One in five homes lack contents insurance and 18 to 34-year-olds are more likely to shun cover. But as burglary rates fall, is cover necessary?
Thousands of UK households are choosing not to protect their possessions with home insurance, according to surprising new figures.
New research by home insurance provider esure has found that one in five homes lack contents insurance.
This type of policy covers losses that result from burglary, for example, or accidental damage.
The company adds that age appears to play a significant role in whether or not individuals have contents insurance.
18 to 34-year-olds lack home cover
Among 18 to 34-year-olds, more than a third have no insurance for their possessions. But in the over-55 age group, 91% say they are covered.
Esure also found regional differences in the proportion of homes with contents cover.
In London only 32% have contents cover, while in the east of England, Yorkshire and Humberside, and Scotland, the rate was above 80%.
Nikki Sellers, head of home insurance at esure, says: "The survey results certainly showed interesting age and regional variations in the importance people place on contents insurance."
Fall in burglary rate
For many people, in particular in younger age groups, home contents insurance appears to be low on their list of priorities.
One possible reason for this is the decline in burglary rates over recent years.
Around two in every 100 households were the victims of burglary in the year to September 2013.
These are the most recent figures from the official Crime in England and Wales survey, carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In 1995, on the other hand, the rate was six in every 100. The ONS says: "Households are now around three times less likely to be a victim of burglary than in 1995."
What contents insurance covers
So with burglaries on the decline, is contents insurance really necessary?
Matthew Bolton, home insurance analyst at Confused.com, points out that contents cover does much more than insure against items being stolen from the home.
"Although it is positive news burglary rates are falling, contents insurance is also vital for any personal losses caused by unexpected events such as accidental damage, floods and fires.
"As mobile phones, tablet devices and other electrical goods become more expensive, having to replace them will leave any person considerably out of pocket."
Accidental damage no.1 contents insurance claim
Bolton adds that contents insurance can also protect against accidental damage at home.
In fact, accidental damage is the most common reason for home contents insurance claims.
"Accidental damage is usually added as an upgrade on a standard policy, covering you against one-off accidents out of your control.
Contents cover also insures items in the garden, cash and credit cards kept at home, and even food in the freezer - which could thaw out as a result of a breakdown or power cut.
The cost of contents cover
And contents insurance policies are not prohibitively expensive.
Annual cover for a 23-year-old couple living in a one-bedroom flat in Swansea, south Wales, with £10,000 worth of possessions could cost as little as £60.18.
This rises to £79.50 with accidental damage cover.
Meanwhile, a 32-year-old in a three-bedroom house in Watford with £35,000 of contents to insure would pay £55.52 a year, with or without accidental damage protection.
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