Proof of purchase and contents insurance

If you’re claiming for an item on your contents insurance, you might need to provide proof of purchase. Find out how you can show what an item cost with our guide.

If you’re claiming for an item on your contents insurance, you might need to provide proof of purchase. Find out how you can show what an item cost with our guide.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
21 OCTOBER 2022
4 min read
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Do I need proof of purchase to make a claim on my contents insurance?

Some insurance providers say that, in order to make a claim on your contents insurance, you’ll need to provide receipts for (or photographs of) any items that have been stolen or damaged.

You’ll find this information in your policy documents.

Likewise, if you’re insuring a high-value item, such as jewellery or art, your insurance provider might ask for an up-to-date valuation before agreeing to cover it.

This might all seem like a bit of a faff but it protects the insurance provider from policyholders claiming for more than an item is worth, or worse, something they didn’t even own.

What counts as proof of purchase?

A receipt is the most reliable form of proof. But if you haven’t kept hold of your receipts, there may be a record of the transaction on your bank or credit card statement. You might also be able to use a warranty or guarantee for an item. Or, if the item was bought online you could log into your account with the retailer in question for proof.

If the item was a gift or family heirloom, it’s unlikely that you’ll have a receipt for it. In these instances, it’s always best to take photos and/or have the item valued – in case you need to make a claim.

If it’s too late for that, take a look through your old photos. Is there a picture of you wearing the piece of jewellery in question? For close-up pictures of wedding and engagement rings, dig out your wedding photos. If it’s a priceless antique or a smart TV, are there any photos of it in your home?

It’s worth knowing that 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 can I make the claims process easier?

Put together a file that contains receipts, valuations and policy documents, as well as photographs of any valuable items and keep it somewhere safe. That way you’ll have access to all the information you need to make the claims process as easy as possible.

You might also want to film a ‘video tour’ of your home on your phone, showing all the furniture and zooming in on higher value items in each room.

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 instead give you a replacement or offer to repair the original.

What if I cannot provide proof of purchase?

If you can’t provide any proof of purchase, the good news is you won’t lose your cover altogether. Instead, your insurance provider might give you a payout based on the typical cost of that item.

This may be a fair bit lower than what you paid, though, so it’s always worth trying to provide 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 aren’t happy with the payout you receive, you could take your dispute to the Financial Ombudsman Service. It can investigate on your behalf, but you’ll have to go through the insurance provider’s complaints procedure first.

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