What is the ‘structure’ and what is the ‘contents’ in home insurance?

24 October, 2023 | M Aparicio

It is very likely that our home is our most important investment. Our home becomes essential in our lives, and that’s why we must ensure its safety. We should take out a home insurance policy tailored to our needs and possibilities, giving us the peace of mind knowing we won’t lose it due to any misfortune that may occur in the future.

At Hipotecas Plus, we are going to address a question that arises quite frequently among those who want to take out home insurance: what is the ‘structure’ and what is the ‘contents’ in home insurance?

In this article, we will cover the following points:

The structure

• The contents

• Add-ons to the structure and contents: civil liability and handyman service.

The Structure: It’s not just the walls and ceilings.

What is the ‘Structure’ in a Home Insurance?

In home insurance, the ‘structure’ refers to the physical construction of the dwelling. In other words, it’s the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, and doors that make up your house. Think of the structure as the protective shell that safeguards all your belongings and your family.

The Importance of Protecting the Structure

The structure is an essential part of your home; it’s what gives it shape, what is seen from the outside, and what provides its solidity, and therefore, it requires protection. Damage to the physical structure can come from various sources, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, storms, and of course, wear and tear over time.

Just imagine that, unfortunately, if your home were to suffer significant damage, how costly it could be to rebuild or repair its structure! Therefore, a home insurance for the structure provides us with the peace of mind to move forward, being covered after an unfortunate unforeseen event.

Coverage in a Structure Insurance

The coverage in a structure insurance can vary depending on the policy and the insurance company. Generally speaking, the coverage might include:

Structural Damage: We’re essentially talking about the structure: walls, ceilings, floors, windows…

Damage to Fixed Elements: This covers damage to other permanent fixtures attached to the structure, such as built-in wardrobes, kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Damage to Fixed Installations: This covers issues with essential systems, like plumbing, electricity, and the heating and cooling system.

Temporary Accommodation Costs: If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event, the policy might include temporary accommodation expenses, such as hotel stays.

*Important: Thoroughly review your insurance policy and make sure of everything before signing, as there are companies that, for example, consider the heating and cooling systems as part of the structure, while other insurers do not.

To help you differentiate between structure and contents, think about if your home were to rotate, making the ceiling the floor and vice versa. Everything that remained in its place would be the structure, and everything that fell to the new floor would be the contents.

The Contents in home insurance

What is the ‘Contents’ in a Home Insurance?

The contents refer to all your personal belongings inside your home. This includes your furniture, clothes, appliances, jewelry, cash, electronic devices like computer, tablet, Smart TV, mobile phone…, artworks, and any other valuable items you have in your dwelling

The Importance of Protecting the Contents

Our personal belongings hold both sentimental and economic value. Take a moment to think about losing everything you own in your home to a fire or theft. The loss can be truly traumatic. When you stop and think about it, you realize the great importance of covering both the contents and the structure in the home.

Coverage in a Contents Insurance

In the coverage of contents in a home insurance, it refers to:

Loss or Damage Coverage: This covers the repair or replacement of your personal belongings in case of damage, theft, or loss.

Coverage for Valuable Items: When we talk about items with considerable value, such as jewelry, artwork, high-cost electronic devices, an additional coverage might be necessary to ensure their full protection.

Civil Liability: Some contents policies also include civil liability coverage, which protects you in case you or a member of your family causes damage to third parties or their properties.

Moving Expenses Coverage: In the event that you need to temporarily relocate due to damages to your home, some contents policies might cover the moving expenses.

Add-ons to the structure and contents in home insurance

As we have seen, protecting both the contents and the structure through an insurance policy is very important.

The Importance of Civil Liability

You shouldn’t forget about civil liability.

If damage to third parties is caused from your home, the repair bill can be substantial. For example, a malfunction from your home could damage the apartment below. If you have civil liability coverage, your insurer will address the caused issue and will cover the bill, without you having to pay anything, thereby freeing you from worries and unexpected expenses that, without the insurance, could severely destabilize your personal finances.

Handyman Service

Other add-ons to the content and structure coverage in your home insurance, which aren’t as critical as civil liability, but that can save you from certain predicaments and become a significant help, is the handyman service that some insurers provide.

The handyman service offered by some companies, like Zurich (we are exclusive agents) for example, proves useful in assisting their policyholders with those small tasks that, when contracted separately, can be expensive. Tasks typically handled by the handyman service include electrical work, carpentry, plumbing, furniture assembly, masonry, window cleaning, tech installation repairs, appliance filter cleaning, and blinds repair…

Companies offer the handyman service as an optional add-on, detailing its terms, such as the number of visits and hours per year.”

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