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How Much Contents Insurance Do I Need?

16 July 2021

If you value your property, then you should consider contents insurance.

The problem is that contents insurance is rarely an off-the-shelf product. To get cover, you need to tell your insurer just how much your stuff is worth. This is something that you might not have thought about before.

We have created a brief guide to contents insurance. It explains what it is what it covers, and offers some tips on how to calculate how much contents insurance you need.

What is Contents Insurance?

Home building insurance covers the structure of home against insured loss or damage. It can also cover fitted fixtures including your fitted kitchen and bathroom.

What Does Contents Insurance Cover?

Contents insurance covers your property inside the home: Your personal possessions and valuables. It covers them for loss or damage as a result of fire, flood, and theft etc. Some contents insurance policies also protect you for small accidents, such as spilling a glass of water on your laptop.

You can even extend the policy to include loss or damage to valuables and possession away from the home such as whilst on holiday or loss of your mobile phone.

You need to cover all the items in your house, including clothes, curtains and carpets in the event of a total loss. Thought should also be given to specifying particular items, such as those that are expensive, are hard to replace, or collections you’d miss if they were lost, stolen or damaged.

When taking out a contents insurance policy, your insurer will ask you to specify the value of the contents you want insuring, which is called the sum insured. This is to help them determine how much it will cost to insure you, which will affect the cost of your premium.

Average Value of House Contents

It’s important that you don’t underestimate the cost of your house contents. If you do, you’ll find yourself out of pocket should you ever need to make a claim on your contents insurance. According to the Association of British Insurers, the value of the contents in an average three bedroom family home is £55,000.

That might sound like a lot. But when you think about the combined value of all the different items in your house, it soon adds up.

So when taking out a contents insurance policy, don’t just pluck a ballpark figure from thin air. To avoid being underinsured, take the time to work out how just much cover you need.

How to Estimate How Much Contents Insurance Costs

You need to go through your house, one room at a time, and add up the value of all the contents you want to insure:

  • Furniture – Sofas, beds, tables, chairs, wardrobes, cupboards etc.
  • Soft Furniture – Curtains, rugs, carpets.
  • Electricals – TVs, computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, game consoles etc. Your home insurance policy should cover most of your kitchen fixtures, including standalone kitchen electricals such as fridges, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and so on.
  • Valuables – Jewellery, antiques, paintings, musical instruments, bikes, sports equipment etc. You might also have some valuable wines and spirits, or some particularly valuable books.
  • Garden – Buildings insurance can cover your shed. But you’ll have to account for anything inside the shed in your contents insurance. Also take the time to add up the value of your garden furniture, your plants and bedding, and any play equipment.
  • Personal Effects – Clothes, shoes, toys, games, books, DVDs, CDs, records, tools, DIY equipment, and ornaments.

Can’t remember how much you paid for an item? Don’t worry. You should be able to find the replacement cost of almost any item in your house online. However, you might have to consult specialists if you need a price for jewellery, antiques, musical instruments, and other valuables.

You’ll have to renew your contents policy every year. When you do this, it’s important to recalculate the total value of your possessions. If you buy or replace anything over the course of a year, you should account for this when renewing your policy.

How Much is Contents Insurance?

A contents insurance policy is likely to cost you upwards of £100 a year. Certain things will affect the price of your policy. For example, if you own a lot of expensive valuables, you should expect to pay more for your cover.

Most insurers offer optional extras, including cover for personal possessions you take out of your home, and cover for any valuables you take abroad. These extras will push up the price of your policy, but for the added peace of mind it’s surely a price worth paying.

You can often make savings on the cost of your contents insurance if you get home buildings and contents cover from the same insurance provider.

Do I Need Contents Insurance?

While most mortgage providers will refuse to deal with you unless you have a home insurance policy, they don’t usually make such demands about contents insurance. Nor are there any laws requiring contents insurance. It’s completely up to you whether you get contents insurance. But if you truly value your possessions, then contents insurance is a no-brainer.

Contents insurance is the sort of thing you buy in the hope that you’ll never, ever need it. Should the unthinkable happen – if you fall victim to fire, flood, or theft, for instance – then you’ll be glad you took out contents insurance. It can cover you for like-for-like replacements, while a cash settlement can make losing anything you consider irreplaceable a little easier to bear.

At Hazelton Mountford, we specialise in affordable contents insurance for private tenants and homeowners. Our policies can include worldwide personal possession cover and alternative accommodation, if your home becomes uninhabitable following a fire or a flood.

Get more information and a free quote for contents insurance.