Compare contents insurance

Get cover for your beloved possessions. In this guide we explain everything you need to know about contents insurance.

What is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a type of home insurance policy that protects the belongings inside your home from risks such as fire, theft and flooding.

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance will protect more than just your phone and laptop. Here’s what a typical policy will cover:

  • Kitchenware. Pots, pans and white goods such as washing machines.
  • Furniture. Tables, wardrobes, beds, sofas and armchairs.
  • Furnishings. Curtains, carpets, cushions and bedding.
  • Decorations. Paintings and posters.
  • What you wear. Clothes and jewellery.
  • Gadgets and other electronics. Phones, laptops, TVs, games consoles.
  • Entertainment. Books, vinyl, DVDs.

Difference between contents insurance and buildings insurance

Contents insurance covers any belongings or items which you are physically able to move – so, anything not permanently fitted into the home.

Buildings insurance, meanwhile, protects the bricks and mortar of your property. This will also include any permanent fixtures, such as bathroom or kitchen fittings too.

The easiest way to work out what is covered by contents insurance is by asking this simple question: would you be able to put it into a moving truck if you were heading to a new home?

What contents insurance doesn’t cover

A contents insurance policy will only offer so much protection. Depending on your insurer, you might not be covered for the following:

  • Existing damage. The insurer won’t pay out for any loss or damage that occurred before the policy was taken out.
  • Structure of the home. You’ll need buildings cover if you want protection for the bricks and mortar of your home, as well as any permanent fixtures like sinks and counters.
  • Really expensive items. Standard contents insurance policies will have limits on the amount they will pay out for an individual item. If you have any items that are worth thousands of pounds you’ll probably have to take out extra cover.

Contents insurance exclusions

As with other types of insurance, home insurers will each have their own set of exclusions. Here are some reasons why the provider might refuse to pay out for a claim:

  • Wear and tear. Insurers will often refuse to pay for any claim that arises from wear and tear, rusting, corrosion, damp or vermin.
  • War. While unlikely, you won’t be covered for damages or losses that occur due to a war, invasion or a similar event.
  • Radioactive contamination. Home insurance might be the least of your worries if this happens. Yet insurers generally won’t pay out for any damages that result from ionising radiations or radioactive contamination from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste.
  • Pollution. Insurers won’t help should any damage or loss occur as a result of pollution or contamination.
  • Terrorism. Each insurance company will have its own specific definition of terrorism, but you shouldn’t expect any help should your home be damaged or destroyed by a terrorist act.
  • Deliberate acts. Should you or someone else willingly damage your home or its contents, the insurer will refuse to pay out.
  • Existing damage. The insurer will refuse to pay for any loss or damage that happened before your policy started.

How much is contents insurance?

There’s no exact answer here. The cost of your contents insurance will come down to a few factors:

  • Your level of cover. The higher the estimated value of your contents, the more the insurer will charge you in premiums.
  • Home security. You could be charged less in insurance if you have security features such as a burglar alarm installed.
  • Where you live. There’s not much you can do here, but high crime levels in your area can drive up your premiums. So too can living in a flood risk area.

What’s personal possessions cover?

Personal possessions cover will protect your belongings outside of your home. It could be included as standard in your contents insurance.

Generally, though, you will have to pay extra and take out an additional policy. If you choose to do so, it can cover the following for theft, loss and accidental damage:

  • Bikes
  • Laptops
  • Phones
  • Keys
  • Cash
  • Jewellery
  • Cameras and other gadgets

What can I do to bring down my premiums?

There is a long list of things we’d rather spend our money on than insurance, so here are some tips for cutting contents insurance costs:

  • Only pay for the cover you need. By walking around your home and getting an accurate estimate of your contents’ total worth, you can make sure you don’t overpay for insurance.
  • Pay annually. Insurance companies will charge you more if you pay in monthly instalments, so try to pay for your contents cover in one annual fee.
  • Agree to a higher excess. An excess is the amount you have to contribute towards a claim before the insurer starts paying out. By agreeing to a higher excess you can lower premium costs.
  • Never auto-renew. Loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to insurance, so when your contents cover is a few weeks from rolling over, shop around and compare quotes. You might just find a better deal.
  • Build a no claims discount. Avoid making small contents cover claims if possible and insurers could reward you with lower premiums.
  • Install alarms. One quick and easy way to lower costs is to install burglar and smoke alarms.

Frequently asked questions

The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

Written by

Esther Wolffowitz

Esther Wolffowitz was a publisher at specialising in insurance. Esther holds an MSc in Media and Communication Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). See full profile

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