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Personal possessions insurance: cover for outside the home

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If you have personal possessions insurance, anything you own worth less than £1,000 should be covered. You pay an extra fee for a personal belongings policy, but it covers your items when you take them out of the house.

Here we examine exactly what personal belongings insurance covers. From what’s included and excluded, to what happens if you’re a student or someone else has your belongings.

A pickpocket attempting to steal a wallet from someone in broad daylight

Personal possessions insurance covers items worth less than £1,000 against theft or damage when they're away from home.

It could come in handy if you have a valuable item like a mobile phone or a camera that you take outside with you often.

You can add this as a feature to a standard home insurance policy. The specifics of what you get could vary between insurance companies, so check the policy details before you commit.

It's important to know, you can't buy personal possessions cover on its own - the only way to get it is to add it onto a contents insurance policy.

As a broad definition, a personal possession is an item that you’d normally take with you outside your home.

This includes:

  • Jewellery
  • Watches
  • Antiques
  • Stamp and medal collections
  • Gadgets and tech equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Artwork
  • Furs

This isn’t an exhaustive list – if in doubt, get in touch with your insurer.

Items that are worth over £1,000 don’t usually come under this definition. Instead, you list them as a ‘high-value’ or a ‘listed’ item. This may include expensive items of jewellery or things like laptops and bicycles, which need to be listed separately.

There’s the potential for some overlap between the 2 types of insurance as they cover many of the same items.

The main difference between contents insurance and personal possessions cover is that personal possessions insurance covers items that you take outside the home. Contents insurance, on the other hand, is for items that get damaged, lost or stolen from inside the house itself.

Cover away from home protects your possessions once you step outside your front door. For example, if someone steals your wallet at the shops, or if your phone smashes on the ground while jogging.

Your home also includes your garden. So, if you lose or damage anything in your garden, you claim on your regular home insurance policy.

When you go out, make a note of everything you’re taking with you. If you tend to leave the house with a £500 watch and a £500 mobile phone, then the total amount of cover would be £1,000.

Include everything that you'd need to replace if it were lost or stolen. This includes your jewellery and any gadgets.

If you need a hand, you can use our contents calculator to help work this out. You will need to be accurate when entering the amount.

If you don’t have personal possessions insurance, you aren't covered when you’re out of the home unless you have a separate policy in place. You can buy standalone insurance policies for these items and there are several specialist policies for this. For example, you could have a policy for your mobile phone and another for any high-value items you own.

It’s always worth comparing the cost of these against adding personal possessions insurance to your contents policy.

The extent of your cover is likely to vary between insurance companies. Some might offer you worldwide coverage, while others might restrict you to the UK. Check your policy documents to be sure.

Your travel insurance should also cover your personal possessions up to a certain amount if you’re going on holiday. But again, you should check both policies to make sure you've got the right amount of cover for your items.

Depending on your policy, there might be a few exclusions. For example:

  • Any items that you use for business, that's not classed as working from home; like a professional camera – you might need a separate policy for these
  • Anything damaged through wear and tear
  • Items that are stolen after being left unattended
  • Items worth over £1,000 - we'll ask you to list these separately when you get a quote
  • Bicycles and laptops worth more than £150 - we'll ask you to list these separately

Not usually. You might need a dedicated student personal possessions insurance policy. This covers personal possessions that include student’s possessions when they’re away from home.

Not all insurers allow this. Some may offer to cover student possessions while they’re living away from home, but others might not.

For extra peace of mind, you could get a dedicated student contents insurance policy. This ensures that all your possessions are protected.

When you get a quote for personal possessions insurance you also have the chance to set the home insurance excess. This is the amount of money you have to pay if you made an insurance claim. On the whole the higher this is, the lower your insurance costs could be. But remember you need to be able to afford the excess if you do have to make a claim.

When you get a home insurance quote with us, we’ll ask you if you want to insure your possessions when away from home. This will be in the ‘Your Cover’ section, when you fill in the details about your home contents.

If you select ‘yes’, we’ll ask you how much cover you need. You can select between £500 and £12,500.

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