A simple guide to contents insurance

Finding the right Contents Insurance policy can often be a confusing and tedious process. No one wants to spend hours reading the small print of policies to find out that they’re underinsured after an accident. Our Contents Insurance, launching soon, is different, it’s fast, easy, and you can do it all from the app.

We’ve created this simple guide to break down the jargon and ambiguity of Contents Insurance, helping you find the right policy to suit you.

What is Contents Insurance?

Where Buildings Insurance protects your physical home (read all about Buildings Insurance here), Contents Insurance protects the things inside your home, like furniture and electrical appliances, from theft, damage, fire or flooding. It’s not compulsory but it’s a good idea to prepare for unexpected circumstances.

How much Contents Insurance cover do I need?

When it comes to Contents Insurance, you don’t have to work out the exact value of everything you own, but you should have a ballpark figure. Walk through each room of your house listing things like electrics, furniture and decorations. There are plenty of online calculators to help you work out how much cover you need too.

What types of Contents Insurance policies are there?

There are three main Contents Insurance policies that are available on the market. These include:

  • Sum Insured: This is where you personally calculate the amount of contents cover you need, based on your valuables and belongings.
  • Unlimited Sum Insured: All your contents are covered under this policy, which is why this tends to be the most premium option.
  • Bedroom Rated: Insurers will work out the amount of cover you need based on the number of bedrooms your property has. Most policies under this name will provide between £40,000 and £50,000 as a standard. However, it is still important to work out how much your possessions are worth as this policy may not be enough to cover them all.

 What should Contents Insurance cover?

Contents Insurance protects your belongings, so everything you could take with you if you decided to move house. This includes things like:

  • Furniture
  • Entertainment
  • Toys and antiques
  • Clothes and jewellery
  • Electricals
  • Kitchenware
  • Soft furnishings (cushions, curtains, bedding)

A Contents Insurance policy protects these things from theft, damage, fire or flooding. Be sure to check your insurance policy as high value items, such as jewellery or art and even some high-tech electronics, may not be covered.

When it comes to Contents Insurance, you don’t want to underinsure your possessions but equally, you don’t want to over-insure them. Take a look at our blog ‘10 steps to avoid underinsuring your home’ to ensure that you have the right level of protection.

What’s not covered by Contents Insurance?

While most contents insurance policies are fairly inclusive, there are some instances where you would not be able to claim. For high-value items, you will most likely have to take out a separate insurance policy, so assess your valuables against your policy limit and excess.

You cannot claim on some items if you lose them or have them stolen while you are away from your home, so check what the terms are on your policy for items like mobile phones and jewellery, that you will often have on you while out and about.

It’s important to note which type of cover you have according to your policy. ‘New for old’ cover means that you’ll get paid what it costs to replace the items, and ‘indemnity’ cover means that you will only be paid the current value of your possession. This can be costly if you need to replace any appliances or furniture that have devalued since first purchased.

How do I save money on my Contents Insurance?

  • Don’t auto-renew your policy without shopping around first.
  • Pay annually – monthly premiums usually cost more.
  • Buy buildings and contents insurance together, you will usually get a discount, and it will make managing your insurance much easier.

 Do tenants need Contents Insurance?

While people living in rented accommodation do not need Buildings Insurance (this will be paid by the landlord, it is advisable to take out Contents Insurance to cover their belongings. As outlined above, Contents Insurance not only covers possession, but also furniture.

If you’re in a house share and only want to insure your own possessions, then you will get a different kind of policy.  The quote may be lower because you are insuring fewer items, however, as you are living with non-family members, you are treated as a greater risk so you will likely have to pay a higher premium on your contents insurance. If you are getting room-only insurance, your room will need to have a lock on it, and any of your items stolen or damaged in communal areas of the building will not be covered.

 Do students need Contents Insurance?

Students may want to opt for Room-Only Contents Insurance (as detailed above) when at college or university to protect their belongings in the room.

But check the family Home Insurance policy, as some providers cover students’ possessions under the parent’s contents insurance under the ‘temporarily removed from the home’ section. If a student still lists their parents’ home as their main address and returns home during the holidays, then belongings may still be covered and you will not need to take out a separate contents insurance policy for university.

 

Making a claim 

How do Contents Insurance claims work?

For small and standard Home Insurance claims, you will be required to fill out a claims form and return it to insurer within the timeframe set out in your policy. This will need to include your policy number, claims number and an explanation of what has happened. This can also be done over the phone.

If your claim is for a large amount, your insurers may send out an investigator, known as a loss adjuster, to confirm the loss or damage and assess how much it will cost to replace or repair.

In the case of a burglary, always call the police first, not only will they need to investigate, but they will also give you a crime reference number which will be needed when you make an insurance claim.

As long as you have filled out your insurance application honestly and accurately, claiming will be easy. Depending on what your excess is, you will need to pay this sum, the rest will then be covered by your insurer.

With Homelyfe, you’ll be able to initiate your claim from the app, making it much easier.

What evidence do I need to provide when making a claim?

When you make a claim on an item, you will need to provide a receipt to prove that you originally purchased the item and how much for. Let’s face it, we don’t always keep every receipt and they can be hard to sift through, so if you cannot find the original receipt you can look through your credit card or bank statement for a proof of purchase.

You will then need to provide photos or videos of the damage to accompany your story of what happened. For larger items, such as furniture and fittings, the insurer may come to your property to assess the extent of the damage before paying out.

Can I claim on accidental damage?

Absolutely- that’s what having insurance is for. It does mean however, that if you damage an item on purpose, then you can’t claim for it.

Keeping your Contents Insurance policy up-to-date is incredibly important. Not disclosing any major changes like investments in technology (which may be worth more than your singe item limit on your policy) could invalidate your policy.

 

Everything we do at Homelyfe is aimed at making insurance easier for everyone. That’s why we don’t ask you any unnecessary questions when buying Contents Insurance, so you can find the perfect cover in only 4 minutes. Find out more about our Contents Insurance here.

 

If you have any questions about our guide feel free to tweet us at @Homelyfe.

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