Contents insurance


  • We’ll refund up to £250 of your excess if you make a claim. Excludes accidental loss or damage claims^
  • Buy contents cover from £74 a year[1]
  • Compare prices from over 65 insurers[2]
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Compare prices from over 65 UK providers[2]

What’s home contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a type of home insurance. It'll pay out to replace your household items if they're stolen, or damaged by an event like a fire or a flood.

Contents insurance is different to buildings insurance, which only protects the structure of your home. Buildings insurance doesn't cover the items inside.

You can buy contents insurance as an individual policy, or with buildings insurance as a combined policy.

Man looking after baby in bathroom with clothes hung up to dry in the background

How does contents insurance work?

There are two main types of contents cover to choose from - ‘new for old’ and indemnity cover.

New for old cover

This is designed to replace your possessions with brand new equivalents.

So, if your three-year-old TV was damaged or stolen, new for old cover would replace it with a new equivalent model. Even though your TV may have depreciated since you bought it.

Indemnity cover

The depreciation of an item will be considered and the insurer will only pay out what it would cost to buy in the current market.

So, if you bought a new TV for £600 three years ago, and your insurer calculates it would only be worth £400 now, they’d only pay you that amount to replace it.

You’d likely only be able to purchase a second-hand equivalent model or a new TV of lower quality. Otherwise, you’d need to pay the difference to buy a new equivalent model.

What does contents insurance cover?

It’s designed to cover all your household goods and possessions - from furniture and furnishings, to artwork, gadgets, appliances and clothing. In short, anything you’d take with you if you were to move house.

Any single item worth more than around £1,000 probably won’t be covered unless you list it separately on your policy.

Cover may vary, but many contents insurance policies include cover for:


Items such as sofas, beds, cabinets, tables and chairs. It’ll also cover soft furnishings and lamps.

Gadgets and electricals

TVs and laptops can be expensive, so it’s important to get them covered.

Home appliances

Home appliances like washing machines and fridge freezers are covered for damage, theft or loss. They won’t be covered for mechanical breakdown or wear and tear, though.

Clothing and jewellery

If your clothes or jewellery are lost in an event like a fire or flood, or they’re stolen, contents insurance will cover the cost of replacing them. Again, wear and tear isn’t covered.

Items in gardens and outbuildings

Many insurers cover items stored in a garden, shed or garage if they’re within the boundary of your property. You’ll still need to make sure they’re stored safely. For example, by padlocking your shed.

Artwork and ornaments

Artwork, collectibles and ornaments can be covered. If any item is particularly valuable, you’ll need to tell your insurer about it - they can list it separately on your policy.

Business equipment

Covers home office equipment like computers and printers. Business stock isn’t usually covered.

Cash and credit cards

Cash kept in your home will often be covered for theft or damage up to a limit, usually of around £500. Some policies also cover fraudulent use of your credit cards if they’re stolen from your home.

Digital information

Limited cover for the replacement of digital information following loss or damage to laptops or phones.

Freezer contents

If your fridge or freezer breaks down, the cost of replacing the contents inside is covered.

What’s not covered by contents insurance?

Wear and tear

You can’t claim for normal use, ageing and deterioration of your contents - for example, curtains that have faded or carpets that have worn threadbare over time.

Poor maintenance

It’s a condition of home insurance that you keep on top of home maintenance to prevent damage to your home and its contents. So you couldn’t claim for something like water damage to carpets because rainwater seeped into your home through rotten window frames.

Single-article limit

Policies usually have single-item limits - the most they’ll pay out for any single item, regardless of the total sum insured. This may be £1,000, £1,500 or more. Items that are over this limit in value need to be listed separately with your insurer or they won’t be covered in full.

Accidental damage

Unless you have accidental damage cover added to your contents insurance policy, you won’t be covered for mishaps like spillages or breakages.

Deliberate damage

You can’t claim for damage to contents that’s done deliberately by you, anyone living in your home or guests you’ve invited over.

Lost possessions

If you lose any of your belongings when you take them out and about, you won’t be covered unless you have ‘away from home’ cover, sometimes called ‘personal possessions’ cover, on your policy. This is usually available to buy as an optional extra.


Insurers may not pay out on a theft claim if you were negligent. For example, if you forgot to lock doors, left windows open or failed to activate your home alarm and were burgled.

Faulty workmanship

The cost of repairing and fixing any defective work you’ve had carried out isn’t covered. The same goes for any accidental damage caused by contractors during alterations, building or renovation work. Check your builders have liability insurance in place that’ll pay out for any breakages.

Mechanical breakdown

Contents insurance doesn’t cover mechanical or electrical breakdown of things like your TV and laptop.

Damage by pets

Most policies exclude any damage your pets cause - for example chewing, scratching or fouling on carpets.


Though your contents cover will protect your bicycles at home, cover for loss or damage when you take them out of the home is usually only available as an optional add-on.

What risks are covered by contents insurance?

Theft and vandalism

If you’re unlucky enough to be a victim of burglary or vandalism, home contents cover can help pay to replace the stolen or damaged items. You’ll need a crime reference number from the police to make a claim.


Protects you from loss or damage to your home contents from fire and smoke.

Flooding and burst pipes

Can pay out for belongings that are water damaged if flood water enters your home from an external source. This might be when a river bursts its banks or heavy rainfall causes groundwater flooding. You’re also covered if a water pipe bursts in your home.


You can make a claim if extreme weather conditions cause damage to the contents of your home.


You’re covered for the loss and cost of repairing damage to contents caused by subsidence. That’s when the ground beneath a building wears away and sinks, disturbing its foundations and causing it to move.

Who might need contents insurance?


Contents insurance covers all your household goods offering protection from theft, damage and loss.

Without it, you’d have to find the money to replace items yourself.


Contents insurance for tenants not only protects your own possessions in your rented home but can also cover the cost of repairing any damage to your landlord’s property if you’re responsible for it.

It could save you from losing your deposit because of a mishap, like spilling something on the landlord’s sofa.

Tenants’ liability cover as part of contents insurance can also help pay for legal costs if you had to go to court over a dispute.

Read more about renters insurance


If you’re lodging in someone else’s home and want your personal possessions to be covered for loss or damage, you’ll need to take out your own contents insurance.

Your belongings are unlikely to be covered by your landlord’s contents insurance policy.

Read more about lodger insurance


For students living in rented accommodation away from home, a contents policy will cover things like laptops, phones and televisions, as well as clothes and books.

In some cases, students’ possessions may be covered by a parents’ home insurance policy, so it’s worth checking before you buy.

Read more about student insurance

House sharers

You can get contents insurance that covers yours and your housemates’ possessions under one policy. Or choose a policy that just covers your own possessions.

This type of policy may stipulate that your door has a lock and that you don’t leave your possessions in communal areas.

Read more about shared home insurance


If you rent out a property that’s furnished, landlord contents insurance can protect your furniture from theft or damage.

Adding accidental damage to the policy can pay for repairs or replacements in the event of any mishaps.

Read more about landlord insurance

How much does contents insurance cost?

How much your contents insurance costs will depend on your circumstances, but we found that the average price people paid for contents-only cover is £74 a year.*

Insurers calculate your home insurance premium based on different risk factors that determine how likely you are to claim. 

Things like the value of your items, any previous claims and your location all affect the price of your contents insurance. 

Average cost of home insurance by cover type

How much contents cover do I need?

To calculate the total amount of contents cover you need, you should walk around your property making a list of all your possessions and how much it would cost to replace them as new.

Include everything you’d take with you if you moved home. (So, only exclude things like a fitted kitchen or bathroom suite). Everything else should be included in the calculation.

The total amount will be the sum insured - the maximum amount your insurer will pay out in the event of a claim. Most insurers will offer you around £40,000 - £50,000 as a starting point. If you think you need more than this, you can increase it. It’ll probably raise your premium price though.

It’s important to try to be as accurate as possible with your calculations. If you underestimate your home contents, your sum insured won’t be enough to replace all your possessions. If you overestimate your home contents, you’ll pay a higher premium than you need to.

Our contents insurance calculator tool can help you get an accurate figure.

Young adult man stirring a steaming pot in the kitchen

How to get contents insurance quotes

Before you can compare quotes, we’ll ask for a few details about your home and your possessions including:

  1. Your details

    Your name, address, who you live with and any previous claims.

  2. Your property details

    The type of property you live in, what it’s made of and any safety installations like alarms and locks.

  3. Type of policy

    Whether you want a new for old policy or an indemnity policy. New for old policies are usually the more expensive option.

  4. The value of your contents

    The estimated total value of the items in your home. Any high-value items worth around £1,000 may need to be insured seperately.

  5. Additional cover

    Whether you want accidental damage or personal possessions cover.

Get quotes

Contents insurance add-ons

You can add optional upgrades to your standard contents insurance policy, depending on what’s important to you. Things like:

Accidental damage

Insures against damage to contents that’s sudden, unexpected and not deliberate, like knocking a glass of red wine onto the carpet or the TV toppling over.

Home emergency

Can cover call-outs for emergency repairs – for instance, if your boiler breaks down, you have a burst pipe, blocked toilet or a broken front door.

Legal services

Pays up to a certain amount if you have to take legal action for something like a neighbour or employment dispute.

No-claims protection

Some companies let you pay an extra premium to protect your no-claims discount. Allowing you to keep the discount you’ve built up, even if you have to make a claim.

Personal possessions cover

Covers your possessions when you take them out of the home. Things like your watch and mobile phone, for example.


Extra protection for your high-value possessions including collectibles, works of art and jewellery.

You need to specify these on your policy if they’re worth more than the single-item limit. Proof of valuation may also be required.

What affects the price of home contents insurance?

Where you live

Your postcode plays a big part in determining what premium you pay. Insurers also look at how many claims are made in the area you live - more claims usually mean higher premiums.

Risk of flooding and crime

If you live in an area which has higher than average rates of burglary claims, you could face higher premiums. Similarly, if your home is somewhere that’s at risk of flooding, or close to water, your premiums are likely to be more expensive, too.

Value of possessions

If you have a lot of possessions and expensive items you need covered, it will cost more to insure.

High-value items

Especially expensive possessions will need to be listed separately on the policy to be fully covered and will raise the cost of your premium.

Type of home

Large properties with more bedrooms are typically more expensive to insure than smaller properties. Plus the type of property you live in affects risk and policy costs.

Who you live with

The more people, children and pets that live in your home, the more likely it is that you’ll need to make a claim.

How secure your home is

The better level of security you have in place, the lower your premium is likely to be. Consider installing approved door and window locks, burglar alarms and smart technology devices.

Claims history

If you’ve made home insurance claims in recent years, you’re likely to be charged more for your policy at renewal.

How to get cheaper quotes for contents insurance

There are things you can do to keep your premiums down:

  1. Pay annually rather than monthly

    Monthly payment plans have added interest which raises the price of your policy.

  2. Avoid auto renewing

    You could find a cheaper deal with another provider

  3. Only pay for what you need

    Only add optional extras you think are useful to you.

  4. Build your no-claims

    The more years you go without making a claim, the higher the discount you can get.

  5. Accurately value your contents

    Overestimating the value of your contents can mean you pay more than you need to for insurance. Try our handy contents insurance calculator tool to help ensure you don’t overvalue your contents.

  6. Compare quotes

    Comparing quotes from a wide variety of providers can help you find the right level of cover at the best price for your needs.

Single article limits - Don't leave yourself under-insured

Home insurance policies cover a wide range of items but it’s always best to declare specific items of interest to your insurer, particularly those you consider to be the most valuable. Anything worth more than the single-article limit specified by an insurer, which is usually around £1,000, is unlikely to be covered as standard by your home insurance.

So, if you do happen to own a particularly valuable piece of jewellery or a collectible item of any kind, it’s a good idea to discuss this with your provider. They can then put additional valuables insurance in place to make sure those items are accounted for."
Ceri McMillan – Go.Compare home insurance expert

Contents insurance FAQs

Cover for accidents like spilling a glass of wine on a rug or breaking a vase isn’t usually included as standard. You can add this type of cover to your policy for a fee.

It’s the maximum amount a provider will pay out for any individual item should you make a claim. The limit could be anything from £1,000 to £1,500. It could even be more, depending on the policy and level of cover. If you have valuables that are worth more than the single-article limit, you need to tell your insurer about them so that they can be listed individually on your policy. You’ll likely have to pay extra to do this, but it’s the only way to ensure that valuable items like art and antiques are adequately covered.

It may be worth insuring your valuables on a separate, specialist policy, such as a jewellery insurance policy. This way you can keep the cost of your contents insurance down and have the right protection in place for your valuables.

A new for old policy will pay out to replace lost or damaged items with brand-new ones of similar quality and specification, regardless of their age and condition. It’s different from an indemnity policy which considers wear and tear and depreciation of your household goods.

With a sum insured policy, you choose how much cover you need by calculating the value of your contents. Some levels of cover may cap the sum insured at a certain amount. But others offer unlimited cover for your contents - or unlimited sum insured. This level of cover is likely to be more expensive than a standard policy, but it means you won’t run the risk of being underinsured.

Mobile phones should be covered under a standard home contents policy against theft and damage from things like fire and flood.

However, you won’t be covered for damage or theft that occurs outside the home, unless you choose to add away from home cover to your policy. To be insured against common events like dropping and smashing your phone (or if it falls down the toilet!), you’d need accidental damage cover too.

Mobile phones can be expensive, so you should check if yours is worth more than the single-article limit of your policy. If it is, you’ll need to list it with your insurer as a separate item to fully insure it.

You can also buy mobile phone insurance separately. Sometimes it works out cheaper, and the cover can be more comprehensive than you’d get as part of home insurance.

Your pedal cycles (and in most cases electrically-powered bikes, too) should be covered under a contents policy when they’re at home. But to insure them against loss, theft or damage when you take them out and about, you’ll need to add bicycle cover as an optional extra. This covers your bicycles when they’re away from your home and often up to a certain number of days anywhere else in the world.

To be covered for theft, you mustn’t leave your bike unattended in a public place unless it’s locked to an immovable object or inside your vehicle.

Yes, you’ll be covered if items are stolen from your home. You’ll need a crime reference number from the police to make a claim.

Insurers can reject claims for theft if you didn’t take ‘reasonable care’ to avoid being burgled. For example, if you didn’t lock doors, left windows open or failed to activate a home alarm.

Most home insurance policies will provide cover for items kept in your garden, shed and garage as standard. But not all policies do, so be sure to check.

If it’s not included, you can usually buy garden cover as an optional add-on.

It protects things like garden equipment, lawnmowers, tools, garden furniture and plants too.

Some policies might stipulate that things like your lawn mower or garden tools need to be locked away overnight.

If you have a particularly valuable garden item, like an expensive barbecue, you’ll usually be able to pay an additional sum to list it on your policy.

Insurers consider an item as high risk if it’s particularly attractive to thieves. High-risk items are usually expensive and can be easily sold on to make money.

Examples of high-risk items are jewellery, gold, watches, artwork and antiques.

You’ll be asked by your insurer to specify any particularly valuable items you want to insure on your contents policy.

Be sure to let your insurer know about these items as their value may exceed your policy’s single-item limit.

The more high-risk items you want to insure, the more expensive your policy could be, but it can pay to ensure you’re properly protected and fully covered in the long run.

Yes, and it’s important to let your insurer know about any new, expensive items you acquire. You may need to increase your level of cover and pay an additional premium to be fully covered.

Students living in rented accommodation away from home should consider contents insurance. Check first that your parents’ home contents policy doesn’t already cover your possessions when you’re living away, though.

If you're sharing and/or living in a hall of residence, you may need to think about a dedicated student insurance policy.

You might find less insurers are willing to offer you a quote, particularly if you live in shared accommodation. Some insurers refuse cover, others add extra exclusions, especially if bedrooms don't have their own locks.

Always be upfront about your living arrangements with insurers. If you’re not, and you need to make a claim, your policy could be invalid. That means the insurer won’t pay out.

For valuable items, you might need to give your insurer a valuation certificate, or a receipt as 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.

Find out more about proof of purchase.

Home contents insurance policies last one year. It’s possible to buy temporary property insurance to cover your possessions while you're away if your home is left empty for a short period of time.

Out of 337 contents insurance policies on Defaqto, 75% cover possessions during removal as standard, so long as you use a professional moving company to transport them.[5] Possessions kept in a storage facility may also be covered up to a set amount of days.

If you rent the property you live in, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to pay for buildings insurance, but it’s up to you to protect your own possessions with contents insurance.

You can buy special tenants' contents insurance which not only protects your own possessions from things like theft, fire and flooding, but also covers accidental damage to your landlord’s furniture, fitted kitchen and bathroom.

You’ll need to tell your insurer if you move home as it could affect the price of your premium. You’ll have to let them know the new address, type of property, number of bedrooms, if the property has a history of flooding and so on.

You should also inform your insurer about any new high-value items you acquire during the policy term so you can be sure they’re covered, and you may have to pay an additional premium.

Your insurer will normally send you a default notice and you’ll be given a certain amount of time to catch up with payments - usually 14 days. If you don’t pay, your insurance will be cancelled, leaving you at risk.

Yes, you can build up a no-claims discount on your home insurance, just as you can on motor insurance. If you go without making a claim on your home insurance for a year, you get a discount on the cost of your insurance at renewal. And this discount grows for each year you remain claim-free, up to a maximum discount after a set number of years.

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Page last reviewed: 26 April 2023

Page reviewed by Ryan Fulthorpe

[1]The average price paid annually for home insurance purchased in September 2022 by type of cover. For buildings and contents insurance, it was £190. For buildings insurance only, it was £146. For contents insurance only, it was £74.

[2]As of January 2023, there are 68 active home insurers on the panel at GoCompare