Cover for the food in your freezer is available on many home insurance policies, either as a standard feature or optional add-on. Find out more...
The food in your freezer might not be your first priority when it comes to choosing your home insurance.
But have you actually stopped to think about how much the loss of the contents of your deep freeze could cost you?
Many people use their freezer to stock up on costly meat and convenience foods, and perhaps have a second, larger freezer in a larder or utility room to store more.
If you’re preparing for a summer barbeque or you’ve just completed the big Christmas shop, the cost of all that frozen party food could add up to hundreds of pounds.
Freezer contents cover could pay for the losses if the food in your freezer becomes inedible, usually due to an event such as a power failure that results in the victuals defrosting and being spoiled.
Some policies also offer provision for the hire of a replacement freezer for a certain amount of time.
If there’s a power cut or your freezer malfunctions, you could lose food adding up to a substantial value.
Consider how much the food in your freezer is actually worth – it might be more than you think.
But also remember that there may be an excess applied to any claims, so the pay-out you receive will be reduced by the amount of the excess.
If you have a high excess, think about whether it’s worth claiming in the first place.
For example, if your freezer loss is only marginally higher than the excess attached to your policy, perhaps you're better off footing the bill yourself, as a claim might mean your insurance premiums go up next year.
Most insurers will have cover for damaged food caused by rising or falling temperatures, or fumes escaping
Ben Wilson, Gocompare.com
Freezer cover is included as standard in the majority of home policies.
On 12 August, 2014, Gocompare.com reviewed 321 home contents policies listed on the matrix of independent financial researcher Defaqto.
It was found that 87% provided some level of freezer contents cover as standard.
A further 9.5% had freezer contents cover available as an optional extra and only 3.5% of policies could provide no freezer cover at all.
Check the wording of your policy’s terms and conditions to see exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.
“We all love our food and it can be infuriating to find your frozen food wasted because of a freezer fault,” said Gocompare.com’s Ben Wilson.
“Most insurers will have cover for damaged food caused by rising or falling temperatures, or fumes escaping.”
As well as checking if you’re covered for freezer contents, you should also check whether the level of cover is adequate.
Many insurers include a limit on the claim amount and this limit could vary significantly between providers.
However, cover is often quite generous. In Gocompare.com’s August 2014 study, 27% of the policies that included freezer cover as standard offered compensation up to the total figure given for the home contents insurance.
If your freezer breaks down and you need to make a claim for spoiled food, you’ll need to tell the insurer exactly what you’ve lost and its value.
Don’t be tempted to exaggerate – if the insurer suspects your claim is too large, it may compare the items declared against the cubic volume of the freezer.
If it finds the quantity improbable, it could decline your entire claim for being fraudulent.
As noted, before claiming you should also consider excess levels and the effect that a claim could have on your renewal premium.
A successful freezer cover claim is often subject to meeting a number of conditions.
Your insurer might place an age limit on the freezer to be covered - stating that the freezer must be less than 15 years old, for example.
Your policy could have other exclusions too, such as freezers in houses that are unoccupied or unfurnished, so check your policy documents carefully to make sure you’re covered.
“Be mindful that there may be an excess to pay and your insurer may not pay out if the fault was deliberately caused by someone, or if your home was unoccupied for a long period of time, “said Wilson.
“Furthermore, any claim you make could affect your premiums in the future.”