Insurance cover for your personal possessions

Home contents insurance includes cover for the items inside your home. But you may need to cover your personal possessions when you take them outside of your home. Here’s our guide to personal possessions insurance.

Home contents insurance includes cover for the items inside your home. But you may need to cover your personal possessions when you take them outside of your home. Here’s our guide to personal possessions insurance.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
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Posted 25 AUGUST 2021

What is personal possessions cover?

Often our most expensive possessions are the ones we carry around. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, jewellery, glasses, wallets and watches – there’s a lot that travels with us.

You might assume your home contents insurance will cover these items should they be lost, damaged or stolen when you’re out and about, but that’s not always the case. Some contents policies include personal possessions cover for when you’re outside the home as standard – but others don’t.

Check your policy schedule, which should list what cover is included. If you’re not covered, you can ask to add it on. With ‘away from home’ possessions insurance, your belongings will be covered for loss, damage or theft when you’re outside the home. You may need to pay extra, but it could be well worth it.

What will personal possessions insurance cover me for?

Personal possessions insurance covers you for those items you take out and about. 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?

Exclusions will often 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 any single item can be worth before you need to add it individually to the policy. For example, if your watch is worth £2,000 and your single article limit is £1,500, you’d need to add it individually to the policy to ensure it’s fully covered.

What should I consider when choosing personal belongings insurance?

Here’s a few things to bear in mind when comparing your personal possessions cover options:

  • Make sure you’re not doubling up on insurance. Do you already have cover for your mobile phone or laptop through other insurance providers, like your bank or the retailer itself? You can’t claim twice, so you’d just be paying double for the same thing
  • 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 as add-ons.
  • Think carefully about how much excess you’ll have to pay to replace a lost or stolen item. Although you can usually lower the cost of your monthly premiums by agreeing to a higher excess, it may not be worth it if you end up having to claim and the excess cost 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. 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 while studying at university, your personal belongings might not be covered by your parents’ home contents insurance. You should check (or ask your parents to check) their policy and speak to the insurance provider to make sure.

If you’re living in halls of residence, there may be some contents insurance already offered by your accommodation provider, but again you’ll need to check what’s in place and what it covers.

To make sure your personal belongings are protected while you’re away – both inside and outside your accommodation – ‘away from home’ possessions cover might be a good idea.

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

It depends on your policy. Some insurance providers will give you a bit of leeway, while others won’t cover items that either aren’t on your person or in your home.

If it’s not detailed on your policy, it’s best to give the provider a quick call to check you’ll still be covered in situations like:

  • lending a valuable item, like a laptop or piece of jewellery, to a friend or family member
  • sending off one of your personal belongings for repair
  • temporarily storing one of your items somewhere that’s not 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 on holiday, but others will only cover them while you’re in the UK. Check your policy before you go and if they’re not 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.

Even if you’re technically covered by your contents insurance, you might be better off including your possessions on your travel insurance. Claiming on your home insurance for personal items lost or stolen while travelling abroad could mean you end up paying higher premiums in the future, plus you may have to pay a significant excess.

Can I buy standalone personal possessions insurance?

Cover for your personal possessions outside your home – also called away from home cover – is normally 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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