Contents insurance

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What does contents insurance cover? While it isn't compulsory, contents insurance can offer protection for your valuables.

  • It's a policy designed to secure your belongings against theft, loss and damage.
  • Your policy could cover you against damage from leaks, floods, storms, fires, earthquakes or lightning.
  • Typically it insures items like your electrical goods, furniture, jewellery, money and clothes. Basically, anything you might take with you if you moved house.
  • Some policies could also extend this cover to include the contents of your garden shed.
  • If you're a tenant renting a house or flat it could cover your personal possessions or any furniture that you may own.

Want to cover expensive items? If you've a valuable family heirloom, high-powered gadget or an antique that you want to cover, you may need to list them separately as single, high-value items. Some insurers could also offer a more specialist high value contents insurance policy for items of significant worth.

However, your provider might have a set limit on how much they pay out for a high-value item. So be sure to check this when taking out your policy, to ensure you get the cover you need.

 

Some policies may also have a certain amount of flexibility. They might increase the level of cover during a particular time of year when you have expensive items in your home. For example during the Christmas period, or if you get married and your home is full of wedding gifts. Check with your provider to make sure what your policy covers.

Most policies usually fall into one of two types - new for old and indemnity. New-for-old does exactly what it says on the tin. Some providers will replace the damaged item a for new one whilst other providers will offer a cash settlement. Indemnity policies are cheaper, but they only pay out on the items’ depreciated value, as wear and tear is taken into account.

What you'll need to get a quote Getting a quote takes around 8 minutes. But having the following at hand could speed things up.

  • The date your house was built - this question is usually pre-filled based on your address.
  • The date your house was bought or when you moved in.
  • Which locks and alarms are fitted - we provide useful lock pictures to help you out.
  • Details and cost of any claims you've made in the last five years - this should be in your renewal documents. Alternatively contact your current insurer.
  • The total cost of your personal belongings - our contents calculator can help you work this out.
  • Details of any items you wish to insure that are worth over £1,000 for example engagement rings, antiques or expensive computer equipment.

Do I really need contents insurance? Without insurance, you run the risk of being left out of pocket if your home suffers loss or damage by theft, fire or bad weather. 

It’s important to get the right amount of cover for your belongings. Should your home be burgled or damaged by fire or flooding, you could have to fork out to cover the costs if you're not properly insured. 

The average UK home is filled with thousands of pounds worth of possessions, so it's important that you get the right level of cover. Remember to take every room in your home into consideration.

Calculating the correct value of your home’s contents can seem like a hassle, but getting as close as you can to their true worth is hugely important. Households that don’t know how much to insure their belongings for risk being underinsured. 

Top tips: Take your time, make an inventory of what’s in every room, and you may be surprised at how much it all adds up to. Also, don’t forget to check what’s kept out of sight too, such as items in your attic, basement and garden shed.

Away-from-home cover

When comparing home contents policies, you'll be given the option to cover your possessions away from home. This means you could be covered against loss and theft for the things you carry with you everyday, including jewellery, watches, handbags, laptops and mobile phones.

Accidental damage

Accidental damage cover may also be worth considering. This could cover you for one-off accidents such as spilling something on your sofa, smashing a television or dropping an antique vase. 

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover could protect you against a number of unexpected incidents, such as burst pipes or your boiler breaking down.

Legal cover

Legal cover or family protection cover is designed to cover costs and expenses in the event of legal disputes. Some insurers may include this as standard but it's always worth checking.

It's important to work out if you need additional cover - but be careful not to waste money by doubling up on insurance.

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