Contents insurance covers anything within your home that you can remove and take with you to another property, such as your clothes, furniture, white goods, and electronics. Carpets are also usually included. However, there are some exceptions to this so always check what’s included within the definition of ‘contents’ in your policy booklet. Contents insurance is different from buildings insurance which covers the structure of your home. Homeowners usually buy combined buildings and contents insurance.
Your insurance policy will typically cover your items against loss and theft or damage due to events such as fires and floods. If you damage an item such as a sofa, it might not be included in your contents insurance. Sofas often come under accidental damage cover which can be added onto your contents insurance policy as an extra if it’s not already included.
What types of contents insurance can I get?
There are two types of contents insurance cover, old for new and indemnity cover:
Old for new– no matter how old an item is, if it’s stolen or damaged you will receive a new replacement. If the item being replaced is no longer available you will be paid enough to replace it with a brand new version. This tends to be more pricey but it will give you a better result if you needed to make a claim.
Indemnity cover– you will only ever receive the current value of your item. For example, if your sofa needs to be replaced and it cost you £2,000 new you will only get what it is worth now which might only be £200. This is usually the cheaper option however it can prove to be a false economy.
If you want to compare contents insurance, you should consider both of these options and decide which one is best for you. Don’t just take a look at the cost of the policy, cheap contents insurance isn’t necessarily the best contents insurance. You need to consider how much excess you will be paying (this is the amount of money you need to pay upfront towards a claim). Before purchasing a policy, we also encourage you to read contents insurance reviews to see how different insurers handle contents insurance claims.
Do I need contents insurance if I’m a landlord or renting?
If you’re renting your home, you are solely responsible for your own personal contents. Your landlord is responsible for the building and should have a buildings insurance policy in place to cover the structure and any permanent fixtures. If you’re a landlord and have a property which you rent, you may want to take out contents insurance if your property is part or fully furnished.
How much is contents insurance?
On average house contents insurance costs £60 per year. This depends on many external factors including:
Property location– if your contents are in a house located in an area with a high crime rate, you may find your policy costs to be higher than average
High-value items – the more high-value items you add to your policy, the higher your premium will be
Property security – you can bring your premium cost down if you install more security measures
Past claims– if you have claimed previously for lost or damaged belongings you may find your premium will be higher
No claims– similarly to car insurance, the more no claims years you have can bring your policy cost down
Things to consider
Have an accurate valuation Walk through your home and make a list of the contents and the cost to replace each item. It’s key to include all small and large items. Be as accurate as possible to make sure you’re not out of pocket if you need to claim. Make sure you don’t overvalue your items as you will end up with a higher premium cost.
High-risk items There are many high-value items in the home that can be easily stolen such as jewellery, watches, electricals, art, musical equipment and antiques. You should list these items to your insurer to make sure there’s suitable cover allocated to your policy as these items tend to be more expensive to replace.
Single item limit It’s common for insurers to have a limit to what a single item can be worth and what they would pay out for. This limit is usually between £1,000-£2,000. For example, if a watch was damaged in a flood and it was worth £2,500 you would only receive £2,000 meaning you would be £500 out of pocket. If you have high-value items that exceed your single item limit make sure your insurer is notified.
Personal possession cover We tend to take our most expensive items out of the house when we leave such as handbags, phones, tablets, wallets, sunglasses etc. Therefore it’s key to make sure these are insured as soon as you step out of the door. Most contents policies cover these as standard and often when you’re abroad (to certain countries and for a set time period). If it’s not included, it may be worth adding it on.
Bicycle cover Not all home insurance policies cover bikes as standard. If you have a bicycle, you need to ensure it’s covered against loss, theft or accidental damage while it’s in your shed, garage, garden or home. You can add Personal Possession Cover at an extra cost to cover your bike while you’re out and about.
Update your policy As and when you buy new items for your home, especially those that are a higher price, update your insurer.
What isn’t included in home contents insurance?
In general, your home contents insurance policy won’t cover wear and tear or electrical item that break down rather than being damaged. If you’ve insured your laptop have you covered the data stored? Some policies include cover for digital information so it’s worth checking. Most policies won’t cover a thief’s usage if your phone is stolen and they rack up a large bill, that will be your responsibility. Lastly, if a thief gains entrance to your home through an open door or window, it could void your insurance completely.
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