Contents insurance

  • Buy contents insurance for up to £64/year [1]
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[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £63.16 for their contents home insurance in September, 2022.

What is contents insurance?

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

How much does contents insurance cost?

a year for 10% of people [2]

a year for 51% of people [1]

The cost of home contents insurance depends on a number of things. The value of your possessions and where you live are the main considerations. Whether you’ve made claims in the past will also be taken into account.

[2] 10% of our customers were quoted less than £40.99 for their contents home insurance in September, 2022.

[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £63.16 for their contents home insurance in September, 2022.

What’s covered by contents insurance?

Home contents insurance typically covers your personal belongings – everything you’d take with you if you moved. As well as your furniture, white goods and possessions, it usually includes your carpets, and anything in your garage or other outbuildings. You’ll need to check the details of individual policies to be sure of what’s included.

Here are some examples of the items that contents insurance can cover:

  • Jewellery and watches 
  • Expensive tech – TVs, phones, tablets, laptops etc. 
  • Appliances – fridges, freezers, washing machines etc. 
  • Furniture – like sofas, tables and bookcases
  • Furnishings – like carpets and curtains
  • Cash and important documents.

And you can expect contents insurance to cover you for:

  • Theft and vandalism
  • Fire damage and explosions
  • Water damage from flooding or burst pipes
  • Storms and lightning
  • Falling trees
  • Subsidence.

What contents insurance add-ons are available? 

When you compare quotes with us, you can choose to include extra cover for an additional cost, such as: 

  • Accidental damage: to cover you for those awful slow-motion moments where the kids knock over the TV or you spill red wine on your new cream sofa.
  • Home emergency cover: can help with emergency repairs for burst pipes, boiler breakdowns and a broken window, for example.
  • Legal expenses: to cover the cost of legal advice and representation if someone makes a claim against you. For example, if someone gets injured in your home or you have a dispute with a neighbour.
  • Personal possessions cover: also known as out-of-home cover, this can protect valuables you regularly take with you while you’re out and about – like your mobile, laptop, watch and handbag.
  • Away from home cover: can help protect your children’s belongings while they’re away at university.

How can I get cheaper contents insurance?

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

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 51% of people could achieve a contents insurance quote of £64 [1].

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. 

[1] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £63.16 for their contents home insurance in September, 2022.

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Combine your contents insurance and buildings insurance

Combining contents and buildings insurance 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. This 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. But, remember, you’ll need to be able to afford this if you make a claim. 

Pay annually rather than monthly

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

Accurately calculate the value of your contents 

It’s worth adding up the value of all the possessions in your home to see what they’re worth. If you overestimate the amount, you’ll end up paying more for insurance than you have to. But be careful not to underestimate, as you won’t be adequately covered and could lose out if you make a claim. For advice, read our guide to estimating the value of your home contents accurately.

No-claims discount

Insurance providers often reward people who haven’t made a claim for a number of years with a no-claims discount. If you’ve not needed to make a claim before or recently, you could get a cheaper deal.

What do I need to get a quote? 

When you start a contents insurance quote with us, we’ll ask you some questions about you and your property, so we can show you a range of suitable quotes. It will help to have your current home or contents insurance policy documents to hand so you can check any details. To compare quotes, we’ll need to know: 

  1. Details about your property, including:
    • Your postcode
    • When your home was built
    • The number of rooms
    • What your home is made from
    • If your home is listed or has any speciality features, such as a flat or thatched roof
    • Details about the surrounding area and any previous flooding.
  2. Personal details, including
    • Whether you own, rent or have a mortgage on your home
    • Your employment status
    • Who is living with you
    • How long you’ve lived in your home
    • If you work at home.
  3. The security of your home, including what type of locks are fitted and whether you have a burglar alarm.
  4. The total value of the contents of your home. When we talk about contents, we mean anything that can be physically moved from inside your home, such as furniture and possessions, but not fitted items such as built-in cupboards, toilets or sinks.
  5. Any high-value items worth more than £1,500 that you want to cover, as well as any bicycles over £350.
  6. If you want to insure personal possessions like mobile phones or laptops outside of your home.
  7. The type of policy you’re looking for – whether it’s contents only or combined contents and buildings insurance – and how much excess you want to pay.
  8. If you’d like to add additional cover to your policy, such as home emergency cover or accidental damage.
  9. Your claims history.

All the information that you provide helps us to find quotes for contents cover that work for you and your home.

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Who needs contents insurance? 

Contents insurance can help protect your belongings if you’re a: 

  • Homeowner: buildings insurance will protect the bricks and mortar of your home, but you’ll still need contents insurance to cover your possessions. You can often save money by combining the two.
  • Renter: your landlord is responsible for the property, but you’ll want to cover your possessions and any furniture and appliances you take to your rented home with tenants insurance.
  • Landlord: if you rent out a furnished property, you can protect your belongings against damage and theft with landlord contents insurance.
  • Student: if you live in halls of residence or a shared home, you’ll need a students content policy to make sure your belongings are protected.
  • Holiday homeowner: you may need specialist holiday home contents insurance for your second home if it’s left empty for long periods of time or you rent it out.
  • Tenant in a shared flat: you can protect your own belongings without having to cover your flatmates’ possessions too with room only contents insurance.

Compare great-value home insurance quotes from 73 provider products[3]

We compare prices from 40 trusted providers[3], including:

[3] Correct as of October, 2022.

Why use Compare the Market?

It’s quick

 You can compare quotes from 40 home insurance providers[3] in minutes.

You could save

 We found that 51% of customers could save up to £164[4] on their home insurance by comparing with us.

Quotes tailored to you

 Use our quote tool to tell us about you and your home to see what policies will work for you.

Get a home contents insurance quote for as little as £5.23 a month [5] when you compare with us.

[3] Correct as of October, 2022.

[4] Based on online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during August, 2022, 51% of customers could achieve this saving on their Buildings and Contents insurance through Comparethemarket.

[5] 51% of our customers were quoted less than £5.26 per month in September, 2022 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.

Don’t just take our word for it, join thousands of other happy savers who Comparethemarket

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Author image Kate Hughes

What our expert says...

“There’s often confusion over what items are covered by contents insurance – especially when you’re out and about with high-risk items like tablets and jewellery. So dig out the details of your new or existing policy and check exactly what is and isn’t covered. Don’t forget that pricey individual items, like a bike or top-of-the-range laptop, may need to be listed separately on your policy if they’re worth more than the single item limit.”

- Kate Hughes, Insurance expert

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Frequently asked questions

What’s not covered by contents insurance?

Contents insurance doesn’t typically cover: 

  • General wear and tear, and maintenance
  • Accidental damage – but you may be able to add this as an optional extra
  • Deliberate damage by someone living in your home
  • Lost possessions
  • Theft through unforced entry – for example, if you leave a door or window unlocked
  • Faulty workmanship and bad DIY
  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown
  • Damage caused by pets.

Bicycles may not be covered, or only covered if secured in particular ways. If you have a bike, check whether you need separate or extra cover for your bike.

What is unlimited contents insurance?

With an unlimited contents insurance policy, there’s typically no limit to the overall amount you can claim for – so you don’t have to worry about being underinsured. But this kind of policy tends to cost more, to reflect the high level of pay-out that you could get.

Also known as unlimited sum-insured policies, they’re generally designed for large, expensive homes. If you’re lucky enough to own such a property, it’s worth knowing that even this kind of policy could have some limits. While there might not be an overall limit, there may be a limit on the amount you can claim for a single item – even though this will be higher than a standard contents policy.

See more on unlimited home insurance.

Does contents insurance cover theft?

Yes, contents insurance does protect you against theft. There’s a few exclusions though. If an item is worth more than the single-item limit – the maximum you can claim for one item – it will need to be listed separately on your policy to be covered.

And you won’t be covered if something is stolen from your home and the thief had access through unforced entry, for example, through an unlocked door or window.

To protect items that you tend to take with you when you’re out and about, like your phone or wallet, you’ll need personal possessions insurance.

Many contents policies will cover you for the cost of replacing locks if your keys are stolen or lost.

Does contents insurance cover mobile phones?

Contents insurance will cover your mobile phone, but normally only when it’s in your home. To cover it while you’re out and about, consider getting personal belongings cover.

Does contents insurance cover bicycles?

Your home contents policy will usually cover bikes against theft while they’re stored at your property. You may need extra cover to insure them away from your home. If your bike is worth more than £350, let us know when you compare quotes. Depending on the provider, it may need to be listed separately under your policy as a high-risk item.

Find out more about bicycle insurance.

Are my garden and garage covered by contents insurance?

Some contents policies will cover garden furniture, for example, but you may need to add extra cover if you have expensive items like a patio heater or a hot tub. Find out more about insuring your garden.

If your garage is attached to you home, it may well be covered by a standard contents policy. If it’s separate structure, it might be classed as an outbuilding on your policy. If you have expensive tools and other items stored in your garage, you may need to extend your cover. Read our guide to garage insurance.

Read any policy carefully and watch out for any exclusions.

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?

A top tip is to go through your home, one room at a time, and add up the contents inside –to help, we have a handy contents calculator you can use when doing your quote. Don’t forget to include small, high-value items, such as jewellery, and remember to value older items at today’s replacement costs.

When you get a contents insurance quote, the premiums will be partly based on the value of your possessions. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of replacing all your possessions.

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 items you’d normally take with you when you’re out and about. This could include your handbag, mobile phone, jewellery and wallet or purse. Some policies will also cover these items while you’re abroad, but cover is often limited to certain countries and for a set period of time. If you’re going overseas, it’s a good idea to check whether your possessions are covered by your travel insurance.   
Some home insurance policies include personal possessions cover as standard, while others offer it as an add-on for an extra charge. If you’re considering adding it to your policy, check the policy details before you buy to see what you’ll be covered for. 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 separately on the policy – this is known as the single-article limit. 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 and collectables. Insurance providers want to know about these items as they’re typically more desirable to steal and, if they’re damaged, can be expensive to replace.  
When you get a quote with us, you'll need to add any high-risk items valued at more than £1,500 to the ‘specified items’ section. 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.

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 among policies, so check the small print thoroughly when you compare contents insurance.

Do I need proof of ownership for all my possessions?

It’s a possibility, especially for high-value items. Some providers will stipulate in their policy documents that you need to provide a receipt or photo of any items that have been stolen or damaged before you can claim for them. Read our guide to providing proof of purchase on a contents insurance claim.

I rent. Do I need contents cover?

Yes, if you’re a tenant and you want your personal possessions covered, you’ll need to get your own contents insurance. Your landlord is responsible for buildings insurance, which covers the structure of the building, and the fixtures and fittings.
You could also benefit from contents cover if:

What changes do I need to tell my insurance provider about while I’m covered by their policy?

This varies among policies, but typically you’ll need to tell your provider as soon as possible if you: 

  • Move house
  • Are having building work done
  • Change the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in your property
  • Change how you use your home: for example, you start taking in lodgers
  • Are going to have someone other than family live with you
  • Start a business from home
  • Leave your home unoccupied for a set number of days in a row
  • Get new high-value items over the single item limit or increase the total value of your contents
  • Have a family member who is convicted of an offence other than a driving offence. 

If you don’t let your insurance provider know about any of the above, any claim you make could be rejected. If you’re not sure if a change may affect your contents cover, it’s best to contact your provider.

I pay monthly for my contents insurance. What happens if I can’t afford or miss a payment?

Your provider could cancel your policy as soon as a payment is missed. Generally, you’ll only be covered if you pay your premiums. Talk to your provider if you know you can’t make a payment as they may be able to offer some short-term help. 

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

You can earn them on home insurance too, even though we usually think about no-claims discounts in relation to car insurance.
If you don’t make any claims during the 12 months of the policy, then you can usually get a reduction on next year’s premium. If you don’t claim the following year, then 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?

Page last reviewed on 12/10/2022
by Helen Phipps