Co-operative Insurance unveils the top first time buyer mistakes

06 April 2016

  • 20% of first time buyers aged 25-34 have underinsured homes
  • 10% of first time buyers admitted to only buying buildings insurance after they had moved into a property
  • A third (31%) of first time buyers have bought  furniture before measuring up

As the home buying season gets into full swing, research from The Co-operative Insurance has revealed the common insurance pitfalls first time buyers are making when it comes to purchasing their first property. 

One in five first time buyers, between the ages of 25 and 34, (20%) are underinsuring their homes, leaving their property and belongings exposed, as they admit to purchasing only buildings or contents insurance, rather than the two combined. *

Across all age groups, almost one in 10 (9%) first time buyers admitted to only purchasing buildings insurance after they had moved into the property, despite it being a purchaser responsibility to have buildings insurance in place from the date of exchange.  One in five (19%) also didn’t have contents insurance in place before they moved in to a property.  

Insurance mistakes are not the only ones being made by first time buyers, with many rushing ahead buying furniture for their new home that won’t fit.  Almost a third (31%) said they had bought furniture before measuring up the size of the rooms accurately.   Of these, one in four (25%) said it was a nightmare to get their furnishings into the property, 16% had to remove a window, and 7% actually caused damage to their new home by moving the furniture in. 

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative, said:

“The research shows that there are a number of first time buyers who may be getting their priorities wrong when it comes to moving.  Buying a property is a complex process and a lack of understanding means that many people are not adequately covered when it comes to insurance. 

“Making sure you have buildings insurance in place, at the time of exchange of contracts, is important because that is when you become legally responsible for the property.  For example, if the property is affected by fire or malicious damage before the completion process is finalised, you could be liable for these costs without it.  Each mortgage provider will have their own rules and they may check this before lending money to a potential home buyer.

“It is also wise to have contents insurance in place before you move. Often this will cover goods in transit, so it could save you money, as you may not need to purchase insurance from a removals company.  Check with your insurer because there may be requirements that items of a fragile nature are packed by professionals and small high value items may not be covered, such as jewellery –you will be better off transporting these yourself.”

The Co-operative Insurance offers the following top tips for those moving home:

  • Buildings insurance is extremely important, as it should cover the rebuild cost of the main elements of your home including walls, floors, windows, roof and doors, as well as other outdoor structures such garages, sheds, drives, fences and gates. It also covers permanent fittings, for example kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Make sure you have buildings insurance in place at the time you exchange contracts as this is when you take legal responsibility for your new property. Though buildings insurance can be a condition of your mortgage, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a policy from your lender.
  • Contents insurance will protect your belongings, i.e. things that you keep in your home, like furniture, carpets, curtains TVs, and other valuable items, such as jewellery and mobile phones. Additional cover may need to be added, if you wish to cover these items outside your home.
  • Contents Insurance is optional but it is sensible to have this in place starting from the day you move your belongings into the new property (so arrange it before).
  • During the move, your contents may be already covered if you have contents insurance in place, so it is wise to check with your insurer first.  Be aware that if you are not using a professional removals firm and you are moving belongings yourself, then this may not be covered. Damage to valuables e.g. small, high value items may not be covered.  Your removals company may also be able to offer insurance.  



Notes to Editors
* Research carried out by One Poll on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance with 1,500 first time buyers.