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Single item limit insurance

When insurance providers refer to a ‘single item limit’, what do they mean? And what effect does it have on your insurance? Here’s everything you need to know about your single item limit.

When insurance providers refer to a ‘single item limit’, what do they mean? And what effect does it have on your insurance? Here’s everything you need to know about your single item limit.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
23 DECEMBER 2022
5 min read
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What is a single item limit?

A single item limit – sometimes called a single article limit – is the maximum you can claim on your contents insurance for any one item that’s damaged or stolen. So, if your single item limit is £2,000 and you have an engagement ring worth more than that, for example, you won’t have adequate cover to replace it to its full value if it’s damaged or stolen.

How much is a single item limit?

The single item limit is typically around £1,500, but could be lower or higher depending on your insurance provider At Comparethemarket, we ask you to individually add any valuables worth more than £1,500 to your quote to ensure they’re covered.

What about valuables worth more than my single item limit?

If you have belongings worth more than the single item limit, you’ll need to inform your insurance provider so the items can be listed individually on your policy and insured to their full value. You can do this when you complete a quote for contents insurance.

If you don’t declare these high-value items, you run the risk of being underinsured should something happen. It’s also worth knowing that most insurance providers will expect to see a recent valuation certificate or receipt as proof of value if you make a claim for an item listed individually on your contents insurance.

Did you know?

Thinking of tying the knot? Then make sure your engagement ring is properly covered. According to research, in 2022, the average cost of an engagement ring in the UK was around £2,100. Check the single item limit on your policy as you may need to list your engagement ring separately.

Is there a maximum limit for valuables?

Yes, although it can vary among insurance providers. The limit for your valuable items will either be a percentage of the total contents value, say 30%, or an actual amount like £20,000.

The valuables limit isn’t the same as a single item limit. It’s a maximum amount for the combined total of your high-risk items. Some items that are considered high-risk for insurance purposes might not individually be worth more than the single item limit. Any that are, should be listed separately on your policy to ensure they’re properly covered for their full value.

What about items I take out and about?

Items that you take with you when you leave the house, such as watches, phones and tablets, are considered higher risk.

Personal possessions insurance will cover your personal belongings when you’re out and about. Some contents insurance policies include personal possessions cover as standard, while others won’t. Check your policy documents to see what cover you have. If you’re not covered, you can usually add personal possessions insurance to your existing contents insurance for an additional cost.

How do I value my home contents?

Most of us accumulate our contents over time, often years. So how do you figure out how much everything’s worth for insurance purposes? Here’s a few pointers:

  • Go into all of your rooms and make a list of everything you own
  • Estimate the value of each item
  • For high-value belongings like jewellery or artwork, seek professional valuations
  • Add up your total.

If you’re still unsure, read our guide on how to value your home contents.

What if I don’t know how much my contents are worth?

If you’ve inherited or been gifted certain possessions – or you bought them a long time ago – it’s worth having them professionally valued. Specialist jewellers and antique dealers can do this for you. Or you can find someone through the Institute of Registered Valuers.

Without knowing how much your belongings are worth, there’s a risk that you’ll end up paying more than you need for your contents insurance. Or that you’ll be underinsured when you come to make a claim. And if your insurance provider suspects that you’ve deliberately underestimated the value of your contents, they could refuse to pay out or reduce the amount they’re willing to pay.

Is getting my jewellery valued worth the expense?

The value of silver and gold changes over time, depending on interest rates, currency markets and other economic factors. This means that items of jewellery you bought 20 years ago might be worth a lot more now. Getting them valued will give you the peace of mind that you’ll be fully insured should something happen.

Author image Helen Phipps

What our expert says...

"Households should be careful not to underestimate the value of any expensive single items, such as jewellery or a big-screen smart TV. Most contents policies will have a maximum amount paid out for any one item. It’s often around £1,500, but could be lower or higher depending on the insurer.

High inflation means some possessions may now be worth more than the single item limit, so the policy will only partially cover the cost of a replacement. It’s worth checking with your provider if you have any questions about what your policy covers."

- Helen Phipps, Insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

What is a high-risk item?

Insurance providers typically define a high-risk item as something that’s particularly attractive to thieves. This could be because it’s valuable or small and easier to steal.

High-risk items could include:

Some possessions don’t need to be worth more than the single item limit to be considered a high-risk item for insurance purposes.

Will items above the single item limit increase my premiums?

Yes, if you add items that exceed the single item limit, it will most likely push up the price of your premium. Items listed above the single item limit will usually need to be insured at an extra cost.

What happens if I don’t list an item and I make a claim?

If you don’t list an item worth more than the single item limit, you won’t get back its full value if you make a claim.

Let’s say you have a ring worth £2,000 but your single item limit is £1,500. If your ring is lost or stolen, the maximum you can claim is £1,500. So, that’s £500 short of the true value of your ring.

You may be charged a little extra to cover an item that exceeds the single item limit, but at least you’ll know it’s covered for its full value should something happen to it.

Can I insure a single item?

If you have a particularly valuable item, you may want to consider separate specialist insurance. For example, if you have a piece of artwork that’s worth £50,000 but your valuables limit is £20,000, then your standard contents insurance policy won’t be enough to cover it. In this case, you’d be well advised to seek out a specialist standalone policy for your piece of art.

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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