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It's there to cover the cost of repairs or replacements if your possessions are damaged, lost or stolen.
Your contents are classed as any household items you own, or legally responsible for, that are not part of the structure of your property. This includes things like:
Basically, if it’s an item you’d take with you if you moved to a new home, then it's almost always covered by contents insurance, rather than buildings insurance.
You can buy contents insurance individually or with buildings insurance as a combined buildings and contents insurance policy.
Contents insurance protects you financially from things like losing your household possessions to fire, flood or theft. It may also include cover for damage or loss by:
It doesn’t usually cover damage due to general wear and tear, faulty workmanship, or pets. It won’t cover damage that happens while your home is unoccupied either. Usually between 30 and 60 consecutive days.
You can add extra cover for an extra fee with most insurers if it’s not included as standard. Typical add-ons include:
Because some policies offer these add-ons as standard, it’s worth checking the price and cover level against other policies where you can add them for a fee.
It’s not compulsory to have it, but it's a good idea. Without it, you’ll have to pay to repair or replace your possessions by yourself.
If you’re a tenant who rents or house shares, your building will be insured by your landlord, but your contents probably won’t.
If you’re a student, you may be covered by your parents’ home insurance policy so it’s worth checking with them first before buying your own cover.
You’ll need enough cover to repair or replace everything your own. When you compare quotes, you’ll be asked to provide the cost of replacing the entire contents of your home as new.
That figure is for something catastrophic happening – like a fire or flood.
The valuation you provide will determine how much cover insurers will offer you for one incident, unless otherwise stated.
It can feel a bit overwhelming having to put a price on everything you own. To help you work it out, on average, household’s in the UK have £46,009 worth of posessions.
Most insurers will offer you around £40,000 as a starting point. If you think you need more than this you can increase it. It’ll probably increase your premium prices though, so make sure you don’t over-insure yourself.
If you need to, you can use our contents calculator. It’ll help you itemise and look out for items you might’ve missed out.
The average value of possessions insured on home contents insurance policies purchased via GoCompare between 1 Jan-30 April 2020 was £46,009.
On average, our customers pay £9.68 a month for home contents insurance.
How much it’ll cost you depends on your own circumstances. Things like previous claims, how you pay, the value of your items and your location all impact the price of your premium.
There are always things you can do to keep your premiums down though:
For more tips on how to reduce your premiums, read our guide for cheaper home insurance.
*Between 1 Jan-31 Mar 2020, 52% of customers were quoted annual buildings and contents insurance premiums of £151.50 or less with Gocompare.com. 52% of customers were quoted annual buildings only insurance premiums of £110.50 and 51% of customers were quoted annual contents only insurance premiums of £65.50 or less.
You can cover items like bicycles and mobile phones with home contents insurance. But you won’t be covered for damages or theft that occur outside the home, unless you choose away from home cover.
If your item is worth more than the single article limit, you’ll need to list it with your insurer as a separate item too.
If you only need to insure these items, you could purchase individual bicycle insurance or individual mobile phone insurance instead. Sometimes it works out cheaper, and the cover can be more comprehensive than you’d get as part of home insurance.
In the event of a claim, your insurer will settle the amount of cover you receive on a 'new-for-old' or 'wear and tear' basis.
New-for-old insurance will pay out for the cost of replacing an item as if it were new.
For example, if someone stole or damaged your TV beyond repair, your insurer would pay to replace it with a model of the same retail value.
Some insurers may not offer you cover on a new-for-old basis, but on an indemnity basis instead.
Indemnity policies insure your possessions for their value after depreciation. They're sometimes known as 'wear and tear' policies and tend to be cheaper than new-for-old cover.
For example, if someone stole your two-year old laptop, your contents insurance would only cover you for the value of the item after two-years of use.
For valuable items, you might need to give your insurer a valuation certificate, or a receipt for proof you’ve bought it. Some insurers ask for them when you buy a policy, others might ask for them if you make a claim.
Home contents insurance will cover you for a twelve-month period.
You can buy temporary property insurance to cover your possessions while you're away if your home is empty for a short period of time.
Contents taken outside your home won't be covered for loss or damage without personal possessions cover.
This is an add-on that covers your possessions when your away from home. It usually protects items like your mobile phone, jewellery and bicycles.
Any items worth more than £1000 will need to be listed with your insurer separately.
Some insurers will cover the cost of repairs or replacement for every item in a set, even if only part of the set is damaged.
Not all insurers offer matching set insurance, so if it’s something you need, check the policy details for cover before you buy.
Page last reviewed: 15 April 2020
Next review due: 15 July 2020