Proof of purchase and contents insurance

When you make a home insurance claim for damaged or stolen belongings, you’ll probably be required to show proof of purchase, or proof of ownership, for any valuable items.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 25 January 2022  | 3 mins read

Do I need proof of purchase to make a claim on my contents insurance?

Unfortunately, not all customers are honest and insurers need to guard against fraudulent claims.

That’s why, if your home is burgled or your possessions are damaged in a fire or flood, most insurers require that you show proof that you owned the valuable items you’re claiming for, as well as evidence of what they were worth.

Having this proof to hand can help you receive the maximum reimbursement for your lost, stolen, or damaged items.

Key points

  • Insurers usually require proof of purchase or proof of ownership for valuable items before paying out for a claim
  • Original receipts are best but there are other ways to prove you owned an item
  • Professional valuations and certificates for antiques and heirlooms can be accepted as proof of ownership

What is proof of purchase or proof of ownership?

When making a home insurance claim, you’ll usually need to show proof of purchase or ownership for any item that’s worth more than a certain amount.

Depending on your policy, it could be required for single items that are worth more than £100, £500, or even higher.

The proof could be anything you can show to establish that you bought or owned the item. Things like receipts, bank statements, professional valuations or even photos showing the item in your home.

And in some cases, insurers may even accept packaging and instruction manuals as sufficient evidence.

What counts as proof of purchase?

An original paper receipt, an electronic copy or an email receipt for an online transaction is the ideal proof of purchase. This will show your insurer the cost of the item, the date it was bought and that it was you, a partner, or someone else living in your home, who purchased it.

If the item was a valuable gift but you have a receipt or gift receipt from the gift-giver, that counts, too.

How can I show proof of ownership without a receipt?

Not everyone remembers to keep hold of receipts, and they can get lost over time.

Plus, it’s unlikely you’ll have receipts for things like family heirlooms or antiques passed down to you.

Insurers recognise this. And, though every company will have their own rules and requirements, in many cases the following could be accepted as evidence of proof of ownership in the absence of a receipt:

  • Bank or credit card statements
  • Though they won’t show exactly what the purchase was, transactions will show who you paid and on what date
  • Photos of the item
  • Search out photos or videos that clearly show the item you’re claiming for in your home, or images of you wearing a particular piece of jewellery, which can back up your claim. Ask friends if they have any pictures they may have taken in your home, too
  • A warranty or guarantee
  • Product packaging
  • Operating manual or instruction booklet
  • The item’s serial number
  • A document of valuation
  • This is a date-stamped antique, art or jewellery valuation or certificate from expert professionals
  • Spare parts and accessories for the stolen or damaged item

What happens if I need to make a claim without proof of purchase?

If you can’t show any proof of ownership for an item, your insurer may still compensate you. However, the amount you receive will be based on an average replacement cost for the item. This could be a lot less than what you originally paid.

So, keeping receipts and other types of proof can really pay off.

What do I do if my insurance provider won’t pay out?

If your insurer rejects your claim because you can’t provide proof of purchase or ownership, then you could lodge a complaint to the insurance company using their complaints procedure.

If that fails, you can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to get involved in your case. If they decide the insurer has treated you unfairly, they can order them to pay your claim.

How can I be prepared in case I need to claim on my contents insurance?

It’s worthwhile thinking ahead and making sure you have what you need in case you need to make a claim in the future.

This type of evidence can help your claim progress quickly and smoothly, ensuring you get the correct compensation.

Make an inventory

Keep an updated list of your home contents. Remember to increase your contents cover if necessary and tell your insurer about any new, valuable items you acquire

Keep receipts

Use a folder to keep receipts for valuable items safe and store it in a fire-safe box, if you can. Take photos of the receipts and save digital copies to cloud storage, so they’re safe from things like fire and flood

Keep copies of bank and credit card statements

These could help prove your purchase and support any claims

Take photos

Take photos or even videos of your valuable items at home. Ideally, these should be marked with the date and show the make, model or serial number of a product. You may even want to include the receipt alongside it

Get valuations

Get regular, expert valuations or certificates with full descriptions for items like antiques, artwork and jewellery. Take photos of the items and keep them with the valuation certificates

Keep note of serial and model numbers

And keep any warranties and guarantees, too

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