Asking what's covered by contents insurance might seem a silly question. It covers everything inside your home. Right?
Well almost, but there are some personal items which are excluded from home insurance policies. From garden plants to prosthetic legs, you'll be surprised what might need extra cover – even if they live in or around your home.
It pays to be in the know, so play the Cover to Cover game show and discover what's in or what's out.
What's normally covered under my home insurance?
That depends on your policy and what you've agreed with your insurer. Contents insurance will usually cover common household items like your clothes, laptops, DVDs and TVs, and kitchen white goods.
But you might have some more unusual items in your home or things that you regularly take outside which aren't covered.
Take bikes, for example. They're usually covered under your contents insurance, but you'll need to let your insurer know when you have any which are over a specific limit. For our customers, it's an item worth £1,500 or more.
Most insurers will expect you to secure your bike when it's left unattended, such as attaching the cycle frame to a permanent structure by a security device. If in doubt, check with your insurer.
If you're a gardening buff, pop down that trowel and listen up – garden plants and machinery aren't always covered by contents insurance. So if you've spent several years creating an oasis full of expensive exotic plants, ask your insurer if they can provide the specialist cover you need.
Are prosthetic body parts included in my home insurance?
As shown in our Cover to Cover game show, artificial body parts such as limbs and false teeth are included in our contents insurance. But you'll need to select extra cover if you want them covered away from home.
For items such as wigs or other expensive cosmetics products, ask your insurer upfront whether you need additional coverage.
Are food and drink covered by my home insurance?
Our home insurance covers spoiled and perishable food and drinks up to the value of £500. We understand that sometimes things happen which you have no control over, like a power cut while you're away for the weekend. The freezer defrosts, and all your expensive steaks are ruined.
Home insurance varies from provider to provider, so do check with yours to make sure that they'll cover the cost of any ruined food and drink if your fridge or freezer stops working.
What about insuring valuables?
If you've got lots of great artworks, fine jewellery and designer clothes, then you should definitely have contents insurance. A typical contents policy will set an upper value limit for single valuable items – for us, this is £1,500 per item.
That's usually the maximum any insurer will pay for an item, and you can find the value on the statement of insurance that came with your policy. If you have individual valuables worth more than the upper value limit, check with your insurer to arrange additional cover.
Most insurers will treat the following items as valuables:
- Jewellery and watches – including items made of gold, silver and other precious metals.
- Technical equipment, including photographic gear.
- Audiovisual and gaming tech, including laptops, mobiles and tablets.
- Musical instruments.
- Paintings, artworks and collections, e.g. sets of coins and medals.
- Microscopes, telescopes and binoculars.
Take some time to calculate how much your valuables are worth. Think about their replacement value – not their second-hand value – as lots of insurers provide 'new for old' cover. This means that any lost or damaged items will be repaired or replaced as new.
Of course, there's nothing an insurance company can do to replace a one-off or family heirlooms – you'll be offered a cash settlement instead.
Does home insurance cover natural disasters?
Most home insurance policies will cover storm, flood, fire and (should you be really unlucky) earthquake damage. Check with your insurer what classifies as a storm: some cover winds up to a certain speed, but it can be a grey area.
If you live in a high-risk flood zone, then you may need to find specialist flood insurance.
Your property itself – including the roof, windows and any permanent fixtures in your home, such as your kitchen – will be protected by buildings insurance. If a storm damages any of your possessions, your contents insurance will take care of that.
Does home insurance cover tree damage?
Your buildings insurance should cover you against falling trees, branches, lamp posts, telegraph poles, electricity pylons or overhead cables. But as always, do check with your insurer.
Your cover should also include the cost of removing the object which has caused the loss or damage.
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