Personal possessions insurance cover

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 16 December 2022  | 3 mins read

From treasured jewellery to mobile phones, designer clothes to high-end cameras, most of us have items we regularly take out and about that would be costly to replace if they got lost, stolen or damaged.

That’s where personal possessions insurance cover can step in to protect your belongings and provide peace of mind.

Key points

  • Standard contents insurance only covers your possessions when they’re in the home
  • For your belongings to be protected against loss, theft or damage when you take them out of the house, you’ll need personal possessions cover - often called away from home cover
  • This is usually an optional add-on to your home insurance that will cost extra

What's personal possessions insurance?

Contents insurance covers your personal possessions while they’re in your home.

But when you take your belongings out of the house, you’ll need personal possessions cover in place to protect them against loss, theft or damage. You'll sometimes hear it called away from home cover.

It can be included as standard on your house insurance policy, but more often than not it has to be added as an optional extra at an additional cost.

Depending on the policy, personal possessions insurance can include cover for things like:

  • Phones
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Cameras
  • Jewellery and watches
  • Bicycles
  • Keys
  • Wallets and purses
  • Personal money
  • Designer clothes and bags
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports equipment
  • Books

What does personal possessions insurance cover me for?

It provides cover for your belongings if they’re lost, stolen or damaged when you take them out of your home.

It can include things you wear like wedding and engagement rings or items you carry about with you - like laptops and bags.

You can choose the level of cover you need depending on the value of the belongings you regularly take out of the house.

Anything worth more than a certain amount (usually over £1,000 or £2,500, depending on the policy) needs to be specified and listed separately in order to be covered, for instance jewellery or bicycles.

Typical cover exclusions to watch out for

  • Damage caused by wear and tear
  • Items kept in an unattended vehicle, unless they’re hidden away from view in a locked car
  • Business or professional items such as work tools
  • Documents other than driving licenses and passports
  • Pets
  • Furniture, household goods and equipment
  • Food and drink
  • If your home insurance policy offers separate gadget, bike and sports equipment cover, then items covered under those add-ons will be excluded from personal possessions cover

What should I consider?

  • List the items you regularly wear or take out with you. Add up what they’re worth to be sure you’d be adequately covered if they were to get lost, damaged or stolen
  • Some policies cover all sorts of belongings including jewellery, clothes, gadgets, electronics and sports equipment. However, if your home contents insurance provider offers separate add-ons - like bike insurance, sports equipment insurance and gadget insurance - then items covered under those add-ons will be excluded from your personal possessions cover
  • Check the single-item limit on the policy. This is the maximum amount your insurer will pay out for an item, regardless of its value. So, for example, if the limit is £1,000 and your engagement ring is worth £1,500, that’ll be the most you’d be able to claim

Do I need away from home cover?

It’s completely up to you, but it’s definitely worth considering if you regularly carry high-value items around with you.

Are my possessions covered abroad?

Some policies will cover your personal possessions abroad, but not all, so it’s worth checking with your provider before you depart.

There’s usually a limit on how many days’ worth of cover you’ll have when you’re out of the UK - up to a maximum of between 30 and 60 days per year is common.

Alternatively, you can purchase a travel insurance policy that provides the cover you need.

It could also be worth looking into specific cover like jewellery or gadget insurance if you’re travelling for longer periods of time.

Do I need it for university?

Your parents’ personal possessions insurance may include cover for students’ belongings, as long as the student lives in the family home when they’re not studying. Don’t just assume this is the case though, check with your provider. Also, you may only be covered up to a certain limit.

Some halls of residence offer contents insurance, though this might not cover belongings you take to lectures, the library or the pub. You’d need to add personal possessions insurance or gadget insurance to the policy to be covered.

Are my possessions covered if they’re with someone else?

Provided the belongings are taken out of the house by someone who lives at the property, then they’d normally be covered.

In other circumstances, it depends on the provider. For example, you’d need to check if the policy covers items that are:

  • Out for repair
  • Stored somewhere other than at home
  • Being lent to a friend
  • Being temporarily moved - for example, if you’re moving house

Are there any other options for cover away from home?

You might already have personal possessions cover through your bank account, credit card or travel insurance.

Check the terms carefully to see whether it offers the right amount of cover for you.

Avoid doubling up on insurance as you can’t claim for the same items twice and it’s a waste of money.

Making a claim

To claim on your personal possessions cover, give your insurer a call and let them know what’s happened.

Gather as much evidence as you can - things like receipts for items and photos of any damage caused. If an item has been stolen, you’ll usually need a crime reference number from the police too.

You’ll need to have your policy number to hand and be prepared to pay your excess too.

How do I get away from home cover?

We’ll ask you if you want personal possessions cover when you’re comparing quotes with us.

If you already have home insurance, you can ask your insurer to add it on for you. Expect to pay for the cover and for making changes to your policy.