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If you want to protect items you take with you when you leave the house, you need personal possessions insurance
We all have personal possessions we want to keep safe, and when we’re at home they’re normally protected by home contents insurance.
For example if your phone or laptop was burgled or your furniture was damaged by fire or water, depending on your the terms of your policy, you should be covered for the loss.
However, because most people carry around things like wallets and mobile phones, it’s important to make sure you’re covered in case something is missing, broken, or stolen. This is where personal belongings insurance can help.
Personal possessions insurance covers your personal belongings against loss, damage, or theft when you take them outside your home. The items covered can differ from policy to policy, and you will sometimes need to specify what you want to protect.
It’s possible to find personal possessions insurance that covers:
You might find that dedicated gadget insurance could offer greater flexibility and value than an extension to your contents insurance.
Most insurers will offer a standard amount of cover as part of your policy, but you’ll be able to increase this amount if you need to. You should think about the possessions you or your family usually take out of the house, and how much these are worth – have a look at our contents calculator guide to help you get started.
When you make a claim on your insurance policy, you’ll normally have to pay an excess. These excess payments are the portion of the total claim cost you cover yourself, while the rest is paid by your insurer.
You may choose a higher excess level when shopping for insurance, as this can sometimes reduce the cost of your premium. But you should keep in mind that the excess you pay for claiming for personal possessions may be different to your excess payments for standard home contents.
It’s also important to note that making a claim is likely to affect your home no claims discount, so it could be worth picking up the tab yourself for minor damage or loss to keep the NCD intact.
While personal belongings insurance provides basic cover for most items you take out of the home with you, some items may have to be listed for your insurer if they belong to a certain category:
If you make a claim, your insurer could also impose a ‘single item limit’, which sets a limit as to how much the insurer will pay out for one item that is not listed separately on the policy.
For example, if the limit is £1,000, claiming for an unlisted item worth £2,500 will mean you’re only given £1,000 towards that particular belonging. Listing valuables is the best way to prevent this from happening, though it could raise your premiums.
Personal possessions insurance isn’t a catch-all for everything on your person when you’re out – there are some items that are often excluded from this policy, such as:
As always, it’s best to check your policy documents or ask your insurer so you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.
It’s understandable that you might not always be carrying your possessions when they’re out of the house. Insurers can vary on how much leeway they’ll give when it comes to coverage, but keep in mind that it’s best to ask your insurer directly if:
As the items won’t be on your person or in your home, they may not be covered if they are damaged, lost, or stolen.
If you or a member of your family is living out in university halls or other student accommodation, you may also want to check if your personal possessions are protected. Some home insurance policies automatically include contents insurance for students, while others offer it as an extra for an additional fee.
It will depend on your home insurance policy – some insurers offer cover for your personal possessions when you take them abroad, but not all. However if they are covered by your home insurance, consider the following:
It’s possible to be over-insured if you’ve taken out policies that overlap. For example, you may be inclined to take out personal possession insurance if you are taking a trip away somewhere, but it’s more suited for day-to-day protection. If you need cover for a specific journey or holiday you may find travel insurance more useful, as otherwise you could find yourself paying extra money for no additional cover.
You may also be over-insured if you’ve taken out insurance or protection for an item through another service; for example, when you take out an extended warranty from the retailer directly for a phone or laptop you bought. You might also have cover through your bank if you have a ‘packaged’ account.
Either way, it’s always best to talk to your insurers and check your financial products so you can determine exactly what level of cover you’ll need to take out.
Generally speaking, personal possession insurance is an add-on for home contents insurance policies. When you compare home insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket you can select this as an option. You may be asked questions about your property, such as the contents you want covered and the security features your home. You could also be asked to list certain possessions that you want specifically protected by personal possession insurance, especially if they are on the expensive side.
When reviewing quotes, you should make sure you read the exact policy wording to fully understand the specifics of what you are and aren’t covered for. And don’t shop by price alone – you’ll need to consider any additional extras included, as well as things like customer service reviews and whether items will, in fact, be covered outside the home.
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