If you have arranged home contents insurance you should be covered if any of your possessions are stolen from or damaged in the home.
You could, for example, claim on the policy if a flood ruined the carpet or a burglar pinched your TV.
But what about belongings you take out of the house?
We carry around all sorts of valuable stuff these days – most people don’t leave the house without a mobile phone or an iPod, maybe even a laptop or tablet computer.
But most people are also unaware that many standard contents policies do not cover personal belongings outside of the home.
In other words, if you leave your phone on the train or a thief takes your tablet, you would not be able to make a claim.
However, most insurers offer personal possessions cover as a separate option that you can add to your home contents insurance for an additional fee.
And some firms even include personal possessions cover as part of their top-end contents policies.
Loss, theft and damage
Personal possessions cover insures your belongings against loss, accidental damage and theft when you are out and about.
It typically includes items, such as handbags, phones, jewellery, watches, cameras and musical instruments.
You’ll usually have to list any individual item worth more than a certain amount, usually about £1,000 or £1,500.
Many policies also cover cash up to an agreed limit, typically £500. If you are claiming for theft or cash or belongings, you will need to report the incident to the police.
Bike and sports kit
It’s important to check the details of the cover if you want to insure a bike or sports equipment because policy conditions vary.
Some insurers, for example, cover bicycles up to a certain value. And there might be stipulations about always using a certain standard of lock whenever you leave your bike unattended.
Fail to lock your bike and this sort of policy wouldn’t pay out.
Personal possessions cover usually extends across the UK and might even include up to 60 days abroad in any one policy year.
Some insurers offer different levels of personal possessions cover.
You might, for example, be able to buy a premium plan that insures cash up to £1,000 and includes bike cover up to £1,000 as standard. You could, however, pay a higher premium for a more generous level of cover.
If you are thinking of making a claim on your personal possessions policy, bear in mind that it does not cover wear and tear or damage through everyday use.
Other common exclusions are theft from an unattended vehicle, unless the item was out of sight, pets and other animals. Most insurers also exclude business cash, credit and debit cards.
You will have to pay an excess when you make a claim and some insurers apply different excesses to contents and personal possessions claims.
So, you might have an excess of £200 on your contents policy, but only £100 on your personal possession cover.
But remember that a claim for personal possessions will affect any no claims bonus on your contents insurance.
It might therefore be worth paying for any minor loss or damage yourself in order to preserve your no claims discount.