What is contents insurance and why do you need it

Have you ever wondered how you’d cope if you lost your valuables to fire, theft or damage from flooding? Home is where the heart is, but it’s also where you keep the possessions that mean the most to you, so it’s important you protect them - that’s where contents insurance comes in.  

If the worst was to happen, a contents insurance policy would cover the cost of replacing your personal items to help put things right. So, what types of insurance are there? What does insurance cover? How do you get started? Keep on reading to find out the answers to all these questions and more! 


Why is contents insurance important?

Contents insurance is essential to help protect your valuable items and home comforts. According to the Association of British Insurers, the average value of a household’s belongings is £35,000. This is more than the average full-time worker earns in a year, so it makes sense to have this cover in place, to help cover the cost of replacing items if the worst was to happen. 

Jackie Finnegan, Operations Manager for Victory said:As your landlord, we would insure the building itself and in the event of a disaster, as our tenant, we would ensure we found you alternative, temporary accommodation. However, it is your responsibility to cover your own personal effects and possessions. We encourage all our tenants to take out home contents insurance to cover against fire, flood, theft and other risks. Carpets, furniture and white goods can cost a lot of money to replace and at a time of trauma it’s essential that you have this peace of mind.” 


What does contents insurance cover?

As a general rule, your ‘contents’ are the items you would take with you if you moved home. This will usually include: 

  • Furniture  
  • Kitchenware  
  • Electrical items   
  • Clothes and jewellery 
  • Ornaments and antiques  

You’ll usually be covered against theft, fire and flood, but cover for accidental damage tends to be an optional extra. Other common add-ons include ‘all-risks’ cover to cover your portable items when your away from home and legal expenses cover which covers the cost of legal proceedings if you need to defend a claim.  


What doesn’t contents insurance cover?

As with all insurance policies, there are items that won’t be covered by contents insurance. Some of these things could include: 

  • Fixtures and fittings such as a fitted kitchen – although freestanding objects such as a washing machine may be covered  
  • Wear and tear of items – gradual damage over a period of time  
  • Damage to a computer caused by a virus  

Your personal items are only covered by contents insurance when they’re in your home unless you pay for an add-on. So, if your mobile phone is lost or stolen when you’re out, it won’t be covered. The same goes if you leave your home for a long period of time and someone breaks in, this might mean your claim is invalid. 

What types of insurance are there?

When it comes to contents insurance, there are three main types of policies available: 

Bedroom rated – this type of policy uses the number of bedrooms in your home to calculate the amount of contents cover you get. These policies typically provide between £40,000 and £50,000 of cover. 

Sum insured – A sum insured policy requires you to calculate the amount of contents cover you need. 

Unlimited sum insured – An unlimited sum insured policy covers all your contents without any limit, so you don’t have to worry about being underinsured.  


How can I find the best policy?

Before you start looking for contents insurance quotes, you’ll need to know how much your possessions are worth. You can use this handy contents calculator to help you find the perfect amount of cover for you.  

We've teamed up with Aon and Aviva to help you protect the things that matter most to you. Before committing to any policy you should read the terms and conditions carefully to reduce the chances of being caught out if you ever need to make a claim. Check out Money Helper's guide to a good contents insurance policy, and read more about our policy here.

If you'd like to shop around for the best deal and compare quotes, comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket and are also very helpful.

We're here to help

Contents insurance isn’t just another policy to have like car insurance or travel insurance, it can really make a huge difference after a tragedy and provide you with real peace of mind, knowing that your possessions are protected. We hope this article improved your understanding of contents insurance and why it’s so important, however if you do have any more questions, we’re here to help! Get in touch with us on 0330 123 1860 and our friendly team will be happy to talk you through the process.