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Personal possessions insurance

Home contents insurance covers your possessions you keep at home. But what about the valuable items you carry around with you when you’re out and about? Is extra cover necessary? Find out everything you need to know about personal possessions insurance.

Home contents insurance covers your possessions you keep at home. But what about the valuable items you carry around with you when you’re out and about? Is extra cover necessary? Find out everything you need to know about personal possessions insurance.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
11 AUGUST 2023
4 min read
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What is personal possessions insurance?

Also known as personal belongings insurance, personal possessions cover protects your valuables when you’re out and about.

Chances are you carry around some of your most expensive possessions 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.

While you might assume these valuables are covered by your home contents insurance if they get lost, damaged or stolen when you’re away from home, that’s not always the case. Most providers offer personal possessions cover as an optional add-on to your contents insurance for an additional cost.

What will personal possessions insurance cover me for?

Personal possessions insurance covers items you carry around with you or wear when you’re not at home. This usually includes (but isn’t limited to):

  • Phones
  • Watches
  • Jewellery
  • Laptops
  • Wallets, purses and handbags
  • Cash, up to a set limit
  • Sports equipment
  • Clothing
  • Musical instruments
  • Cameras.

What isn’t covered by personal possessions insurance?

There are some instances when you won’t be able to make a claim on your personal possessions 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, if you leave your mobile phone on the bar in a pub
  • Bicycles, which may have to be added separately to a home insurance policy
  • Business equipment, like company laptops or tools
  • Damage caused by wear and tear.

Not all personal possessions policies cover gadgets and electronic devices. You may need separate gadget insurance for these instead.

How much cover do I need for my personal possessions?

To work out how much personal possessions insurance you need, add up the value of the items you want to protect.

For example, if you regularly leave home with a ring worth £1,000, a £200 bag, a phone worth £500 and a £300 coat, you’ll need to take out a personal possessions policy with cover for at least £2,000.

It’s also worth noting that insurance providers usually set a single-item limit for valuables insurance. 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’ll need to list them separately on your contents insurance and say you want them covered outside of the home.

What should I consider when arranging personal belongings insurance?

Here’s what to bear in mind when you’re looking for insurance for personal items:

  • Don’t double up. Check you haven’t already got cover for items like your phone or laptop. There’s no benefit to having items covered by more than one policy as you won’t be able to claim twice.
  • Will your belongings be covered abroad?
  • Check any 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 protect more valuable items by listing them separately.
  • Think carefully about how much excess you’ll have to pay towards a claim 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 items insurance offers valuable additional protection. 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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Frequently asked questions

Do I need personal contents 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?

Check your policy to see if 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 policies cover your belongings when you take them abroad, but others cover them only when you’re in the UK.

If you are covered abroad, there are often limits on how long you’re covered for and your policy may only offer cover in Europe, for example. You may need additional cover for your belongings under a separate 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 if you make a claim.

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.

Are other family members covered by my personal possessions insurance?

If you have personal possessions insurance, any family member who lives with you on a permanent basis should also be covered. Just be aware that there may be cover limitations for under-16s.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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