Content 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 a laptop, television or even a washing machine, then you should probably think about getting some contents insurance.

Unlike buildings insurance for those with mortgages, contents insurance isn’t obligatory, but many of us would struggle to replace possessions should they be damaged by fire or water, or if they were stolen.

What is contents insurance?

You can protect your belongings so that if they are lost, damaged or stolen, you can repair or replace them. Some insurers even boost your home contents insurance during Christmas, when gifts push up the value of your contents.

It protects your stuff from damage caused by a wide range of events, including water leakages, storms, flooding, fires, explosions, lightning and earthquakes.

Typically, items covered by a contents insurance policy include furniture, clothing, electrical items, money and jewellery. A good way to think of it is everything you could pick up and remove from a room. Plus it can also cover fixtures like carpets, rugs and curtains.  

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

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

Types of cover

There are broadly two types of 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.

Infographic showing regional price difference in contents insurance

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 contents of your home are completely destroyed, so it is important you get that figure correct.

Unfortunately, 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 estimate 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 policy, and negotiate a higher maximum if necessary.

Always make sure the sum insured is kept up to date, as 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. You might need to check, however, that you have the correct level of cover if you have just got married and want to protect any generous wedding gifts.

Infographic showing top 5 highest value items listed

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. This insures you if you accidentally break a possession, for instance knocking over a valuable ornament while doing the dusting.
  • Accidental loss or damage cover for personal possessions that you take out of the home. This can cover clothes, jewellery, cameras and mobile phones among other items, though you might have to specify the items that you want to cover.
  • Also, there is normally a limit on the value of any one item. 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 will pay for any assistance or repairs due to a domestic emergency.
  • Some insurers will extend the policy to cover children who go away to college or university.

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

MoneySuperMarket data. Correct as of August 2017.

Tips for cheaper contents insurance

You should never be tempted to skimp on contents cover, but there are ways to cut the cost of premiums.

1.       Shop around

Premiums can vary considerably between insurers, so it's important to compare quotes. But make sure you compare ‘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 do not 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.       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.

How can MoneySuperMarket help?

Once you have your figures use our price comparison tool to find the cheapest home insurance quotes and best cover for you. 

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