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Contents insurance is a type of home insurance. It'll pay out to replace or repair your household items if they're stolen, or damaged by an event such as a fire or a flood.
Contents insurance is unlike the other type of home insurance - buildings insurance. Buildings cover only protects the strurture of a property. It won't cover the contents inside.
If you're in need of contents insurance, it can be bought as an individual policy or with buildings insurance as a combined policy.
Your insurer will want to know the cost of replacing the entire contents of your home as new. That figure is for something catastrophic happening – like a fire or flood.
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 possessions.
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 look out for items you might’ve missed.
For anything worth more than £1,000, you’ll need to leave it out of this figure and list it separately. That’s because insurers usually apply a single article limit. It’s the maximum they’re willing to pay out for any one item. Single article limits vary between insurers, and sometimes based on the type of item. Check policy documents to be sure.
Contents insurance typically covers your possessions from sudden or unexpected damages, not caused by negligence. Most policies include cover for damage or loss by:
You should always check your policy's terms and conditions. You’ll find full details of what’s covered and the exclusions.
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.
On average, our customers pay £6.28 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:
A ‘single article limit’ on your contents insurance policy is a cap on the maximum you can claim per item.
The limit is usually around £1,000 but can vary depending on who your provider is.
You must declare items that exceed the single article limit, such as jewellery, gadgets, art and antiques. You can do this when you compare contents insurance with us.
The cost of your contents insurance is likely to increase if you add items to your policy that exceed the single article limit.
It can sometimes be better to insure 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.
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.
New items over the single article limit will need to be declared with your insurer if you want them covered for their full amount.
If the item is below the limit, you won’t need to declare it. Keep in mind you’ll have a maximum cover amount, say £40,000. If the item you’ve bought pushes you over this amount and you need to make a claim, you won’t be able to claim for more than £40,000 worth of contents in total.
Student living arrangements can be somewhat unique, but if you're living in rented accommodation away from home you may be able to find the cover you need.
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.
Even if you're not a student, but live in a shared house, things can be a little more complicated. Some insurers refuse cover for shared accommodation. 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 invalidated. That means the insurer won’t pay out.
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 policies last one year. It’s possible to buy temporary property insurance to cover your possessions while you're away if your home is empty for a short period of time.
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.
Some features of contents insurance aren’t included as standard. With these, you can usually add them on to your policy for a fee.
Some policies offer these add-ons as standard. It’s worth checking the price and cover level against other policies where you can pay to add them.
For accidents like spilling a glass of wine on a rug or breaking a vase.
So your possessions can be covered for loss or damage outside of your home. It’s for things like your mobile, jewellery and bikes. Anything worth more than £1,000 will need to be listed separately though. It won’t be covered by personal possessions cover.
 The average value of possessions insured on home contents insurance policies purchased via GoCompare between 1 Jan-30 April 2020 was £46,009.
* 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.
 52% of customers were quoted a monthly contents instalment amount of £6.28 or less with Gocompare.com (01 Apr 2020 to 30 Jun 2020)
 51% of customers who provided their contents only insurance renewal price saved up to £23.37 with Gocompare.com (01 Apr 2020 to 30 Apr 2020)
 Cost of home contents insurance falls to a record low, yet one in four UK households are uninsured. ABI.org.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
 There are 69 active home insurers on the panel at Gocompare.com. Last checked August 2020.
Page last reviewed: 16 November 2020
Next review due: 18 January 2021