What is actually covered by your home contents insurance policy?

There are some popular myths about what protection home contents insurance provides. One is that there is no cover for an ‘Act of God’ (an event outside of human control, such as natural disasters) but the reality is that most insurance policies cover this. The term is not used in insurance policies at all.

While it’s true that policies can be wide-ranging, not every type of damage is included.


What's covered?

Your basic home contents insurance covers the items and possessions in your home that you could take with you if you moved house. It provides cover for the repair or replacement of items damaged by a range of different types of causes while they are inside your home –ranging from burglary to lightning strike, flood to vandalism.

Here’s what’s generally covered by most home contents policies. You may be surprised by how much cover is provided.

home insurance

These risks may be part of your standard cover:

  • Loss of food in a freezer
  • Replacing lost keys
  • Loss of money

Additional cover you typically have to pay extra for:

  • Accidental damage to all contents while in your home
  • Damage to personal items taken out of the house
  • Bicycles when you are out and about on them

There are a few things that won’t be covered by your home contents insurance in most cases

  • General wear and tear, maintenance, faulty workmanship, mechanical or electrical breakdown.
  • There can be restricted cover when the home is left empty over a certain period of time or is let to tenants.
  • Damage caused by pets.

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Weird and wonderful insurance claims for gadgets

More than £3.1 billion has been paid out on claims connected with gadgets in the UK in the past five years. It’s an incredible amount, but even more astounding are some of the claims.


Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Gadgets, particularly phones, are essential items for the young, and perhaps unsurprisingly, this age group makes the most claims.

Research has found that under 25s are more likely to lose or damage gadgets, while those over 65 are least likely to make a claim.

However, we ran a survey earlier this year to find out if you were covered and it seems many of us aren’t insuring our tech. We found that less than a third (29%) of you mobile phone owners actually have your devices insured. And tablets have even less cover, with less than 1 in 4 (23%) tablet owners currently insuring their gadget.

Read on to find out some weird and wonderful claims that different insurers have received.

Grandfathers get busy

There seems to be some grandfathers who are keen to buck the trend of the over 65 age group not making many claims. One claimed for a replacement laptop, after he held up his baby grandson for a friend to see during a Skype call, and the baby threw up across the computer.

Another melted a laptop keyboard with a hairdryer, causing nearly £250 of damage, after his young grandson poured a fizzy drink into it.

grandad and baby

Fantastic phone claims

Responding to a call-out from Rias Insurance for unusual insurance claims, a man replied on Twitter and recounted that while demonstrating how he claimed for dropping his phone in a pint… he dropped his new phone in his pint.

A skydiver was parachuting in the nude and dropped his phone while attempting to take a picture of himself, while a middle-aged woman in Nottingham claimed for a Nokia that she had accidentally baked in a Victoria sponge for her daughter's birthday.

Elsewhere, iPhones were dropped from a hot air balloon, used as a table tennis racket, accidentally buried in the garden, dropped in a food blender and lost while building a sand castle.

hearing aid

Mischievous pets

It’s calculated that on top of the love, food and medical assistance that owners provide, pets cost their owners over £3 billion in damage to homes every year.

One policyholder in Cornwall made a substantial claim for a hearing aid (top-of-the-range ones can be worth close to £2,000) after his dog had swallowed it instead of a treat. It wasn’t entirely the dog’s fault as the man had mistakenly put the device in his pocket along with dog biscuits.

Young, free and accident-prone

Unusual claims are not limited to the UK. Having just received a hoverboard (a self-balancing ‘scooter’) for Christmas, a 12-year-old boy in America plugged it into its charger for the first time and it immediately burst into flames. His parents claimed not only for the loss of the hoverboard but for the contents in the house, which burnt to the ground. But they discovered that the insurance for the house – which they rented – had expired.

In Canada, a man who accidentally flew an advanced drone in through the patio doors of his own house and into the screen of a large plasma TV made a successful claim, although many home insurers are now excluding drones from both contents and liability policies.

Protect your tech

So it may be a good idea to get cover in case you need to make a weird and wonderful claim for your gadgets (or even a standard one). Find out what you need to do and if your home contents insurance can help by having a look at our guide to gadget cover.

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