Contents Insurance: An Ultimate Guide

Wondering what contents insurance is, and what it covers? You’ve come to the right place! There are quite a few things to consider when choosing the right insurance for you and your family’s possessions. Let’s take a closer look in our ultimate guide to contents insurance…

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance covers loss or damage to anything in your home that is not part of the structure, fixed or fitted. It usually applies to furniture, clothing, jewellery, and electrical goods, however, you can also include personal possessions insurance to cover things that are designed to be taken away from your home such as bicycles, cameras, laptops, and mobile phones.

Do I need contents insurance?

Anyone can fall victim to burglaries, fires, burst pipes or accidental damage. Either way, you have a few options to consider:

  • Get insured
  • Self-insure
  • Hope for the best

Insurance is essentially a form of risk management where your insurer agrees to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your items. It is the most cost effective way to protect yourself against the risk of financial loss.

The term ‘self-insuring’, refers to putting your own money aside and using your savings as a safety net to support you in case something happens to your belongings.

Contents insurance: how much do I need?

The cost of insuring your contents varies depending on the amount of cover required, it can often be difficult to know how much contents you and your family own as items are collected over a long period of time, one of our contents insurance partners have put together a useful document to help, work yours out today: Contents Calculator

The cost of your cover will also be determined using  factors such as the area in which you live, what home security measures are in place and your history of previous claims.

Is contents insurance worth it?

Contents insurance is there to provide you with financial protection against a wide range of perils such as fire and theft.

It’s worth considering how you would cope if your most used or valuable items were lost, damaged or stolen and you didn’t have the money to replace them.

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance covers the cost of repairing and replacing any belongings that you keep in the home and outbuildings that are not fixtures or fittings.

Most contents insurance policies cover possessions that are damaged or destroyed as a result of an insured event such as: 

  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Theft
  • Burst pipes and water damage, including frozen pipes
  • Storms

However, most contents policies will not cover contents that are damaged or destroyed due to: 

  • General wear and tear
  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown if the item is coming to the end of its life

It is also worth double checking your cover to see if you are insured for:

  • Items taken away from the home
  • A period in which your property is left unoccupied
  • Accidental damage

You will not be insured for any items worth more than your insurer’s single article limit unless specified on your policy.

What to look out for before buying contents insurance

Single article limits

If you own any expensive items, you will need to be aware of your insurers single article limits. For items that exceed the insurer’s limits, you will need to make sure they are specified on your policy and a short description of the item must be provided so it is named on your documents.

Insurers will expect you to have some form of proof of purchase/ownership for specified items at the time of claim so make sure you have up to date valuations, receipts or photos.

Standard and Extended accidental damage

Usually, your insurer will have a form of ‘standard’ accidental damage included automatically which will be limited to just accidental damage to electrical items.

You will have the option to increase your cover to include ‘extended’ accidental damage for an additional cost. This extended option provides full accidental damage to all of your contents and includes things such as spillages on carpets or soft furnishings.


Make sure you have checked the excess on your chosen cover to ensure it is affordable should you need to make a claim. Also take into account that if you did ever need to make a claim for things such as mobile phones, TVs or laptops that the excess isn’t going to swallow up a large proportion of the value of your item.

What would you do if… You’re relaxing and spill a glass of wine on the sofa?

Extended accidental damage cover will cover the costs of getting your sofa cleaned professionally. If the sofa cannot be cleaned, the insurer will cover the costs of replacing your sofa with a new one of the same value.

What would you do if… Your suitcase or backpack was lost on holiday outside of the UK?

If you have opted to include personal belongings cover, your insurer will cover the costs of replacing the suitcase/backpack and all of the contents inside of it such as clothing, jewellery and electrical items. Don’t forget that any high value items will usually need to be specified.

For further advice, or to speak to someone about your contents, home, buy to let or business insurance, just get in touch.

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