Home insurance typically has two parts – buildings and contents. Although often bought as a combined policy, they can be bought individually. Buildings cover will cover the physical structure of your home whilst contents cover will insure all your possessions – provided they are listed and disclosed properly.
If you are renting then your landlord will have arranged buildings cover to protect their property, so you only need to sort out contents cover. But how much should you insure for?
Value your possessions
Imagine if a fire ripped through your house – you will need to replace everything. So it’s a good idea to go through each room and tot up the value of replacements. This needs to include everything. Think of all you would take if you moved home – that’s what needs to be insured. Some of the often-forgotten items are:
- Curtains, blinds and carpets
- Furniture such as dining tables, bookcases and sideboards
- Pictures and mirrors
- Sofas and chairs
- DVDs, CDs and computer games
- White goods such as cooker, oven, washing machine and fridge/freezer.
- Jewellery, clothes and bed/mattress. (See below on valuable items)
- Computers, phones, iPads etc. (See below on valuable items)
- Outdoor furniture, lawn mowers and bicycles. (See below)
High risk goods
TVs, audio and visual equipment, cameras, computers and other electronic valuables are all considered high-risk goods . This is because they are easier to steal and break.
When you take out contents insurance, you’ll need to specify a maximum value of high risk cover. This value will normally not be more than half the total cover. For example; if you have £15,000 worth of computers, TVs, jewellery, speakers and other high risk goods, you’ll need a total cover of at least £30,000 in order to provide cover for these items, even if you don’t have £30,000 of ‘stuff’ in your home.
During the application process, you’ll have the option of insuring high risk items outside the home. You’ll also be able to insure against accidental damage. These two benefits will raise the cost of your insurance, but are often cheaper than separate mobile phone or laptop insurance.
Laptops, bikes and expensive items
Laptops, bikes and other expensive items need to be specifically detailed in the policy. The exact requirements to do this will vary from company to company, but expect to have to list any item worth more than £1,500. In addition to this, any bicycle worth more than a certain amount, likely £350, will also need to be specified.
Jewellery over a certain value will also need to be specified. Check your policy schedule after purchasing for any additional conditions. For example, you may receive a condition such as this: “The insurer will only cover loss or damage to specified items of jewellery with a value in excess of £7500 on condition that they are inspected by a professional jeweller at least annually and all defects rectified.”
Check that your contents insurance protects your garden valuables. There will probably be conditions associated with cover, such as needing all items to be specified and all gates/sheds locked. For more information, consult your policy booklet.
If you have any questions, or to get a free quote, give our friendly home insurance team a call on 01243 219333