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Cover for high value items explained

Have you been gifted a precious family heirloom, or had an influx of gadgets over Christmas? Your standard home insurance policy might not provide enough cover for these items, should something happen to them.

There can be some confusion about how you go about making sure they're covered, what the rules are, and what counts as a valuable item. We're here to help.

A box with high value items


What is high value insurance?

Most contents insurance policies have a 'single item limit'. This means that, under the normal policy terms, you're not covered for the full amount of anything over that limit.

If you’ve got any items whose value exceeds the single item limit, you need to tell your insurance company to ensure they’re covered.

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What are high value home contents?

Typically, a high value item is any single item that's worth over £1,000. You might expect this to include things like bicycles and laptops, but it also covers a wide range of items such as jewellery, antiques and sports equipment.

Note: When you get a contents insurance quote with Confused.com, bicycles and laptops over £150 are listed separately.


How can I insure high value items?

Most insurers should ask you to list any single items you have that are over this amount. This is likely to increase your home insurance costs – high value items usually mean higher value claims and are a more tempting target for thieves.

How much extra you might need to pay depends on the value of the items.

But at least you should have peace of mind knowing that you have the right level of cover in place.


Is jewellery insurance the same as high value insurance?

High value home insurance should cover any expensive items of jewellery you have. However, if the value of your pieces exceeds the maximum limit under your policy, or you have multiple pieces of expensive jewellery, you might need specialist jewellery insurance.

Before agreeing to insure expensive items of jewellery, your home insurance provider might insist that it’s stored in a wall-mounted safe if not being worn. You might also wish to extend your home insurance to ensure your jewellery is also covered when you’re wearing it away from home and for accidental damage.


What are my high value items covered for?

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:

You can cover these items for accidental damage as well as if they're damaged or stolen outside the home. Naturally, this tends to come at an additional cost.


Can I insure a collection?

Note: If you have a coin, medal or stamp collection worth over £1,000, you can list it as a high value item when you get a quote with Confused.com.

Unless there are individual high value items within your collection that are worth over £1,000, you can't usually insure a collection on a standard contents insurance policy.

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

Some specialist insurers might offer cover for collections, but you'd need to check with them directly.


How to value the contents of your home 

When you apply for your home insurance, the insurer usually wants the total value of all your contents. The easiest way to do this is to literally go from room to room totting everything up.

The value you need to note for each item would be the cost of replacing it today. This could be a helpful exercise as it should also highlight any items you might have that are of high value and likely exceed your policy’s single item limit. 

Your sum insured doesn’t have to be spot on. But it does need to be in the right ballpark, otherwise you risk underinsuring your content, which could reduce any payment when you come to claim.

If you need help working out your contents value, check out our contents calculator.

For high value items it’s worth keeping receipts, or valuation certificates in the case of expensive jewellery, to avoid problems should you need to claim.


Depreciation and high value items

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, should you still put it down as a high value item?

In cases like these, go with the item for what it's worth now. Since its worth is 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, have a chat with your insurer.


How do I claim for a high value item?

If you need to make a claim on one of your high value items, you can do so by speaking directly with your insurer's claims department.

They might ask for:

  • Proof or purchase eg a receipt or online invoice
  • Any valuation documents.

Otherwise, it's the same as making a claim on the regular part of your policy. For more info, check out our guide on how to claim on your home insurance.


Where do people hide their most prized possessions?

An infographic showing where people keep their prizes possessions in the house


What can I do to protect my high value items?

Add high value items to your policy as soon as you get them. If you're given an expensive family heirloom as a Christmas gift, don't wait until your next renewal to add it to the policy.

Take photos of any of the items you've listed. This should help the police recover it if it's stolen, or help to get it restored if it's broken.

Register and mark your bicycles and gadgets with Immobilise to help police track down your item if it's stolen.

Keep your original receipts – you might need these when you come to make a claim.

If it's an older item without a receipt, you could have it valued instead. Keep your valuation certificate safe as you might need it when you make a claim.

And make sure that your home security is top notch to reduce the risk of burglary.