Accidental damage is the most common reason for making a claim on home contents insurance policies, new research by Confused.com has found.
Even if you don't own your home, you still need to protect your possessions.
If you're a tenant, there will usually be no need for you to take out cover against any problems suffered by the building itself, such as storm damage to the roof or frozen pipes.
Issues such as those are the landlord's responsibility.
But as far as your own possessions go, it is up to you to arrange protection with a home contents insurance policy.
If your home became the victim of a burglary or fire and you didn't have any insurance, you could end up seriously out of pocket.
Getting the right cover
When it comes to arranging a contents policy, however, there are a few things you need to think about.
In many cases, simply buying on price could leave you without vital cover as not every policy is the same.
Some will offer certain types of protection as standard, and some will not.
We have analysed Confused.com's claims database for 2012 to see what were the most common reasons for claiming on home contents insurance policies.
Far and away the biggest reason for claims was for accidental damage. This accounted for almost half of all cases.
Accidental damage cover means that if you spill red wine on a sofa, or knock your TV off its stand, you can claim for a clean-up or replacement.
This type of cover will also apply if you damage any of your landlord's possessions, which means you can claim money from your insurer to prevent your landlord charging you when you come to move out.
But many contents policies do not cover accidental damage as standard. Often, you have to select this as an add-on, and it will increase your premium.
Other reasons for claims
The second most common reason for claiming was storm damage, with many home insurance claims probably resulting from flooding in recent months.
This was followed by theft from home and damage caused by escape of water due to burst pipes or faulty plumbing.
In fifth place was accidental damage and theft away from the home.
Again, cover when you are away from your property can be added to a contents policy.
But it is very rarely included as standard and will also lead to higher premiums.
It could be worth considering, for example, if you use a bicycle to commute and are worried about it being stolen, or if you want to cover your mobile phone.
In many cases, adding away-from-home cover to your contents policy is better value than buying standalone mobile phone insurance.
Should you claim?
On any home contents insurance claim you have to pay an excess before the policy pays out.
This could be around £100 or £200.
So if the overall value of a claim is just a few hundred pounds you may not end up with much money.
Plus, when your policy comes up for renewal it's likely the price of cover will increase, as you're now seen as a higher risk.
Click the link to read the top five buildings insurance claims.
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