What is contents insurance?

Home contents insurance covers items that aren’t fixed to your home that you would 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, even money in the home.

Contents insurance is often sold with buildings insurance, but with the increasing number of renters, many people only require contents cover.

Why do you need it?

If your belongings are lost or damaged because of fire, theft, storm or floods, water damage or subsidence, vandalism or malicious acts, you’ll be glad you have contents insurance.

Things that you wouldn’t normally assume are covered too, such as digital downloads, replacement door locks if you lose your keys and even items temporarily removed from the home.

If something happens that causes damage to your home which means you can’t stay there, some insurers will cover the cost of alternative accommodation while repairs are carried out.

Your items can then be replaced on an “as new” or “new for old” basis.

What does “as new” mean?

If something is damaged, your insurer will pay to have it repaired.

What does “new for old” mean?

If something is stolen, your insurer will pay for a new item of equivalent value and quality.

Did you know?

Even garden plants and food in your freezer can be covered by contents insurance.

What is the ‘contents sum insured’?

The sum insured is the most a company will pay out if the contents of your home are completely destroyed. It’s important to get the true value of your home contents right, so try using an inventory – it can be time-consuming but if the worst happens you’ll be glad you did.

What about specific valuables?

Valuables can also be covered, including regular items like jewellery and watches through to less common things like furs, collections of gold and silver and sets of stamps. They are automatically covered up to 30% of your contents sum insured and if you splash out on something especially expensive, let your insurer know as soon as possible.

Personal liability

Most contents insurance policies will include Personal Liability cover. This means your insurer will cover any damages you have to pay in your capacity as occupier of your home, for example, legal damages resulting from the accidental death of or bodily injury to any person while in your home.

What isn’t covered by home contents insurance?

There are exclusions and limits to what is covered and what insurers can pay out for. Things like wear and tear, electrical faults and damage caused by pets are generally not covered. Check your policy for a full list of exclusions.

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

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

Family legal protection

his 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.

No matter what: read the small print in your policy so you know exactly what’s covered.