Contents insurance

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**50% of people could achieve a quote of £67.86 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a type of home insurance that could cover the cost of replacing your possessions in your home if they're stolen, destroyed or damaged. It can be bought as a standalone policy or with buildings insurance, as a combined home insurance policy.

What’s covered by contents insurance?

Home contents typically covers everything you’d take with you if you moved and also usually includes your carpets, as well as anything in your garage or other outbuildings, too. There may be some exceptions to this rule so you’ll need to check the details of individual policies to be sure – look for the definition of contents in your policy booklet. For some things, you’ll need to take out extra and specific cover, such as accidental damage or covering the food in your freezer.

Here are some examples of the things contents insurance can cover:

As for what your contents insurance will cover you against, you can expect:

  • Theft
  • Fire and water damage
  • Vandalism
  • Explosions
  • Storms
  • Lightning
  • Falling trees

What’s not covered by contents insurance?

The following aren’t typically covered by contents insurance:

  • General wear and tear, and maintenance
  • Accidental damage
  • Lost possessions
  • Theft through unforced entry e.g. leaving a door or window unlocked
  • Faulty workmanship
  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown
  • Damage caused by pets

What do I need to get a quote?

When you start a contents insurance quote with us, it’s a good idea to have some basic information about your property, including:

  • your current home or contents insurance policy documents
  • the value of your contents
  • details about any high-value items over £1,500
  • if you want to insure a bicycle worth £350 or more
  • the level of cover you need and any additional cover
  • how long it is since you’ve made a contents claim
  • what type of locks your property is fitted with and other property security details
  • personal information

We’ll ask you questions to make sure we have all the information we need to provide you with a list of suitable quotes.

The list will also show optional extras, such as accidental damage insurance.

  • what type of locks your property is fitted with and other property security details
  • personal information

We’ll ask you questions to make sure we have all the information we need to provide you with a list of suitable quotes.

The list will also show optional extras, such as accidental damage insurance.

Start a quote

Frequently asked questions

What protection does a typical home contents insurance policy provide?

A typical home contents insurance policy will protect your possessions against loss or damage due to a variety of events like theft, fire, storms, water leaks and subsidence. Cover will vary from policy to policy, so always check the details when you get a contents insurance quote.

Accidental damage, for example red wine spilt on a sofa, isn’t typically included in contents insurance, but may be available as an add-on. Many insurance providers offer other optional cover, like legal expenses and home emergency assistance.

Find out more:

  1. Accidental damage insurance
  2. Home insurance with legal expense cover

Contents insurance policies vary between home insurance providers, so check the level of cover offered by yours before you consider adding extra cover.

Does contents insurance cover theft?

Yes, contents insurance does protect you against theft for covered items. There are a few exclusions though. If an item is over the single-item limit, this will need to be specified on your policy to be covered. You won’t be covered if something is stolen from your home and the thief had access through unforced entry, which means a door or window was left unlocked. Finally, for things like your phone or a bike, you’ll need extra out of home cover to protect you against theft while out and about.

Does contents insurance cover mobile phones?

Contents insurance will cover your mobile phone, but normally only when it’s in the home. When you’re using it out and about, it won’t be covered if it’s damaged or stolen. To get that added protection, you should think about getting out of home cover as an extra.

Do I need additional contents cover?

There are a few types of additional contents cover that you might want to consider:

  • Accidental damage cover – if you smashed a TV, dropped and broke something or spilled paint on a carpet, these wouldn’t be covered as standard, so you should look for extra cover.
  • Out of home cover – if you’re taking things like your phone, camera or a bike out and about with you, these won’t be covered if they’re damaged or stolen, unless you get added cover.
  • High-value items – if you have things which are worth more than your single article limit (usually £1,000-£1,500), then these will need to be specified on your policy to be covered.
  • Home emergency cover – protects you against standard exclusions like a burst pipe, your boiler breaks down or there’s a sudden security risk like a smashed window

How does new for old contents insurance work?

If you have a new for old contents insurance policy, any items that are lost or damaged will be replaced by your insurance provider based on their current market value. Even if the exact item is no longer available, you’ll be paid out enough to buy a brand-new item of the same value.

How do I know how much my belongings are worth?

When you get a contents insurance quote, the premiums will be partially based on the value of your possessions. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of replacing all your possessions. A top tip is to go through your home one room at a time and add things up – don’t worry though, we have a handy contents calculator you can use when doing your quote to help you with this. Don’t forget to include small, high-value items, such as jewellery, and remember to value older items at today’s replacement costs.

According to the Association of British Insurers, the average household in the UK has home contents worth £35,000 – which is why your home contents are easy to undervalue and important to insure.

Find out more about how to estimate the value of your home contents.

What is meant by personal possessions cover and do I need it?

Personal possessions insurance covers you for loss or damage to things you would normally take with you when you leave your home. This could include your handbag, mobile phone, jewellery and wallet or purse. Some policies will also cover these items while you’re abroad. But, this is often limited to certain countries and for a set period of time. Some home insurance policies include personal possessions cover as standard, while others offer it as an add-on option and you may need to pay extra. It's worth checking the policy details to see what you will be covered for before you buy. See more on Possessions insurance cover outside of the home.

What’s a single article limit?

Most home and contents insurance policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it on the policy – this is commonly known as the single article limit. It’s a good idea to check what that limit is and make sure you detail anything that exceeds it. It’s often set at £1,500, but could be lower or higher depending on the provider.

What’s a high risk item?

High risk items are your valuable possessions that could be easily stolen from your home, for example: jewellery, electrical goods, antiques, collectables and more. Insurance providers want to know about these items as they’re typically more desirable to steal and, if they’re damaged, they can be expensive to replace. When you're getting a quote with us, you'll need to add any high risk items valued at more than £1,500 per item to the "specified items" section. So it's worth doing a quick inventory of your valuables first - you've probably got more than you think. See more on the cover usually offered for high risk items

Can I add new items to an existing contents insurance policy?

Most home contents insurance providers will let you update your policy to include new high-value items, such as an expensive TV or gadget. The best way to do this is by getting in touch with your provider directly.

In addition, some providers will increase your cover before and after special events, such as a wedding or Christmas. Extra cover and cover levels will vary from policy to policy, so check the policy documents thoroughly when you compare contents insurance.

Can I get a no claims discount on my home insurance?

Yes, although we usually think about no claims discounts in relation to car insurance you can earn them from home insurance too.

If don't make any claims during the 12-months of the policy then you can usually get a reduction on the next year's premium. If you don't claim the following year either you can build up your no claims discount. Typically you can build up your discount over nine consecutive years.

See more on Home insurance no claims discount – how does it work?

How can I get cheaper contents insurance?

If you’re looking for cheaper contents insurance, there are a few things you can do to help cut the costs down:

Compare quotes

Use Compare the Market to compare contents insurance and we’ll help you find a deal that’s right for you – we found 50% of people could achieve a contents insurance quote of £68**.
Just enter your details and the level of cover you need, and we’ll give you a list of quotes from a range of insurance providers.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £67.86 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

Start comparing today

Combine your contents insurance and buildings insurance

If you’re taking out buildings insurance as well, combining the two into a joint policy can often get you a discount with your provider. While it’s not guaranteed, it’s always worth checking.

Make your home safer and more secure

If you can improve your home security by adding alarms or getting better locks for your doors and windows, your home is less likely to be burgled, which means insurance providers will see you as less of a risk, which can lead to cheaper insurance.

Offer to pay a higher excess

Like all insurance policies, there’ll be an excess to pay if you need to make a claim. If you offer to raise the amount you’re willing to pay for this, it could bring the cost of your insurance down.

Pay annually rather than monthly

Paying for your insurance annually is almost always cheaper, as monthly instalments usually include an interest fee attached to them. For the best price for your quote, you should try and pay up front if you can.

No claims discount

This one might be more out of your hands, but insurance providers often reward people who haven’t made a claim for a number of years with a discount. If you’ve not needed to make a claim before or recently, you could get a cheaper deal.

How much does contents insurance cost?

£45
a year for 10% of people^^

£68
a year for 50% of people^^^

^^10% of people could achieve a quote of £44.58 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £67.86 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

The cost of home contents insurance is determined by a number of factors. With contents insurance, the value of your possessions and where you live are the main considerations. In both cases, whether you’ve made claims in the past will also be taken into account.

Chris King

Home insurance expert

“It can be really easy to underestimate the value of your possessions. If you do this then make a claim, you might not be paid in full. Take care when you’re adding up the value of all your contents.”

Why use Compare the Market?

£5.66 a month^^^^

Get a price in under
12 minutes^^^^^

We search home insurance from 74 leading provider products†

^^^^50% of people could achieve a quote of £5.66 per month for their contents insurance based on the monthly cost when paying for the policy in one annual payment, excluding any interest charged on instalment payments. Based on Compare the Market data in November 2020.

^^^^^On average it can take less than 12 minutes to complete a contents home insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.

†Correct as of November 2020. 

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We compare 74† of the UK’s home insurance provider products to help you get a great-value quote. Compare UK home insurance providers’ individual policies on our providers’ hub.

†Correct as of November 2020. 

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