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Home and living

What is contents insurance & do I need it?

The average total price of a UK household’s contents is around £30,000. Could you afford the cost of replacing the £30,000s’ worth of contents within your home if it was destroyed? If the answer is no, keep reading.

Although your home is arguably one of the most expensive investments/outgoings in your life, we know you’ve worked really hard to obtain everything within it too. Have you ever taken the time to add up the cost of all of your household belongings? Between technology, furniture, clothes and other items, we bet it would add up to a lot of your hard-earned money! But what would you do if something happened to your home which meant all of your belongings, including high value items, were gone?

Here we’re taking a look at a type of home insurance that can help protect your possessions within your property.

What is contents insurance?

Taking out contents cover means that if anything happened to belongings within your home (if they were stolen or damaged by fire/flood), the costs would be covered by your insurer. It’s a way of protecting the money you spent on the items within your home.

It usually includes cover for when your property is empty (for example, when you’re at work) and some insurers, like Endsleigh, will even provide you with alternative accommodation if your home suddenly becomes unliveable.


What does contents insurance cover?

You may get confused when thinking about how contents cover compares to buildings insurance. As a general rule of thumb, contents cover usually protects items such as:

• Clothes
• Jewellery
• Furniture
• Furnishings
• And so on

How does contents cover work?

You’ll probably have some questions about what happens if you need to make a claim and what will this claim look like. Let’s break things down to help make things clear.

Insurers tend to supply two types of cover which will vary depending on different sections of a policy.

1) New for old

This does what it says on the tin. If something happens to your belongings in line with your policy, your insurer will pay out for a new product which is of the same value as the one which was stolen/damaged.

2) Indemnity

This focuses on ‘wear and tear’. So if your curtains originally cost you £200 a few years back, the insurer will take into consideration other factors such as age and will only pay what the item is worth in its current state.

Whether you’re covered by new for old or indemnity will largely depend on the insurer and the type of insurance. But usually, there is a varied mix of both types of cover across individual sections of your policy. To make sure you’re getting the best home contents cover for you, it’s worth checking the policy details when you get your insurance quote.


Do I need contents cover?

Whilst contents cover isn’t compulsory, if you’ve worked hard for your home and belongings, you’ll probably want to protect them, right?

When deciding whether you want to protect your belongings with contents cover, it’s a good idea to consider a few scenarios.

Imagine this:

You’re at work and you get a call from a neighbour to say that there’s been a break-in. You rush home to find that many of your favourite (and valuable) belongings are gone. We’re talking jewellery, designer shoes, pieces of furniture, artwork and so on. You don’t have contents cover in place, so nothing can be done to make up for the loss of your items.

The same can be said for other scenarios. Imagine there was a fire at your home which destroyed many of your belongings. If you aren’t insured for your home’s contents, you can’t claim for the destroyed items.

In both of these circumstances, if you had cover in place, you’d be able to claim for the amount you specified in your insurance policy. Although you may not be able to retrieve your belongings, at least you’d have financial cover for everything that has been lost.


Will contents cover include accidental damage?

If you’re known for being a little clumsy, this may be a question you’ll want to pay attention to. Although accidental damage may not come as standard on contents insurance policies, you can tailor your policy to your home, adding on any additional cover you think you’ll need. As well as accidental damage, this could include home emergency cover and legal cover.

What is home emergency cover?

As with accidental damage, home emergency cover can be added onto your policy should you wish. This policy covers you for emergencies such as lost keys, burst pipes, plumbing issues, roofing problems and so on.

So, if on one Sunday night you’re faced with a plumbing crisis, 24 hour cover would mean that you wouldn’t need to be frantically searching for out-of-hours services that could leave a hefty hole in your pocket.

What is legal cover?

You may also like to think about adding legal cover to your policy. This type of insurance will not only provide you with legal representation for issues within your home, but also your employment, personal injury and other contracts too.

Find out more about Howden’s range of home insurance policies today.

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