Contents Insurance

Compare home contents insurance quotes

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Contents insurance isn’t compulsory, but it offers valuable protection for your belongings if they are stolen or damaged.

A lady watching the television

If you can’t imagine life without your laptop, television or even a washing machine, then you should probably think about getting contents insurance.

Unlike buildings insurance for those with mortgages, contents insurance isn’t obligatory. However, many would struggle to replace possessions if they were damaged by fire or water, or if they were stolen in a burglary.

What is home contents insurance?

Home contents insurance will provide protection for your belongings in the event they are lost, damaged or stolen, giving you the option to repair or replace them.

Not only this, but contents cover also protects your stuff from damage caused by a wide range of events beyond your control, including water leakages, storms, flooding, fires, explosions, lightning and earthquakes.

What does contents insurance cover?

Typically, items covered by a home contents insurance policy include furniture, clothing, electrical items like televisions and laptops, cash money and jewellery.

Certain items might fall outside of standard cover, such as expensive bikes, computers or music equipment. It may be wise to insure those items separately, unless the policy you choose has a high single-item limit, but more on that below.

A good way to think of it is: if you could pick it up and remove from a room, it might be worth insuring. Plus contents insurance can also cover fixtures like carpets, rugs and curtains, especially in the event of fire or flood damage.

 

The average cost of home contents insurance is £76, for contents and buildings it is £151

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

Types of home contents insurance cover

There are broadly two types of contents cover. Most policies are called 'as new' or 'new for old', which means that if something is damaged, the insurance will pay the full cost of repair.

If something is stolen, the payout on ‘new for old’ policies will be enough to buy the equivalent new item. Check the policy details though, as some items - usually clothes - are not covered on a new for old basis.

Alternatively, you can choose an indemnity policy. Indemnity policies are cheaper because any payout is reduced to take into account wear and tear, or depreciation in value. For example, if your five-year-old laptop is stolen, the claim will be based on its current value, not the price when it was new.

 

See how much home contents insurance costs across the UK

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

How much contents cover do you need?

The 'sum insured' is the maximum amount the policy will pay out if the entire contents of your home is completely destroyed, so it’s important you get that figure correct.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Experts estimate that one in five households could be underinsured because they do not know the true value of their home’s contents.

A good approach is to go through each room slowly, making an inventory of all your possessions as they can add up to more than you think. Make sure to include items that are in the loft, or stored in an outside area such as a garden shed or garage.

Some insurance companies calculate the sum insured by counting the number of rooms in your home. However, premiums can be higher and the sum insured could still be inaccurate and therefore inadequate.

Contents limit for high value items

High-value items will often have a limit on how much the insurer will pay out for them – items such as art, jewellery and expensive electrical equipment. Always check the limits before signing a contents insurance policy, and negotiate a higher maximum if necessary.

You must make sure the sum insured is kept up to date because if you don’t, you might not be able to claim on certain items. Your insurer may link your policy to inflation, but you would need to contact the company if you buy a particularly expensive or valuable item that you want specifically added.

You can even increase your level of cover at Christmas, when you are likely to have expensive or important gifts in the house. Many insurers will do this automatically. But you might need to check, however, that you have the correct level of contents cover if you have just got married and want to protect any generous wedding gifts.

 

The most valuable items covered by contents insurance include watches, jewellery and audio equipment

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

Do I need additional contents cover?

For an extra premium, you can often extend your policy to provide additional cover. The most common additions include:

  • Accidental damage cover: if you accidentally break a possession, for instance knocking over a valuable ornament while doing the dusting, it will cover you
  • Accidental loss or damage cover for personal possessions that you take out of the home: if something happens to your possessions when you’re out, you could be covered - though you might have to specify the items that you want to cover.
  • Extra cover for valuables: if you have any valuables, you may need extra contents insurance if their value exceeds the limit of your policy. For example, if the limit was £500 and your camera was stolen, the policy would only pay £500, even if it is worth £1000
  • Home Emergency Cover: if you need any assistance or repairs due to a domestic emergency, this will pay out.
  • Away from home: if your children are away for college or university, you may be able to cover their items too.

It is 44% more expensive to opt for cover away from home

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

How much does contents insurance cost?

The average cost of contents insurance is £76, according to MoneySuperMarket data from August 2017. But the price of contents insurance varies by region. Take a look at the average contents insurance cost across the country: 

 

Region

Average cost

Scotland

£72

North East

£62

Yorkshire

£71

North West

£71

East Midlands

£66

West Midlands

£77

East Anglia

£66

London

£103

South East

£74

South West

£66

Wales

£63

Northern Ireland

£69

Tips for cheaper contents insurance

You should never be tempted to skimp on cover, but there are ways to make contents insurance cheaper:

  1. Shop around. Premiums can vary considerably between insurers, so it's important to review quotes. Make sure you check ‘like with like’ – and be clear about the level of cover you need. Don't forget to shop around at renewal too, as your existing insurer will not necessarily offer the cheapest quote.
  2. Pay your premiums annually. Many insurers will levy an additional charge if you pay by monthly direct debit. If possible, try to make a one off, annual payment.
  3. Cut out the frills. If you don’t need any added insurance extras, you could reduce your premium by choosing basic cover only.
  4. Raise the excess. Most insurance policies include an 'excess', which is the amount you pay towards any claim. If you agree to increase the excess you will usually pay a lower premium.
  5. Combine contents and buildings insurance. If you have to buy buildings insurance for your home, it is often cheaper to buy both buildings and contents cover from the same insurer.
  6. Build up a no claims discount. Insurers will usually reward people who have not made any claims with a cheaper policy premium.
  7. Think about prevention. It often pays to take precautions against a claim. High quality locks, burglar alarms, smoke alarms and membership of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can all reduce your premiums.

Why compare contents insurance?

When you compare contents insurance with MoneySuperMarket, you are giving yourself a better chance of finding the right deal. Choose from many different providers, with differing levels of cover, and

When you’re ready to compare home contents insurance, simply answer a few questions about your home and the contents you need to cover and we’ll give you a list of policies that you can compare.

To see how the excess affects your premium, you can adjust it after your contents insurance comparison. 

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