Insurance cover for your personal possessions

Home contents insurance covers your possessions you keep at home. But it’s also a good idea to arrange cover for all those valuable items you carry around with you when you’re out and about. Find out everything you need to know with our guide to personal possessions insurance.

Home contents insurance covers your possessions you keep at home. But it’s also a good idea to arrange cover for all those valuable items you carry around with you when you’re out and about. Find out everything you need to know with our guide to personal possessions insurance.

Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
minute read
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Last Updated 27 SEPTEMBER 2022

What is personal possessions cover?

Chances are some of your most expensive possessions are the things you carry around with you day in, day out. You might not leave the house in the morning without your wallet, phone and maybe a laptop or tablet too. Then there’s any jewellery you wear every day, like an engagement ring or expensive watch.

However, while you might assume these valuables are covered by your home contents insurance if they get lost, damaged or stolen when you’re out and about, that’s not always the case. Some contents policies include cover for personal possessions away from home as standard – but others only offer it as an optional extra.

To find out whether you’re covered for personal possessions away from home, check your policy documents or call your insurance provider. If you’re not, you can ask your insurance provider to add it on. You’ll have to pay extra for the cover, but if you’re potentially carrying hundreds of pounds worth of valuables around with you, it could be a sensible move.

What will personal possessions insurance cover me for?

Personal possessions insurance covers you for those items you carry around with you when you’re not at home. This usually includes (but is not limited to):

  • phones
  • watches
  • jewellery
  • laptops
  • wallets, purses and handbags
  • cash, up to a set limit
  • sports equipment
  • clothing
  • musical instruments
  • cameras

What doesn’t personal possessions insurance cover?

It’s also important to know what personal possessions insurance doesn’t cover. Common exclusions are likely to include:

  • damage to camping gear while it’s being used outdoors
  • damage to sporting equipment when it’s being used
  • items stolen while on public display in a vehicle, even if it’s locked
  • possessions left unattended in public places,for example your mobile phone while you’re at the bar in a pub
  • bicycles, which may have to be added separately to a policy, so always check
  • business equipment, like company laptops or tools
  • damage caused by wear and tear

It’s also worth noting that insurance providers usually set a single article limit. This is the maximum that you can claim for any one item. For example, if your watch is worth £2,000 and your single article limit is £1,500, your watch won’t be insured for its full value. If you have items that are worth more than the single item limit, you can add them separately to the policy.

What should I consider when arranging personal belongings insurance?

Here’s a few things to bear in mind when you’re considering personal possessions insurance:

  • Don’t double up. Make sure you haven’t already got cover for items like your phone or laptop. You might have protection from your bank account or the retailer itself. There’s no benefit to having items covered by more than one plan as you won’t be able to claim twice.
  • Will your belongings be covered abroad? Even if you’re covered by your contents or possessions insurance for personal items lost abroad, there will be conditions. Often there are time limits on cover abroad, and your policy may only offer cover in Europe, for example. You may need to get additional cover for your belongings under a separate travel insurance policy.
  • Think carefully about the kinds of things you take out with you regularly and how much they’re worth, to make sure they’re all covered in full.
  • Check any crucial items you want to protect aren’t excluded from your policy, for example bikes or mobile phones.
  • Always check your policy’s single article limit. You might have to pay a little extra to make sure more valuable items are protected by listing them separately.
  • Think carefully about how much excess you’ll have to pay to replace a lost or stolen item. Although you can usually reduce the cost of your insurance by agreeing to a higher excess, it may not be worth it if the excess is almost as high as the cost of replacing the item yourself.

How do I get a good deal on personal possessions insurance?

For many people, personal possessions cover could offer valuable additional protection and it could be a good idea to include it in your contents insurance, if you don’t have it already. To find a policy that’s right for you, compare prices and cover levels with us.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need possessions insurance while I’m away at university?

If you’re living away from home, your possessions could be covered by your parents’ home contents policy. If not, they might be able to add on cover for an extra cost.

If you’re living in halls of residence, your accommodation provider might offer contents insurance. You’ll need to check what it covers, though, as it might not include your possessions while you’re out and about.

If my possessions are with someone else, are they still covered?

It depends on your policy. Check whether your provider offers cover for situations like:

  • lending a valuable item, like a laptop or piece of jewellery, to a friend or family member
  • sending personal belongings for repair
  • temporarily storing items somewhere other than your home
  • moving house and having items stored and transported by a removal company.

Will my personal belongings be covered when I’m abroad?

Some possessions cover will protect your belongings when you take them abroad, but other policies will only cover them while you’re in the UK.

Check your policy before you go and if your belongings aren’t covered, make sure they are by your travel insurance policy. When you’re comparing travel insurance policies, check how much cover is provided for personal belongings and how much excess you’ll have to pay to replace them.

Can I buy standalone personal possessions insurance?

Cover for your personal possessions outside your home – also called away from home cover – is either included as part of your home contents insurance or available as an add-on to your policy.

If you compare contents insurance with us, we’ll ask if you have any valuable items that need adding to your policy and if you want to include cover for your personal possessions when you’re away from home.

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