Churchill magazine

What is contents insurance?

Updated on: 24 September 2020

A laptop, sofa, desk and other items are seen in a home.

Home contents insurance covers items that aren’t fixed to your home that you’d expect to take with you if you moved.

So, that means things like TVs, dishwashers, garden ornaments, stuff in sheds and garages, furniture, clothes, jewellery, and even money in the home.

Contents insurance is often sold with buildings insurance, but if you’re renting you’ll only need cover for your contents.

Why do you need contents insurance?

If your belongings are lost or damaged because of fire, theft, storm, floods, subsidence or vandalism, amongst other things, you’ll be glad you have contents insurance.

Once you make a claim for the damages, your insurer will assess and settle your claim. This could include a cash payout allowing you to replace the items, or you the items may be replaced directly by the insurer.

You might be surprised by some of the things contents insurance will often cover, such as digital downloads, replacement door locks if you lose your keys and even items temporarily removed from the home.

Optional extras

Many contents insurance policies offer optional extras, such as:

Accidental damage cover

This offers cover against accidents like spilling paint on a lovely new carpet or breaking a glass table.

Personal possessions

This covers items taken regularly outside the home such as cameras, mobiles, bicycles, watches and jewellery.

Family legal protection

This covers legal costs, should you need it, to deal with disputes as varied as dodgy tradesmen and bad holidays.

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover provides help when you need it with central heating disasters, power failures and broken front-door locks.

What’s in your home?

Knowing exactly what you’ve got in your home will help make sure you get the right amount of contents insurance and help you if you ever need to make a claim. 

Make a written list by walking around your home listing everything you own. Remember to include all rooms and don’t forget places like the cupboard under the stairs or the loft or garage, which could store valuable house contents like your treasured record collection or family jewellery.

A potential shortcut is to take photos of each room in your home. Pictures will:

  • provide evidence of all the contents of your home, so long as it’s visible.
  • help jog your memory about items that can easily be forgotten.

Make sure you take photos that show all aspects of the rooms – you might need more than one picture per room.

Take care of the photos and, if possible, keep copies at a friend’s or relative’s house or online. This means they won’t be lost in a fire or flood, for example.

Exactly what is and isn’t covered will depend on your specific insurance policy, so be sure you know what you’re paying for.

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