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High value contents insurance explained

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Have you been gifted a precious family heirloom, or invested in a piece of art? Your standard home insurance policy might not provide enough cover for these items, if they're lost, stolen or damaged.

Working out what your home insurance covers can be confusing. In this guide we explain what your standard home insurance covers and whether you need specialist insurance for your high-value items. We'll also going to look at what counts as a valuable item.

A box with high value items

Whether you need high value contents insurance is up to you - it's not a legal requirement. But if something happens to your high value items and you're not covered, you have to pay to replace or repair them yourself.

Generally, a high value item is worth more than £1,000. If you want your insurance policy to cover an item over £1,000 you need to add it as a separate item on your contents insurance policy.

When you get a home insurance quote with us, we'll ask you "Do you want to insure any other items worth over £1,000 each?" We'll also ask you for:

  • The kind of item you want to insure. For example, jewellery, engagement rings, a work of art, or a musical instrument.
  • A brief description of the item. For example, 'Gibson Les Paul guitar' or 'Sky Glass 65 inch Smart TV'.
  • The value of the item to the nearest £.
  • Whether you want to include cover away from your home. This is also called personal possessions cover.

We'll factor these items in when we compare home insurance quotes for you.

If you're looking to insure laptops and bicycles worth over £150, we ask about these separately when you get a home insurance quote. But we'll ask for the same information as with other high-value items.

What is a single item limit?

A single item limit is the maximum amount your insurer pays out for any one of your possessions. Most insurance companies set this at £1,000, but it's worth checking before you buy your policy. When you compare home insurance quotes with us, our single item limit is £1,000.

Let's say you have £40,000 worth of contents that you want to cover, and the insurance company has a single item limit of £1,000. You also own 2 guitars - one is worth £800 and the other is worth £1,200.

The £800 guitar is covered as part of the £40,000 total contents. You need to list the £1,200 guitar on the policy. If you don't, you can only claim for it up to the value of the single item limit.

If you need help working out the total value of your home contents, you can use our contents calculator.

We looked at over 1 million home insurance quotes that had high-value items listed on the policy. Here are the top 10 most common high value items and their average value**:

High value item % of quotes with high value items Average value
Musical instruments
Photographic equipment
Mobile phones
Hearing aids

If you add a high value item as part of your contents insurance policy, you should have the same level of cover that you have for the rest of your contents. This covers things like:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Storm damage
  • Flooding

For an additional cost, you can cover these items for accidental damage as well as if they're damaged or stolen outside the home.

What our home & lifestyle insurance expert says

"When you're looking to cover single items of high value, it's important to consider personal possessions cover. This covers your items if they're lost, stolen or damaged outside the home. Many of these high value possessions - jewellery, laptops and watches - are designed to be portable. This increases the risk of something happening to them outside your home. Personal possessions cover helps with this risk."

No - high value contents insurance is different to jewellery insurance, although they do more or less the same thing. Your standard contents insurance policy should cover any expensive items of jewellery you have, even those above the single item limit.

Jewellery insurance is a specialist policy that gives you additional benefits such as:

  • Automatic cover for items below a certain value
  • Cover for any loss in value after a repair
  • Cover for pairs and sets

This depends on how many items you have and what they're used for.

If you own an expensive watch or TV, your home insurance policy should cover it. But if you own a large collection of expensive jewellery, or specialist sports equipment, consider a dedicated insurance policy.

Specialist cover might give you additional benefits such as:

  • Worldwide cover
  • Increased single item limit
  • Automatic updates to your policy as the value of the item changes

Yes, if you have a coin, medal or stamp collection worth over £1,000, you can list the entire collection as a high value item when you get a quote with us.

Apart from these specific examples, you can't usually insure a collection on a standard contents insurance policy. If there are individual high value items within your collection that are worth over £1,000, you can add those separately.

Instead, you could just increase the total value of your contents by the right amount.

If you have a particular collection that requires specialist knowledge - for example, comic books - you can look for specialist collectible insurance providers.

Let's say you bought something for more than £1,000 a few years ago. You'd likely get less than £1,000 if you sold it today, so you should list the item for what it's worth now. Since it's worth below the 'single item limit', it should still be covered as part of your overall contents cover.

If you're unsure or have concerns about it, speak to your insurer.

Compare home insurance quotes

** Confused.com data October 2022 - September 2023.

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