A simples guide

How does contents insurance work?

Home contents insurance covers the items you own against damage or theft inside your home and sometimes when you’re out and about too. But how does it work?

Well, it depends on your particular policy, so it’s important that you do your homework. Our price comparison service can help you make an informed choice and make sure you are properly covered.

Of course there are similarities between the policies, but there are some that are more comprehensive than others.


What does contents insurance cover?

Simply put, home contents insurance covers your personal possessions; from your cooker, TV and furniture right through to your jewellery, smartphone and clothes. In short anything that isn’t structural is covered by your home contents insurance and even money may be included.

You’re generally protected against the usual suspects of fire, flood and theft. Some policies also cover earthquake damage, which isn’t such a pressing concern in the UK.

If your possessions are damaged by a leak or fire, which essentially is still a structural issue covered by the Buildings insurance, then you can generally still call on your home contents insurer to cover the cost of the damage to the items.

Accidental damage may also be included, which will cover items in your home. Standard accidental damage covers things like non-portable home electronics, like if you knocked your TV off your stand, or breaking fixed glass in furniture. You can also increase this to extended accidental damage cover for things like spilling wine on a carpet or dropping your iPad.


How much am I covered for?

How much you’re covered for will completely depend on the terms of your policy. That is why you need to shop around and ensure that you have got the right policy for you. Typical contents policies will cover individual items for a set amount and the limit can often be as low as £1,500. So you may find that anything that is worth more than this limit may need to be listed as an additional item on your insurance (which may then affect the price you pay).You should talk to your insurer about your requirements, as they may need a receipt or a valuation certificate if you ever need to claim for expensive jewellery.

You may also have to take out extra cover if you want to take your expensive belongings out in public. Again, check the wording on your policy as you might find different rules apply when you’re out and about. You may need to take out a personal possessions extension (which is sometimes referred to as an all risks extension).

Even if you’re not parading them in public, if you have a number of high value items then you might find your policy simply doesn’t cover them all. The initial quote might look good, but check the small print as you might find yourself paying more to cover all your possessions if the total limit on the policy is insufficient.

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You also may have to pay more if your home is left unoccupied for any length of time, as it is more attractive to thieves and what may have been a small issue if the house was occupied is more likely to develop into an insurance claim if you’re not there to report any problems early.

And just in case you ever have to claim, it’s worth noting whether your insurance provider offers a ‘new for old’ policy. That means that if your goods are damaged beyond repair then with a few exceptions you will be given the money to replace them with new items rather than making a reduction for wear and tear and receiving the second hand value of the items.

As with any complex policy, you have to do your research and check the terms and conditions carefully before you buy. A home contents policy that might be perfect for a young single person might be woefully inadequate for the couple next door. So make full use of our price comparison service and find the right policy for you at a price that suits your pocket.