Churchill magazine

What is contents insurance?

Updated on: 7 December 2020

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

Contents insurance is there to protect your belongings against any damage caused by theft, fire or flooding in the home.

When it comes to knowing what's covered, it's good to imagine you're moving house. Any items that aren't permanently fixed to your property and can be taken with you are likely to be covered by contents insurance. That includes things like TVs, dishwashers, garden ornaments, items in the sheds and garages, furniture, clothes, jewellery and even money inside the home. 

Why do you need contents insurance?

If your belongings are lost or damaged because of fire, theft, storm, floods, subsidence or vandalism (among other things), you’ll be glad to 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 your 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 new carpet or breaking a glass table.

Personal possessions

This covers items you might regularly take outside the home such as cameras, mobiles, watches and jewellery.

Family legal protection

This covers any legal costs you might need when it comes to dealing with consumer, employment or property disputes, as well as claiming compensation for damages following an accident.

Home emergency cover

Home emergency cover provides help when you need it most, including 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, as well as help if you ever need to make a claim. 

It's useful to walk around your home and make a written list of everything you own. Remember to include all rooms, as well as cupboards, under the stairs, and the loft or garage.

It's also a good idea to take photos of each room. Not only will this help jog your memory, but provide evidence of all the items in your home (as long as they're visible in the picture). 

Make sure you take photos that show all aspects of the rooms, meaning you might need more than one picture per room. And remember to take good care of the photos, perhaps storing them online or keeping copies with a friend or relative. That means you'll still have a copy should the originals be destroyed by a fire or flood. 

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

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