What’s considered a high-risk item for contents insurance?

Chances are you own what insurance providers would consider high-risk items. So, what can you do to make sure they’re protected? 

Chances are you own what insurance providers would consider high-risk items. So, what can you do to make sure they’re protected? 

Chris King
Home insurance expert
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Posted 19 APRIL 2021

I own high-risk items – what actions should I be taking?

Do an inventory of your high-risk items. Make a list of all your valuable possessions and note how much they’re worth, taking pictures of them too wouldn’t hurt. Remember, their value won’t necessarily reflect what you paid for them. Some items, such as your engagement ring, may have increased in value. Others, like your TV, may have dropped.

The key question is: how much would it cost to replace the item in today’s market? You may be asked to provide documentary proof of the item’s value, and perhaps proof of purchase as well.  

Generally, people vastly underestimate the value of their home’s contents. The average value of the household contents of a family of four is £55,000, yet average estimates come in much lower.

How do insurance providers define high-risk items?

When it comes to home contents insurance policies, your insurance provider will usually define a high-risk item as one that is small, valuable and therefore can be easily stolen.

Can you give me some examples of high-risk items?

  • antiques
  • art
  • electronics – this includes smartphones, laptops, tablets, TV, computers, cameras, and audio-visual equipment
  • engagement rings and other jewellery
  • furs and other expensive clothing
  • musical instruments
  • stamp, coin and medal collections
  • watches and clocks
  • most other things considered rare or collectable 

What cover do insurance providers typically offer on high-risk items?

You'll usually be asked to say what the total value of your high-risk items is or maybe be asked what percentage of your contents they make up. For example, if your sum insured is £30,000 and you have £6,000 of high risk items, 20% of your contents are made up of high risk items.  

You might also find that your insurance provider has a single-item limit in place. This might be £1,500 or £2,000, which won’t be much use to you if you lose a piece of jewellery worth £3,000.  

The cover you get for your high-risk items depends on the policy you buy. You’ll usually be covered for standard events, like fire, theft and storm damage, under most policies. You can then choose to add extra cover like accidental damage if you want your high-risk items to be covered against any mishaps.

How do I work out how much insurance cover I need?

Think about how much you stand to lose in the event of a burglary or fire and insure your high-risk possessions accordingly. If you have any particularly valuable high-risk items, you may need to add them individually to your home insurance policy. At Compare the Market, we'll ask you to enter any individual high-risk items worth more than £1,500 to your quote.

It’s important that you read the policy’s small print before you decide to buy. An insurance provider may offer the cheapest headline price, but can they provide the cover you need for your high-risk items?

What else do I need to look out for?

Watch out for exclusions and special conditions, which are another reason to read the small print on your policy. Ask yourself:  

  • does the policy cover high-risk items stolen outside the home? Many high-risk items, such as phones, laptops and jewellery, are those you carry around. This cover is known as “personal possessions” and we’ll ask you if you want to add the cover when getting a quote through Compare the Market
  •  does the policy cover the data stored on electronics? Your policy may cover the cost of replacing your laptop, but what about the software, downloads and other digital information on it? 
  • most policies don’t cover a thief’s usage, so if someone steals your phone and racks up a huge bill, you may be responsible for paying it

  • you won’t normally be covered when electronic equipment breaks down 

We try to take the hassle out of finding the right insurance policy. Just tell us a bit about yourself and the level of cover you require and we’ll provide you with a list of home insurance quotes to suit your needs. So, get comparing and see if you could save.

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