Home Insurance

Your complete guide to home insurance

Get the right buildings and contents cover to protect your home and insure your home and belongings to save thousands of euro in the event of a claim.

What’s in this guide?

Part 1

How home insurance works in Ireland

What is home insurance?

Home insurance protects your home and belongings should the worst happen. It isn’t a legal requirement like car insurance, but it can offer valuable financial protection if theft, loss or damage occurs.

Some mortgage lenders also make it a condition of your mortgage offer to ensure you have appropriate house insurance in place.

Here’s what you need to know about home insurance and getting the right cover.

What does it cover?

Home insurance protects the value of your property and belongings. A good policy will protect you against:

  • Damage to your property, including fire, lightning strikes, wind and storms
  • Theft, loss or damage to your belongings

For example, if there were a fire in your home a home insurance policy would pay to repair the damage to your property and replace your damaged belongings.

However, home insurance doesn’t protect you against every eventuality; it won’t usually cover:

  • Damage caused by normal wear and tear
  • Damage caused by terrorism or war
  • Property left unoccupied for long periods (over 30 days)

You may also need to pay extra for insurance against flood, subsidence and other natural disasters.

If you own your property, you’ll need buildings cover; if you rent, then this is something your landlord should have in place.

Part 2

Types of home insurance in Ireland

There are two main types of home insurance. You can choose whether to buy separately or combine contents and buildings for a home insurance policy that covers both.

Buildings insurance

This covers the property itself, including the main building, your roof, windows and other permanent fixtures and fittings.

Buildings cover is for anyone who owns a property that they live in or rent to others.

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Contents insurance

This protects your belongings, including your furniture, valuables and furnishings like your carpets.

Contents cover protects your belongings in your own property or rented home.

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What extras can you add to your policy?

You can add many optional extras to your home insurance policy, but each could make your premium more expensive. Extras you could consider include:

  • Accidental damage: This adds protection should you accidentally damage something, for example breaking a window or spilling wine on the carpet.
  • Bank card cover: This covers unauthorised use of your credit and debit cards, and can also cover your cash and chequebooks too.
  • Emergency accommodation: This pays for alternative accommodation for you and your family if your home isn’t safe to stay in, for example after a flood or theft.
  • Emergency repair: This will pay for emergency repairs and labour to your home, if for example your pipes were blocked or your roof was badly damaged.
  • Fire brigade cover: This will pay for any charges you may incur from the fire brigade.
  • New for old contents cover: This is where your insurer replaces any damaged or stolen items with brand new ones, rather than paying you their current value.

Some policies include emergency home assistance which covers out of hours repairs. For example, if your boiler broke down, the call out fee and labour would be covered.

If you need a general boiler care plan, our guide to boiler servicing plans explains all.

Part 3

The cost of home insurance

How much does home insurance cost?

Home insurance costs depend on a number of things, like the type of coverage you want, where you’re living and how much your property is worth.

What affects the price of home insurance?

The cost of your home insurance depends on many factors including:

  • Where you live: If your home is in a low crime area for example your cover will be cheaper.
  • How much your property is worth: The higher the value, the more your cover may cost.
  • How much your belongings are worth: The higher the value, the more expensive your cover will be.
  • The level of cover you choose: If you add extra cover options like accidental damage or emergency repairs then these will make your cover more expensive.
  • The security measures you have: You can sometimes get a discount if you have an alarm or high security locks fitted to your property.
  • The age of your property: If your property is very old this can make your cover more costly.
  • The excess you choose: This is the amount you have to contribute if you need to make a claim. If you increase the excess, your premium will usually be cheaper, but it’ll be more expensive if you need to claim for something.

What is underinsurance?

Underinsurance is when the amount insured on your policy is less than the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home, or replacing its contents.

For example, if your house has a rebuild cost of €400,000 but is only insured for €200,000, you’re only 50% insured.

Due to the rising cost of building materials, there’s been an increase in home insurance claims which are underinsured.

You can avoid underinsurance by regularly reviewing the level of buildings and contents cover you need, especially:

  • When you complete any home improvements
  • When you build an extension
  • When building costs increase
  • When you’re renewing or taking out a new home insurance policy

A property evaluation service or an online house rebuild calculator could help estimate your rebuild cost.

Part 4

How to get cheaper home insurance

Shop around

Some insurers will offer discounts to entice new customers. Ditch your renewal and shop around for a cheaper price.

Choose the right excess

Increasing your excess - the amount you pay when you claim - will make your monthly premium lower. It will also make any claim more expensive.

Pay upfront

Paying upfront instead of by direct debit each month could save you anywhere up to 15-20% each year.

Get a multi policy discount

If you have another insurance policy, you could bag a multi policy discount when you buy home insurance from the same insurer.

If you want to save even more money on insuring your home, read our 7 ways to save money on your home insurance, which is packed with tips and ideas to protect your home for less.

Should you use an insurance broker?

Plenty of insurers offer home insurance in Ireland, but you could use a broker to help you compare quotes to save time.

If possible, use more than one broker to be sure you’re getting the best deal. That way, you can be confident you’re not missing out on the cheapest home insurance quote.

Think twice before accepting a renewal quote from your existing insurer because you will likely save money by shopping around for cheaper cover.

home insurance woman form

Getting the right cover

To get the right cover for the lowest possible price, follow these three steps:

  1. Work out what cover you need by considering the value of your home and belongings and the extras that matter to you.
  2. Decide what excess you can afford and weigh this up against the cost of the policy. Paying more now could save you money if you had to claim.
  3. Compare home insurance quotes from several different brokers to find the cheapest deal for your needs.

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