Evaluating buildings insurance is something you can elect to leave in the hand of insurance professionals. Some will have their own experts who will examine the premises to be insured and then give you a figure. However, it is generally far better for you to do this independently so that you can negotiate over figures without having to accept the first offer.

Buildings insurance policies are usually index-linked, meaning they rise automatically every year to match the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Buildings Insurance policies normally offer protection from:

 - Severe weather: storms, lightning and floods

 - Theft and vandalism

 - Fire, smoke and explosions

 - Subsidence

 - Burst pipes

 - Civil commotion

 - Water or oil leakage

 - Impact from vehicles, falling trees, aircraft, masts, aerials

Fortunately, buildings insurance is a fairly standard product and most big providers will have various packages which may or may not appeal. Once again before making a decision you should bear the following points in mind:

Generally speaking, older buildings cost more to insure than new ones.

Buildings alter over time: they age and decrease in value, or they are refurbished and improve. You should therefore be aware of this and be prepared to change your policy terms if required.

Don't be surprised if valuations and premiums vary quite widely. There is lots of competition in this area and a hunger for business.

Make sure you know your building. Any significant factors which emerge later will impact any claims, perhaps severely.

Be prepared for your insurance provider to request that you undertake repairs and other upgrades before giving you a policy.

If you are moving into new premises, it is almost certainly likely to be insured already and it may be easier for you to take over the existing policy. If you do, make sure there are no clauses which will affect the operation of your business.

Obtaining buildings insurance is no real problem, given the number of suppliers around, but you had better ensure that you are well prepared before buying. Make sure you understand the policy in full and aren't going to get caught out by any of the exclusions. You might want to consider using a broker, particularly if your needs are complex or if you are anticipating a lot of change in your business. As always with insurance, it is better to be safe than sorry.