What is business contents insurance?
Business contents insurance is a type of business insurance that can protect the possessions and equipment in your work premises. It’s also known as commercial contents or business assets insurance.
A typical business contents insurance policy will cover damage or loss to furniture, tools and equipment as a result of a fire, flood or theft. This type of cover is not mandatory under UK law.
When might I need business contents insurance?
If your business premises were to be flooded, destroyed or damaged in a fire, or broken into and vandalised and you had to replace everything inside, could you afford to? And if your equipment was damaged, would you be able to continue to operate? Perhaps you use expensive or specialist equipment that would be difficult to replace, or you keep a lot of stock on the premises? If so, business contents insurance could be right for you.
Accidents can happen at any time. Business contents insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to get back on track, should the worst happen.
If you’re trying to decide if you need business contents insurance, it’s worth adding up the value of your business assets to see what it would cost to replace them. Then you can weigh that up against the cost of insurance.
What does business contents insurance cover?
Typically, it covers you for damage or loss caused by fire, flooding/storm damage and theft to:
- fixtures and fittings - like your flooring, lighting or the equipment in your office kitchen
- furniture - like desks, chairs and shelves
- office equipment - such as computers, printers and modems
- manufacturing equipment and tools
- any staff or client belongings on the premises.
Business contents insurance may also cover stock or even cash left on the premises. Check the policy details carefully to make sure you’re getting an appropriate level of cover for your business needs.
Policies vary but, generally, business contents insurance won’t cover you for any damage caused by general wear or tear.
What should I look for when choosing a business contents insurance policy?
You could buy commercial contents insurance as standalone cover, but it may prove more cost-effective to purchase it alongside other types of commercial cover.
For example, if you own the premises, it might make sense to combine contents cover with business buildings insurance. Or you could find a comprehensive business insurance package that also covers public liability insurance, business interruption insurance and employers' liability insurance – which is a legal requirement if you employ someone.
When you’re comparing quotes, check the policy terms carefully to see if you’ll only be covered for the initial purchase price of your items – called indemnity contents insurance – or if your insurance will pay out for a new equivalent.
There’s normally a cap on the maximum amount your insurance will pay out per claim, so make sure it will cover you for large-scale loss, such as a flood. If you need to insure stock, check it’s included in the policy. Also, when estimating the amount of cover you need, remember to take into account busy times – Christmas, say, or just before a big delivery – when you might be holding more stock than usual.
The most important thing is to have an accurate idea of the value of your assets and stock, so you can ensure you have adequate cover. You don’t want to overpay for cover you don’t need, or underestimate and end up out of pocket.
Frequently asked questions
What if I work from home? Will my home contents insurance cover me?
Chances are you already have home contents insurance, but you’ll probably need to amend your policy so that it covers work-related tools and equipment if you work from home.
You’ll also need to tell your insurance provider you’re running a business from home. Not doing so could invalidate your policy. Call your insurance provider to see whether they can extend your home policy, or if you’ll need a separate one.
Do I need a specialised policy?
Maybe. Some policies are specialised to cover different industries, such as shops or surgeries. You may also need landlord insurance if you rent out a property.
Will business contents insurance cover stock and equipment in storage?
It’s unlikely that your business insurance will cover items stored away from your business premises or home. If you want to keep items like stock or tools in a storage facility, you may need to get a standalone policy that covers business contents storage.
Can I insure my business contents and stock on the move?
Most standard policies will cover specific items while they’re temporarily offsite – for example, if you’re taking products to an event or exhibition. They should also be covered if they are taken away for maintenance and cleaning or are in transit.
That said, many standard policies won’t cover items like laptops, gadgets and wearables when they’re away from your business premises. You may need to take out a standalone policy for handheld devices and portable equipment, or add ‘all risks’ cover to your business contents insurance. This would cover specific items that are regularly taken offsite. Some will even cover your portables if you take them abroad.
If you run a mobile business, contents insurance may work a little differently. If you’re always on the move, talk to your insurance provider to see if they can offer the right kind of cover for your needs.
Is it cheaper to combine my business buildings and contents insurance?
It might be. Some insurance providers offer a discount if you buy a combined policy through them. However, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of cover. It’s a good idea to compare combined policies with separate buildings and contents cover, to see which might offer better value for money.
Is business contents insurance tax deductible?
Yes, business contents should be an ‘allowable expense’. This means you can deduct it from your declared income when filling out your Self-assessment tax return.
How can I compare insurance quotes?
Start a quote with us and we’ll help you find the most competitive deals for the different types of business insurance you might need.
How much does business contents insurance cost?
The cost of business contents insurance depends on the value of the assets or contents you want to insure, and whether you want cover for the purchase price or a new equivalent. Your industry may also factor into the price – for example, if you want to insure specialist or high-value equipment.
Insurance providers will also consider your claims history and any ongoing disputes.
To find the right cover for your business needs, it’s a good idea to compare several quotes so you can find cover at a price that works for you.Start a quote
What do I need to get a quote?
To start comparing quotes for business contents insurance we’ll need to know a few details about your business, like where you trade, what industry you work in and whether you have any ongoing claims.
Most importantly, we’ll need to know what level of cover you’re looking for. This means you’ll need to tell us the value of the contents and assets you want to insure.
We’ll also need a few personal details from you, unless you’ve compared with us before, in which case we’ll fill those in for you.Start a quote
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Business insurance expert
“Storms and flooding, in particular, seem to be hitting our headlines with increasing regularity. Business contents insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to get back on your feet if the worst happens and your business equipment, furniture or stock is damaged, lost or stolen.”