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Contents insurance

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Compare cheap contents insurance from 80 providers1

We’re committed to finding the right cover for you and your home. 
That’s why we compare 80 of the biggest insurance providers in the country, including:

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1 Updated February 2024

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a type of home insurance that covers personal belongings and possessions in your home. In the event of a burglary, flood, or a fire, your insurance will help you cover the cost of replacing or repairing items that are lost, stolen, or damaged. 

You are not legally required to buy contents insurance, but it can provide peace of mind for homeowners and tenants. It can be bought as a single policy or it can be combined with buildings insurance to cover the physical structure of your home.

Details vary per provider, but contents insurance will cover most items that aren't part of the building's structure, including clothing, furniture, electrical goods, and carpets.

How does contents insurance work?

If your contents are lost, damaged, or stolen, you'll need to inform your insurance provider as soon as the incident happens. They will check your situation is covered by your policy and assess how much to pay you to replace or repair your belongings.

The amount you receive will depend on the type of policy and coverage you have chosen e.g. new-for-old.

You'll also have to pay a portion towards the claim yourself, known as an excess. This is typically between £50-£1,000 depending on how much you choose when you take out your policy.

Types of contents insurance

There are two main types of contents insurance: 

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    New for old / As new

    New for old, also known as 'as new', policies, will pay out for the full cost of repair of a damaged item, or for the equivalent new item. It is the more expensive type of cover because you can get back the full value of the items you claim for.

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    Indemnity policy

    An indemnity insurance policy pays you what the item you claim for is worth now, not what you paid for it. This type of policy tends to be cheaper because the pay-out reflects depreciation or wear and tear, so you might not get back the full value.

How much contents insurance do I need? 

The amount of contents insurance you need will differ depending on what you own and which items you would like to insure. Insurers often use three methods to work out how much cover you need:

  • Bedroom rated: this is where the cover is calculated based on the number of rooms in your home

  • Sum insured: is the cover based on the estimate of the total value of the things you own

  • Unlimited cover: this covers everything up to an unlimited amount (there may be limits for particularly expensive belongings) 

Many providers also offer tiered policies; bronze, silver, and gold, where your level of coverage will depend on which tier you opt for.

A good way of figuring out how much cover you need yourself is to calculate how much it would cost to replace all of the contents you would like to insure in your home if you lost them in a fire or if they were stolen. Remember to list items you would like to take with you if you moved house as well. You can then find a policy offering your desired level of cover. 

It's important to note that some combined policies do not offer the same level of buildings and contents cover. Some policies may offer unlimited buildings insurance, for example, but have a limit on contents insurance. 

Read the insurance provider's policy documents carefully or look on the insurer's website to ensure you have the right level of cover.

How much does contents insurance cost?

The average cost of a contents insurance policy is £96.02* but this can vary based on a few factors, including:

  • Your address

    Your postcode determines how safe your area is and tells insurers if it close to water and therefore, a flood risk

  • Building type and size of your property

    Your quote may vary depending on if you live in a flat, terraced, semi-detached, or detached house

  • How many people are living with you

    Having a child, taking up a lodger, or someone move out can all affect the cost of your policy

  • The nature and number of claims you have previously made

    If you have made a claim in the last five years, this could increase the cost of your contents insurance. This can also depend on if the claim was a result of an event such as a flood, or if it was your fault

     

Property type

Average cost of contents insurance*

Terraced house

£91.54

End of terrace house

£89.53

Semi-detached house

£98.01

Detached house

£152.20

Purpose built flat (self contained)

£81.88

Detached bungalow

£102.75

Semi-detached bungalow

£72.22

*Based on annual insurance policies taken out with MoneySuperMarket between October 2023 and December 2023

Is contents insurance worth it?

"According to a recent survey by YouGov, only 39% of renters have contents insurance, which pales in comparison to the 89% of mortgage holders who take out the same cover. Because many mortgage lenders require you to take out buildings insurance, which is often bundled together with contents cover, it’s likely tenants are less exposed to what contents insurance can cover and are more likely to question whether it’s worth it. And this is despite the opinions of mortgage holders – captured by the same YouGov survey – that this kind of cover is “essential” and provides “peace of mind”.

The important fact to highlight is that if there was a burglary, fire, flood or storm, a landlord’s policy would only cover damage to the building and NOT your possessions, meaning you would have to pay out for replacements. The easiest way to determine if contents insurance is worth it or not, is to add up all your possessions: clothes, gadgets (laptops, phones, TVs, smartwatches, games consoles), furniture, white goods (including fridges, juicers, coffee machines), and soft furnishings; and ask yourself if you could afford to replace all those items if something went wrong.

Currently, the average price of contents cover is £96 for the year*. Although we’re all looking for ways to save our money at the moment, insuring our possessions is all about peace of mind in the event something outside of our control happens."

David McDermottroe - Home Insurance Expert at MoneySuperMarket

*Based on annual insurance policies taken out with MoneySuperMarket between October 2023 and December 2023

Things to consider when purchasing contents insurance

As with any insurance, there are a few key considerations before choosing your contents insurance policy:

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    Replacement of sets

    Some policies may offer 'replacement of sets' cover, where an item from a matching set (e.g. kitchen units or furniture sets) is replaced if damaged. This type of cover helps you replace the whole set if the individual item cannot be repaired or replaced


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    No inflation adjustments

    Contents insurance policies don't offer cover that adjusts with inflation, so you should review your policy regularly to ensure you have the correct amount of cover for the changing value of your belongings


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    Are your items covered?

    Some items fall into a grey area. Items that can be easily removed without damage (e.g. carpets) are covered by contents insurance, while permanent fixtures (e.g. fitted wardrobes) are covered by buildings insurance

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    High value possessions

    Standard contents insurance policies have a single item value limit of around £1,000. Valuables such as jewellery, family heirlooms, and antiques that are worth more than this may need to be insured under a separate policy

What does contents insurance cover?

Home contents insurance policies will cover pretty much everything you own, except the actual building itself. An item is also covered if it’s something you would take with you when moving home, including carpets and light fittings. Items commonly listed under a contents policy include:

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    Gadgets

    Contents insurance can protect your mobile phones, laptops, cameras and other gadgets in your home, which can normally be expensive to replace

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    Electrical items

    Contents insurance policies can protect some of your most important electrical items, such as televisions, desktops, and games consoles

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    Money and financial documents

    Money and financial documents like bonds and deeds will be covered. It’s worth getting digital copies of crucial documents to have as a back-up in case the originals are stolen or damaged

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    Furniture

    Everything from Chesterfield sofas, wingback armchairs, and cherished family tables are covered when you take out a contents insurance policy

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    Clothing

    If your wardrobe is damaged in a major event like a fire or flood, your policy will help cover the cost of replacing your clothes

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    White goods

    Items like your fridge, cooker, washing machine are all protected, as well as smaller appliances such as juicers or coffee-makers

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    Soft furnishings

    It might surprise you to learn that soft furnishings such as carpets and curtains are also included in many standard policies

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    Collectibles and valuables

    Artwork, ornaments, collectibles, books, and musical instruments can also be covered under your contents insurance

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    Sporting equipment

    From ski wear, to weights, most gym equipment and sportswear can be protected when you take out a contents insurance policy

What isn’t covered by home contents insurance?

While there are a number of items and circumstances that fall under contents insurance, there are some exclusions, including:

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    Wear and tear

    Any general wear and tear such as damage or changes to items as a result of being used frequently over time will not be covered by your contents insurance

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    Poor maintenance

    Your insurance provider might reject a claim if you haven't cleaned or maintained certain items properly e.g. your freezer breaks as a result of not defrosting it and maintaining it regularly

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    Accidental damage

    Accidental or deliberate damage are excluded from most standard content insurance policies and will need to be purchased as an add-on option

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    Theft through unforced entry

    If you leave your doors unlocked, or invite someone into your home and they steal from you, this isn't covered by your policy either

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    Mechanical faults

    Most policies will also exclude mechanical faults or electrical breakdown, e.g. a washing machine breaking down near the end of its expected lifespan

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    Unoccupied homes

    Most contents insurance policies will not cover any damage or loss to your contents if you are away from the property for a long time - usually 30 days or more

What optional extras can I add to my contents insurance policy?

Contents insurance protects your belongings from most major threats, but not everything will be covered as standard. If you want extra peace of mind, you should think about adding the following:

  • Accidental damage

    This is for when you accidentally break a possession, for instance knocking over an ornament while doing the dusting. It’s easily done, but could be long lamented if you don’t have the right cover for accidents.

  • Personal possessions cover

    This protects your possessions while you’re out and about, but you usually have to declare which items you want to cover, supplying your insurance company with details and values.

  • Home emergency cover

    This will cover the costs if you need any assistance or repairs because of a domestic emergency, such as a burst pipe or broken boiler. Either can be a mightmare that you want sorted out as soon as possible.

  • Away-from-home cover

    If your children are away at university and they take their laptop or phone with them, you may be able to arrange affordable cover for their belongings.

  • Extra cover for valuables

    You can add extra insurance cover for any valuable items you own if their value exceeds the limits of your policy. That usually means individual items worth £1,000 or more.

  • Legal expenses

    Legal expenses insurance can help you cover the cost of certain legal fees, such as boundary disputes and personal injury claims which can arise when you least expect it.

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How to get cheaper contents insurance

Contents insurance policies are not terribly expensive, but there are steps you can take to get a cheaper quote:

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    Shop around

    Premiums vary between insurance companies, so get a range of quotes to see how much you could save. Be clear about the level of cover you need to get accurate quotes and don't forget to shop around when it's time to renew

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    Cut out the frills

    If you don’t need any added insurance extras like accidental damage cover, you could cut your premium by opting for basic cover only

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    Think about security

    High-quality locksburglar alarms, smoke alarms and joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can all reduce your premiums

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    Raise the excess

    Most insurance policies include an excess, which is the amount you pay towards any claim. Increasing your excess will usually lower premiums. But bear in mind that you will need to pay that amount if you need to claim

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    Pay your premiums annually

    Many insurers charge extra if you pay by monthly direct debit. You’ll save money if you make a one-off, annual payment instead, if you can afford it

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    Build up a no-claims discount

    Insurers usually reward people who have not made any claims in the past with a cheaper policy premium

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    Combine policies

    Combining contents and buildings insurance can save you money on both policies rather than buying them individually

Who needs contents insurance?

Contents insurance isn’t a legal requirement for anyone – but it is a good idea. These are the people who might need contents insurance:

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How to get a contents insurance quote

When looking for a contents insurance policy, it's important to get the right cover for you. Here is what insurers will ask you for when you're getting a quote:

  • 1

    The value of your items

    Go around your home and make a list of all the contents, including items in areas such as your loft, garden, garage, and shed



  • 2

    Cost of high value pieces

    If you have any jewellery, luxury clothing, or items such as electric bikes, which exceed the cost of £1,000, you will need to disclose this when you take out cover

  • 3

    Personal details & address

    Insurers will ask for your name, address, anyone who lives in the property with you, and when you are usually home



  • 4

    Details of your property

    You will be asked about the type of property you live in, including details such as locks and alarms systems installed .



  • 5

    Additional cover options

    You can add additional cover to your contents insurance, including accidental damage, and away from home cover for specific items such as phones and laptops



  • 6

    Any previous claims

    You will also need to inform insurers of any previous claims made in the past five years

Contents insurance does cover theft as standard, but most policies will cost more if you also want theft cover for your belongings when you take them out of the house. Likewise, high-value items may need to be itemised on your policy to ensure they are covered.

Contents insurance does cover mobile phones, but if your phone is worth more than a certain value, often £1,000, you’ll have to inform your insurer that you need it covered specifically.

For electronic items you use a lot, including those you carry with you when you leave the house, you might want to consider taking out a more specialised gadget policy.

It does, but if your bike is worth more than the single-item limit listed in the small print, often around £1,000, you will need to inform your insurer that you own it. Bikes aren’t usually covered by contents insurance when you have them outside the home. You need a separate out-of-home policy add-on for that.

The single-item limit is the most an insurer will pay to replace any individual items that hasn’t been specifically listed. The limit will depend on your provider and the policy, b ut is often around £1,000. If you need to cover anything worth more than that, you shoudl mention it as a high-risk item.

As well as there being a cover limit for your items, there are other exclusions that may affect your claims. For example, some providers also have a maximum claim limit for all valuable items. So, if several items are stolen or damaged at once, you may not be able to reclaim their full value.

High-risk items are your most valuable possessions, the ones which cost the most to replace. You need to let your insurer know about each one.

If you work from home a lot, your home office equipment is not covered as standard by home insurance policies. You may need to take out separate business insurance.

Find out more here.

Most insurers let you do this, but you’ll need to get in touch with them if you’ve made a major purchase. If you claim without telling them, then it may prove hard to claim the money back for any items.

Some insurance policies will cover the contents of your garden and outbuildings - like a garage or shed - as standard. However, many won’t, and which means you may have to pay extra. Make sure you check before you buy a policy.

You might do, especially for high-value items. It’s a good idea to keep the receipts for everything you have when you take out insurance.

Yes, the cost of your policy will likely increase if you make a claim on your insurance, as you will lose your no claims discount. The more claims you make, the higher the risk you are to insurers. Therefore, you're more likely to pay more next time you renew.

When it comes to claiming on your contents insurance, think about if it's cheaper to just pay for a repair or replacement yourself first. If your excess makes up the majority of your claim, it's unlikely to be worth claiming for, as you might end up paying more in the long run.

Most contents insurance policies won't cover you for any damage caused by damp and condensation.

When you get an insurance quote, you will agree to a list of assumptions, and one of them is that your home is in good condition, and isn't subject to any risks such as damp.

If you do not declare that your home has damp issues or inform your insurance provider if your home develops damp during your policy term, your insurer will not pay out if you need to make a claim.

Yes, to get your no claims discount (NCD) you will need to keep your contents insurance for at least one year. After this point, many insurers will offer you a lower price on your insurance. For every year you have contents insurance and don't make a claim, you should receive an extra discount on your next quote.

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