Single article limits

Contents insurance often includes a single article limit clause. Find out what this means and make sure your possessions are covered.

amy smith
Amy Smith
Updated 2 September 2022  | 3 min read

What does ‘single article limit’ mean?

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.

How does the single article limit work?

You’ll be asked to list high value items, such as jewellery, art and antiques, when you get quotes for contents insurance policies. You can do this when you compare contents insurance with us.

Although you’ll have given the value of each one individually, you’ll also need to include their value in the estimate you give for the total value of your contents.

For example:

  • Say the total contents of your home are worth £50,000
  • But you also have a high-value watch worth £18,000
  • Add the value of the watch to your home’s total contents value
  • The total contents value is now £68,000
  • The single article limit is £1,500, so to fully cover your watch you’ll need to list it separately on your policy as as an item that exceeds the single article limit. This usually costs extra.

Is there a maximum limit for valuables?

Yes. Each insurer has its own limit for the high-risk items and valuables covered under each policy. It can be a percentage, for example 30% of the total contents value, or an amount like £20,000.

The valuables limit and the single article limit are different things.

Valuables are defined in your policy as particular ‘high risk’ items, like jewellery, antiques and artwork. They won’t necessarily be worth more than the single-article limit.

But if any of your valuables are worth more than the single article limit, you need to list them seperately on your policy so that they’ll be covered to their full value.

How does the valuables limit work?

Let’s say your total contents value is £53,000 and your valuables limit is £20,000. And then you have a single item limit of £1,500 too.

  1. You make a claim for a necklace worth £1,000, designer shoes worth £1,000 and a piece of art worth £1,500 – so £3,500 in total
  2. In this case, you would be able to claim for the total cost of your valuables. They’re collectively below the valuables limit and each item is less than the single article limit
  3. But, if you were also claiming for your watch worth £18,000 you would only be able to claim for its full value if you’d declared it as being worth more than the single-article limit.
  4. This boosts the total cost of your valuables up to £21,500, which exceeds the valuables limit of £20,000
  5. You’d only be able to claim £20,000 in total, not the full £21,500.

Check your policy documents to see how your own insurer treats high-value items and the single article limit.

What items are considered ‘high risk’ and ‘valuable’?

Many items in your home could exceed the single article limit. According to our data,[1] the 10 most popular items declared separately as valuables on home insurance in 2021 were:

  1. Jewellery

  2. Laptops and equipment

  3. Bicycles

  4. Watches

  5. Computer equipment

  6. Gold items

  7. Televisions

  8. Sports equipment

  9. Musical instruments

  10. Artwork

Getting your items valued

How much you paid for an item or how long ago it was given to you doesn’t always reflect its value.

If you’re not sure how much you should insure an individual item for, it’s a good idea to get it valued.

Having your high risk and valuable items valued will give you an accurate figure to give to your insurance provider.

This will help you fully cover your possessions without paying more than you need to.

You usually have to pay to have items valued, but it could save you in the long run.

You can also use our contents insurance calculator> to work out how much cover you’ll need for everything in your home.

Will expensive items increase my premiums?

Yes, 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 with separate, specialist cover, 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.

Items you take out of the house with you, like watches or tablets, could be covered under a personal possessions policy and insurance for gadgets may be an option for your electronic devices.

It’s always best to read the policy documents carefully to make sure you’re getting the right cover.

Home insurance policies provide for a wide range of items but it’s always best to declare specific items of interest, and particularly those you consider to be the most valuable, to your insurer. 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 so you can put additional valuables insurance in place to make sure those items are accounted for too.
Ceri McMillan – GoCompare's Home Insurance Expert

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[1]Single items most frequently covered on home insurance policies purchased through GoCompare between 1 January 201 and 31 December 2021.