If you’re considering insuring the contents of your home, it’s worth taking some time to get to know the facts before you take out a contents insurance policy. You don’t want to leave it too late to discover that something you thought was covered actually isn’t – leaving you to foot the bill yourself.
Most contents insurance policies will cover the household items that you’d take with you if you were to move home, such as furniture and electronics. The items left behind, like fixed kitchen units, your bathroom suite and the structure of your home, are covered by buildings insurance.
Choosing your policy
It’s really important to make sure that the contents policy you choose meets all your needs. Otherwise it could cost you, if you make a claim in the future, and it could even result in your cover being invalidated.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll look at what a standard contents insurance policy may include:
- Maximum cover amount – This gives you peace of mind that, if you need to make a claim, this amount is sufficient to replace all your contents as new, provided they meet the criteria and do not exceed any other limits set in your insurance policy.
- Cash in your home – It’s never advisable to have large quantities of cash in your home, but if you did suffer a break-in, or lose your money in a flood or fire, you’d want your insurer to replace it. Please bear in mind that your insurer will usually set a limit for this type of cover.
- Special event increases – This covers the extra items you could have in your home because of a special event, such as Christmas or your wedding. This temporarily increases your sum insured amount for a few days.
- Fridge and freezer contents – If your fridge, or freezer, was damaged or has stopped working because of one of the incidents covered by your policy, your insurer would pay to replace the food that was spoiled, up to the limit shown in your policy documentation.
- Bike cover – Policies vary, but some will require all bikes in your household to be specified. Some policies provide cover for your bikes in the home but you have to include them in unspecified personal belongings, if you need cover away from the home, as well. Security requirements also differ from one policy to the other, but most insurers will insist on the bikes being padlocked to an immovable object in order to provide theft cover away from home.
- Contents in the open cover – This could be your patio set, ornaments, pots, barbeque or anything else in your garden, aside from shrubs and plants. Although policy limits will vary, this type of cover will usually exclude any belongings fixed to a permanent base.
- Personal liability – This would cover your legal liability (up to a limit that is usually around 2 million pounds) for any damage or injury caused by you as the occupier of the property, including anything that happens as you go about your daily life.
- Identity theft assistance – If your identity is stolen, you’ll want to be supported and advised on what steps you need to take.
- 24/7 access to a claims service – Being able to speak to someone around the clock, 365 days a year, can make a huge difference when you’ve suffered a fire, flood or break-in.
The following are often made available as additional optional cover:
- Accidental damage – From spilling wine on your carpet, to replacing a smashed vase, accidental damage cover can help repair or replace items that have been damaged around your home.
- Personal possessions cover – Protects your belongings outside the home, when you’re out and about.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but could give you an idea of what to expect from a contents insurance policy.
Shopping around for quotes will help you make sure you find the right protection for you, at the right price.