Contents Insurance

Contents insurance generally covers anything that isn’t a fixed feature of your home, or to put it another way – the things you take with you when you move.

So, a standard contents insurance policy should cover the following items;

  • Household goods and appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions and computers
  • Furniture and furnishings such as beds, sofas, curtains and carpets
  • Valuables such as jewellery, watches, mobile phones, cameras and works of art
  • Personal belongings such as clothes, shoes and bags.

The ‘sum insured’ is the maximum amount your policy will pay out if the contents of your home are completely destroyed, so it is important to get the figure right. Claims for lower amounts could also be restricted on a pro-rata basis if you’re under insured too. Unfortunately, many of us get it wrong. Experts estimate that one in five households could be underinsured because they do not know the true value of their home contents.

It can help to go through your home room by room and make an inventory of your possessions – they will probably add up to more than you think. Don’t forget to include items that are in the loft or stored outside in the garden and shed.

Some insurers calculate the sum insured according to the number of rooms in your home. It means you don’t have to worry about working out the value of your possessions, but premiums can be higher – and of course the sum insured could still be inadequate.

There are usually limits on the amount that insurers will pay out for high value items, such as works of art, jewellery and some expensive electrical equipment. You should always check the limits and apply for a higher level of cover, if necessary.

Make sure the sum insured is kept up to date. Your insurer might link the policy to inflation but you would need to contact the firm if you splash out on a particularly valuable item. Some policies are flexible and increase the level of cover at Christmas when you might have expensive gifts in the house. You might also need to check that your contents insurance is adequate to cover any generous wedding gifts if you have just got married.
top
Most insurers will also give you the option to arrange additional cover against one of more of the following:

  • Accidental Damage cover – the definition of accidental damage is pretty uniform across home insurance policies: damage that occurs suddenly as a result of an unexpected and non-deliberate external action. In layman’s terms, that usually means an unintentional one-off incident that harms your property. For example, spilling paint on your carpet, damaging an ornament or dropping your laptop.
  • Personal Possessions cover – everyday items that you carry with you – like jewellery, mobile phones and laptops – are easily lost or broken, and expensive to replace. Personal possessions cover extends your home contents insurance to cover your belongings outside of the home and, in some cases, anywhere in the world.
  • Legal Expenses cover – this covers the cost of legal proceedings if you need to bring action or defend a claim. It typically covers the legal expenses incurred in most personal injury, consumer, property and employment disputes.
  • Home Emergency cover – this covers the cost of emergency repairs which wouldn’t normally be covered by your home insurance. It ensures you can act quickly to do whatever is necessary to make your home safe and secure so that you can avoid further damage. Insurers generally cover the following; failure of or damage to plumbing and drainage, complete failure of the electricity supply within the home, failure of or damage to external locks, external doors or external windows and complete or partial breakdown of the central heating system.