Contents insurance covers damage to or the loss of contents within your home.
This includes furniture, electrical goods and other items within your house, and will also cover items you may take outside of your home, for example, a camera or jewellery.
Different contents insurance policies offer different levels of cover, but generally you will be covered against theft and fire, and have the option to insure against damage that you may cause by accident.
What is covered
Some insurance companies have limits on the value of any one item that they will cover under the general terms of a contents insurance policy, so you might need to specify individual items that are particularly valuable, such as expensive items of jewellery or electrical equipment. You may be asked to provide the insurance company with a receipt or valuation as proof of the value of any items that are specifically named (and therefore covered) by a contents insurance policy.
Your contents insurance cover may be affected or cancelled if you leave your house empty for a long period of time, or if you let it out.
Damage to the building itself will not be covered. This needs to be covered separately with a buildings insurance policy.
Many insurance companies will offer discounts on a contents insurance policy if you have a burglar alarm or window locks fitted at your house, or if you are a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
You may also be able to get a deal if you combine contents insurance and buildings insurance.
Most contents insurance policies have a standard excess charge, which means that you agree to pay the first part of any claim, for example the first £50 or £100. If you agree to pay a higher excess you may be able to get cheaper cover.
Make sure that you always compare exactly what is covered by a contents insurance policy, not just the price. Some policies may be cheaper than others; however they may not offer the same level or scope of protection.
Level of cover
Some contents insurance policies offer cover on a ‘new for old’ basis. This means that the insurer will replace damaged appliances and possessions that may be of a certain age with new ones, should you need to make a claim.
Always bear in mind that your contents insurance premiums may increase the following year. The insurance company may also refuse to cover you for the same risk, if something happens more than once (for example) and you had to make repeated claims on your policy.