Home Contents Insurance
Contents is defined in insurance terms as household goods and personal property, within the home, which are your property or which you are legally liable for.
Unlike building insurance however, contents is always optional as no other party such a bank or lender will have an invested interest. In most cases it is normal to have house and contents insurance combined but if you own a flat and you share your buildings insurance with other residents known as block insurance it is usually recommended to have a separate ‘contents only’ insurance policy.
What items are included in contents insurance
Household goods and personal property classed as insurable are usually items that you would take with you when you move property.
Standard items such as:
- Televisions, computers, cameras and other electricals,
- household appliances,
- beds, sofas and other furniture,
- clothes and jewellery,
- pots, pans crockery and cutlery,
- Ornaments and toys.
Where possible, keeping receipts for items will help prove ownership, including their brand and model numbers should the need for a claim arise (this can of course prove difficult in the case of a fire).
Although items such as jewellery are for the most part considered standard, insurers will often cap the value paid out for these items in a claim. If you own high value items such as jewellery, paintings and antiques, it is worth informing the insurer of these, some insurers may request that items over a certain valuation be specified and will be noted on the insurance policy itself. The value of these high value specified items can factor into the cost of your insurance premium and if it may be possible to find alternative specialised insurance for that item such as a jewellery insurance policy.
There may be limits placed on contents stored in the open such as the garden area or in outbuildings, where they are not considered as secure as the main property.
Other items that may be offered in addition to standard contents, include domestic pedal cycles, freezer contents, office equipment and cover of possessions for members of the family whilst at University/ college up to a specified value.
Assessing the contents sum insured
When people think about how much contents insurance they are likely to need, they usually come up with a set figure that is more of a rough guess than a good estimate, often because when we assess our contents to determine its value we think of a few key items that are either more important or personal such as a computer, television or pieces of jewellery. They may then think about the cost of replacing domestic appliances such as the washing machine or fridge freezer or the larger items in the house such as the sofa. However, when looking at insurance it is important to think about the worst case scenario. With contents this may be in the event of a fire or flood where all your contents and personal possessions had to be replaced. It may be surprising at how much this would actually cost, not only would you have to replace jewellery, clothes or home electricals but also all your kitchenware including pots and pans, cutlery and crockery, curtains, linen, food, books, dvds and sometimes carpets (varies on insurer and policy type as to whether carpets are listed under buildings or contents insurance). There is a risk of underinsurance, where the values for contents sums insured doesn’t meet the true cost of replacing goods and we have written a good article on Overinsurance and Underinsurance.
What is contents covered against
As standard a contents insurance policy will insure you against:
These are just standard perils but most insurers will include much more as standard in their policies, such as storm damage, subsidence, landslip or heave, falling trees, riots, violent disorder and malicious damage.
The values of the contents sum insured may also be index linked each year so the value of the sum insured increases. This is designed to protect you against rates of inflation so should a claim arise you are not underinsured when items are replaced on a like for like basis.
Getting insurance for contents
Contents can either be insured on its own but is usually cheaper when combined with buildings insurance and accidental damage is normally an optional extra should you require it. If you rent a property you will only require contents insurance as the building will already be insured by the landlord or property management agency. Alternatively if you are a landlord you can get contents insurance for communal areas providing you own the contents you wish to insure.
If you would like a quote for contents then Highhouse will be happy to provide you with a quote, we have our own binder for both home and let property insurance underwritten by the highest rated insurers and can normally have you insured and your documents over to you the same day should you require it.