Home insurance

Contents insurance explained

What's covered in your home by a standard contents policy

Contents insurance generally covers possessions you'd take with you when moving house, or anything that isn't a fixed feature of your home.

To make sure you'd be fully covered if you had to replace the contents of your home – after a fire, for example – it's important to work out how much it would cost to replace all of your contents with new items.

Home contents insurance explained

What a typical contents list might include

  • household goods – appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions and computers
  • furniture and furnishings – beds, sofas, curtains and carpets
  • valuables – jewellery, watches, mobile phones, cameras and works of art
  • personal belongings – clothes, shoes and bags
  • money – cash, cheques, premium bonds and travel tickets

You can use our home contents calculator, or download our free app to work out the cost of replacing your possessions. These will help make sure you don't miss any items that should be covered.

Once you've worked out the value of your contents, you can get contents insurance quotes from those insurers and brokers who can offer the level of cover you need.

What are your contents insured against?

Contents insurance provides cover against a range of events, which commonly include:

  • theft
  • vandalism
  • fire damage
  • water damage
  • storm damage
  • earthquake damage

New-for-old contents insurance cover

Through wear and tear, some items in your home may not be worth much in their current condition, but replacing them with new ones if they were lost or damaged could be costly. Many insurers take this into account and offer contents insurance policies which provide new-for-old cover on most items, except for less durable things like clothes and linen.

Indemnity cover (which might save you money)

If you're looking to save money on your contents insurance, some insurers offer indemnity cover which takes into account the cost of wear and tear when an item is replaced. Premiums for indemnity cover are lower, but you'd only receive a portion of the cost of replacing damaged or lost items when a claim was paid.

Will a contents policy cover your valuables?

A typical contents policy will set an upper value limit for single valuable items. If you have valuables with a higher value, check to see whether additional cover is available for these items.

Keep receipts for items worth over £500; a valuation or proof of purchase may be required when you make a claim. Also keep photos and a description of valuable items, making a note of any serial and model numbers, as this will help if an item is stolen.

Policy excesses, and how they can bring down the cost of your premium

The excess is the amount you pay towards a claim on the policy, so check the excesses that apply if you're thinking of buying a contents insurance policy. Most insurers specify a compulsory amount, but you can choose to pay an additional voluntary excess which may reduce the cost of the policy premium.

Additional contents cover

If you'd like cover for valuables and belongings which you take out of the home, look for a policy where optional 'away from home' cover can be added. For extra protection for contents while they are in your home, consider a policy which provides additional accidental damage cover.

On some policies, accidental damage cover is included as a standard feature for particular items. Bear this in mind when you compare quotes for contents insurance.

Contents insurance

An excellent level cover for your home - with the flexibility to add the extra cover that you need