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How much contents insurance do I need?

Working out how much your possessions are worth is vital to get the right amount of contents insurance. But it can still be a bit of a headache to know exactly what counts and where you're meant to start. Here's how you do it without any fuss.

Person looking over content insurance documents


How much contents cover do I need for my home?

To get the right amount of contents cover, you need to estimate the total cost of all your possessions.

Without contents insurance, if your home was flooded or you lost everything in a fire, you'd face an enormous bill trying to replace these items.

If you undervalue your contents, your insurer might not pay all of the claim as you won’t have paid enough for your cover. Overestimate and you could end up paying more than you need for your contents insurance.

You can avoid under or over estimating by not attempting to guess the cover needed for your contents.

For example, don't assume that £50,000 is enough to cover your contents without properly valuing each item in your home. You might be surprised at how quickly it all adds up.


How do I estimate the value of my home contents?

To estimate how much your contents are worth, you need to include everything in your house that isn’t part of its structure.

Think about if you suddenly had to move house. Everything that you would take with you should be included in your contents insurance policy.

Follow these steps to make sure you don't miss anything out, and get an accurate estimate of the value of your home contents:

1. Room-by-room breakdown for your contents

A helpful way to estimate the value of your contents is to write a list of all your contents by going from room to room.

Here's a breakdown on what might be valuable in each room of your home:

Living room

  • Furniture including sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and bookcases
  • Soft furnishings like cushions, carpets, rugs, curtains and blinds
  • TV, TV stand, games consoles, music systems, speakers, cables and chargers
  • Books, DVDs, video games, CDs
  • Mirrors, pictures and ornaments
  • Lamps and other lights

Remember to check in drawers and the sideboard too, if you have them.

Dining room

  • Furniture including the dining table and chairs, and perhaps a side table or display cabinet
  • Bookcases and shelving
  • Carpets, curtains and blinds
  • Pictures, ornaments, photos and frames
  • Drinks cabinet and bottles
  • Glasses and tableware


  • Hob, oven, fridge-freezer, washing machine and dishwasher
  • Food processors, electric whisks, smoothie makers and sandwich toasters
  • Saucepans, cutlery and crockery
  • Tabletop appliances including the microwave, toaster and kettle
  • The value of food in your fridge or freezer - keep a receipt for a typical month’s grocery shopping


  • Jewellery and heirlooms
  • Art hanging on the walls
  • Bed linen, curtains, blinds and carpet
  • Beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers and bedside tables
  • Children's toys
  • Fitness equipment

If you live in shared accommodation, you can get a shared house contents insurance policy that covers only your bedroom and your own contents. Remember to include any furniture that's yours in a quote as well.


  • Bathroom cabinets
  • Towels
  • Toiletries, perfumes and aftershave

Loft and storage rooms

  • Luggage
  • Christmas trees and decorations
  • Heirlooms
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Sewing box
  • Iron and ironing board

Garden and shed

  • Garden furniture
  • Barbecues
  • Garden pots, ornaments, even koi carp in the pond
  • Lawn mowers, hedge trimmers and tools
  • Bicycles

Levels of garden cover vary so check what your contents insurance covers. For example, some don’t cover expensive ornaments if they’re outside the front door.

Likewise, others may insist that you secure your shed or outbuildings, using a padlock or other security measures. Especially if it’s possible to gain access to your garden from the road, alley or cut-though.

You might be required to chain bikes to a permanent structure for the same reason.

2. Calculate the value of individual items

The value of each item needs to be based on how much the item would cost if you paid for it today. That means, depending on the item, the cost is likely to be different than when you bought it several years ago.

Insurers tend to use a 'new for old' policy for contents. This is where they aim to replace damaged or lost items with a new like-for-like item of the same value.

If you’re unsure of the cost of any item in your house, search online at a typical retailer for a ballpark figure.

3. Make a note of any high-value items

Many policies have an upper limit for covering individual items. This is known as the single item limit.

So if something is worth more than £1,000, for example, it might need to be covered separately at additional cost.

High-value items include:

  • The TV
  • Rare books
  • Works of art
  • Jewellery

It also helps to take photos of any valuables. But store these images securely in the cloud, not just on your home computer as this is at risk of being stolen or damaged too.

4. Get up-to-date valuations of any jewellery and valuables

You should get expensive items, such as jewellery and valuables, updated every few years. Your insurer should be able to advise you on how often to do it, but every 3 to 4 years is usually advised.

This is because the price of valuables, and in particular precious metals, can go up and down in value. If you don't get your items revalued you may get a smaller amount of money paid out than you're expecting.

5. Add up the total value of your home contents

A helpful way to add up the total value of your contents is to use our contents calculator.

If you add the value of each item on the list and hit 'continue', the calculator will give you a rough idea of how much your contents are worth.

Once you know the value of your homes contents, you then know how much cover you need for your contents insurance.

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Why do I need to make accurate estimates of my home contents?

If you've over estimated the value of your contents, you could end up paying for a more expensive policy than you need.

And if you under estimate the value of your contents you may end up with less cover if you need to make a home insurance claim.

This is why it's important to make sure you properly work out the value when you buy your contents policy.


Should I update my contents insurance if I buy something new?

If you buy something particularly expensive and it makes a significant difference to the value of your home’s contents, it’s worth mentioning it. This is especially important if it exceeds the single item limit and needs insuring separately.

If you have a lot of high value items, you could consider getting specialist high value item insurance.

If there's a major life update that means a lot of new things in your house, you should update your policy. This includes:

  • Having someone move in with you
  • When you have a child