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Home contents insurance offers protection for your possessions if they’re stolen or damaged. While it isn’t compulsory, it will give you peace of mind to know you’re covered should the worst happen.

What’s covered by contents insurance?

Imagine you took your house, popped off the roof, flipped it upside down and shook it. Everything that falls out is generally what’s covered by your contents insurance.

There may be some exceptions to this rule, such as carpets, which some home contents policies might not cover. You’ll need to check the details of individual policies to be sure – look for the definition of contents in your policy booklet.

What protection does a typical contents insurance policy provide?

A typical home contents insurance policy will protect your possessions against loss or damage due to theft, fire, storms, water leaks and subsidence. Cover will vary from policy to policy, so always check the details.

Accidental damage, for example red wine spilt on a sofa or an iron mark on a carpet, isn’t typically included in contents insurance, but may be available as an optional add-on. Many insurance providers will also let you include additional cover options onto your policy to include for legal expenses and home emergency assistance.

Many insurance providers now offer a new for old policy, where items that are lost or damaged will be replaced based on their current market value. This can mean the TV you bought three years ago for £1,000 is now only worth £300, due to advances in technology. The replacement item would be of the same spec, , than the original one. On the flip side, items of jewellery, gold or collections can increase in value over time. It’s worth keeping track of the current market value of these items because if they exceed the limit set out by your policy, you may have to add them individually and some insurance providers require you to have a valuation certificate for expensive items.

How do I know how much my belongings are worth?

You need to work out how much it would cost you to replace all your possessions. It’s easy to underestimate, so don’t forget to include small, high-value items, such as jewellery, and remember to value older items at today’s replacement costs. On the other hand, you don’t want to overestimate as you may end up paying for cover that you don’t actually need.

Most policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it on the policy – this is commonly known as the single article limit. It’s a good idea to check what that limit is and make sure you detail anything that exceeds it (it’s often set at £1,500, but could be lower or higher depending on the provider).

Can I add new items to an existing contents insurance policy?

Most insurance providers will let you update your policy to include new high-value items, such as an expensive TV or gadget. The best way to do this is by getting in touch with your provider directly.

In addition, some providers will increase your cover before and after special events, such as a wedding or Christmas. Extra cover and cover levels will vary from policy to policy, so check the policy documents thoroughly.

How can I get a good deal on contents insurance?

If you own or rent your home, it makes good sense to cover your possessions with contents insurance. Use our comparison service and we’ll help you find a deal that’s right for you. Just enter your details and the level of cover you need, and we’ll give you a list of quotes from a range of insurance providers. Start comparing today