981.


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