Contents insurance

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**51% of people could achieve a quote of £56.88 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in December, 2021

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 insurance typically covers your personal belongings – everything you’d take with you if you moved. It usually includes your carpets, anything in your garage or other outbuildings. You’ll need to check the details of individual policies to be sure of what’s included. 

For some things, like accidental damage to items, you’ll need to take out extra cover.

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 

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How much does contents insurance cost?

a year for 10% of people^^

a year for 51% of people^^^

^^10% of people could achieve a quote of £37.68 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in December, 2021

^^^51% of people could achieve a quote of £56.88 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in December, 2021

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.

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 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 £57**.

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. 

**51% of people could achieve a quote of £56.88 per year for their contents home insurance based on Compare the Market data in December, 2021

Start comparing today

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 really worth. If you overestimate the amount, you’ll end up paying more than you have to. Be careful not to underestimate though, as you won’t be adequately covered and could lose out if you make a claim.  

No claims discount

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. 

Frequently asked questions

What protection does a typical home contents insurance policy provide?

A typical home or house contents insurance policy will protect your possessions against loss or damage due to a variety of events including 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. Look at what cover you have for your belongings away from home, like laptops, mobile phones and handbags.  
Cover for 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 cover

Find out more:

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

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 e.g. leaving a door or window left unlocked 
  • Faulty workmanship 
  • 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 no limit to the 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. 
Unlimited sum insured policies are 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 be 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 in 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, through an unlocked door or window, for example.
To protect items that you tend to take with you when you’re out and about, like your phone or a 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. 

Do I need additional contents cover?

You might want to consider the following types of additional cover: 

  • Accidental damage cover – this offers cover if you drop and break something or spill paint on a carpet.
  • Out of home cover – covers items like your phone, purse, musical instrument or a bike when you’re outside of your home. 
  • High-value items – items worth more than your single article limit (usually £1,000-£1,500) will need to be specified on your policy to be covered.
  • Home emergency cover – protects you against home emergencies like a burst pipe, your boiler breaking down, or 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 partly 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, we have a handy contents calculator you can use when doing your quote to help you. Don’t forget to include small, high-value items, such as jewellery, and remember to value older items at today’s replacement costs. 

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’d 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. If you’re going overseas, it may be better to make sure these are covered by your travel insurance.   
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’ll 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 separately 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 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 per item 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 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. 

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 for your personal possessions if: 

  • you’re a student and live in shared accommodation 
  • you live in a room in a shared house

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

This varies between 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 
  • any member of your family 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?

Generally, you’ll only be covered if you pay your premiums. Your provider could cancel your policy as soon as a payment is missed. 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?

Although we usually think about no claims discounts in relation to car insurance, you can earn them from on home insurance too. 
If you 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, 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?

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 of any high-value items worth more than £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 claim on your contents insurance 
  • what type of locks your property is fitted with and other 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, like accidental damage insurance. 

Start a quote

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?

£4.74 a month***

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***51% of people could achieve a quote of £4.74 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 December, 2021.

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†Correct as of December 2021. 

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