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Proof of purchase and contents insurance

If you’re claiming for an item on your contents insurance, you might need to send your insurance provider proof of purchase. Here’s how you can show how much an item cost.

If you’re claiming for an item on your contents insurance, you might need to send your insurance provider proof of purchase. Here’s how you can show how much an item cost.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
18 SEPTEMBER 2023
3 min read
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What is proof of purchase?

Proof of purchase is a receipt or other piece of evidence that confirms you bought something.

Do I need proof of purchase for a contents insurance claim?

If you want to make a claim on your contents insurance, some insurance providers will require you to provide receipts for (or photographs of) items that have been stolen or damaged.

You’ll find this information in your policy documents.

What counts as proof of purchase?

If you need to make a contents insurance claim, there are a few ways you can prove you bought something. These include a:

  • Receipt
  • Bank or credit card statement
  • Warranty or guarantee
  • Record in an app or online account
  • Photo
  • Valuation.

If you’re claiming for a piece of jewellery you haven’t had photographed or valued, it’s worth looking through your old photos. Is there a picture of you wearing the piece in question? For close-up pictures of wedding and engagement rings, dig out your wedding photos.

If the item’s an antique, or a smart TV, are there any photos of it in your home?

Your insurance provider can’t ask you for documents that wouldn’t reasonably be considered relevant. That’s considered unfair commercial practice, under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

How soon can I claim on contents insurance?

You should be able to claim as soon as your policy begins, but check with your insurance provider to be sure.

If you’ve had something of value stolen or damaged and want to claim, contact your insurance provider right away to get the ball rolling.

The amount of time it takes for your claim to be resolved can vary from a few weeks to up to a year, depending on the size of the claim and how complex it is.

How can I make the claims process easier?

Put together a file containing receipts, valuations and policy documents, along with photographs of any valuable items, and keep this somewhere safe. This makes it easy to access the information you’ll need to simplify the claims process.

You might also want to film a ‘video tour’ of your home on your phone, showing furniture and zooming in on high-value items.

For high-value jewellery that you want to add to your contents insurance, it’s a good idea to get a professional valuation. Contact the Institute of Registered Valuers to find a valuer in your area. 

Can I have cash instead of a replacement item?

Your insurance provider isn’t obliged to give you cash to replace a damaged or stolen item. They may give you a replacement instead or offer to repair the original.

What if I can’t provide proof of purchase?

If you can’t provide any proof of purchase, your insurance provider might give you a pay-out based on the typical cost of that item.

This may be a fair bit lower than what you paid, so it’s worth providing proof of purchase wherever possible.

What can I do if my insurance provider won’t pay out?

If your insurance provider refuses to pay your claim because you don’t have proof of purchase or you’re unhappy with the pay-out you receive, you could take your dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The Ombudsman can investigate on your behalf, but you’ll have to go through the insurance provider’s complaints procedure first.

Claiming on contents insurance tips

To help you make a claim on your contents insurance:

  • Make sure you’ve read your policy carefully
  • Have an insurance file where you keep policy documents
  • Keep evidence of high-value purchases, including receipts and photos
  • Have your insurance provider’s 24-hour contact number to hand
  • Always be honest.

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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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