Home contents insurance is important if you have anything in your home. And pretty much all of us do. This goes for both tenants and landlords. One of the best things about this type of cover is that it’s incredibly affordable. However, it’s still important to know what a good home contents insurance policy looks like!
Great home contents insurance policies are difficult to spot sometimes. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of “must haves”, “should haves” and “could haves”. It is quite long, but it’s also essential that you’re aware of each detail.
After all, knowledge is power and it will help you determine the best home contents insurance policy for you. It’s the best way to avoid getting ripped off!
Home Contents Insurance Essentials – The “Must Haves”
Pretty much every home contents insurance plan should have these features. So, when checking your papers be sure to look out for:
- Valuables in total: Consider all items with significant value. That’s jewellery, watches, TVs, computers and works of art. In the event of loss, theft or damage, the policy provides compensation. Insurance providers normally give an overall limit on the amount they’re willing to pay, especially for items considered “high risk”. However, a good policy normally provides at least £12,000 or more.
- Other valuables: There something known as a “single item limit” – a limit placed on the value of each individual piece. Good examples are an expensive piece of jewellery or a painting. If your single, high-risk item is £1,500 or more, it is best to take out separate insurance.
- Money in your home: For whatever cash you keep in the house. Home contents insurance usually protects it from damage and theft. Cover often amounts to £500. Keep in mind that a policy doesn’t normally cover credit cards – that’s usually separate.
- Contents displayed in the open: Insurance should cover any contents on display in the open. However, this is only in the boundaries of your house/flat! Cover for this is usually £500 or more. Bear in mind that things like shrubs and plants around the house aren’t protected.
- Contents of Your Freezer: Insurance providers will even cover food when it spoils due to your freezer breaking down. Food in the freezer is normally covered for £300 or more.
- Theft from outbuildings: This is for items stored in buildings that are on your property, but not part of the main house. You should take out separate insurance for these contents. Cover normally amounts to £2,000 or more.
- Personal liability: Should a claim be made against you in the case of injury or damage to property, your home contents insurance policy should cover the legal expenses. This is usually around £2 million.
- Tenants liability is for tenants who want to be protected from legal responsibility when it comes to the damage or loss of the landlord’s property. You can expect cover for £10,000 or more.
Home Contents Insurance Essentials – The “Should Haves”
These “should have” features of home contents insurance policies are what should “ideally” be there. Policies may or may not contain these in their terms and conditions.
- Accidental Damage: Damage cover is for accidents that occur which could damage the contents of your house/apartment/flat. A good contents insurance policy offers it either as standard or gives you a choice.
- Water loss: Protection in the case of accidental leaking. Usually £1,000 or more – but it is not standard with most home contents insurance
- Index-linked sum insurance (also known as sum-insured protection). This includes the cost of contents replacement in terms of “new to old” on a yearly basis in line with inflation. By protecting your sum insured, you aren’t at risk of being underinsured.
- Special events increase: Special occasions may call for you to have more things in your home than normal. Weddings, Christmas and other occasions are the usual suspects here. Cover for this usually has a limit of £3,000.
- Personal possessions cover protects your own belongings when you take them out of your home. A good policy should have this option.
- Legal expenses: This covers any personal legal problems that may arise from property/employment disputes, injury claims etc. This should also be an option in your contents insurance
- Emergency repairs helpline: Most policies have one, and it should be 24 hours.
Contents Insurance Essentials – The “Could Have Features”
These are features that may or may not appear on your home contents insurance policy. Think of them as “optional extras”.
- Garden plants could be covered in the event of loss or damage (through fire, vandalism or theft). This can apply to plants, trees, lawns and shrubs. It is usually up to £500 or more.
- Key loss/theft: Some policies provide cover for the loss/theft of keys. In addition, this should cover the cost of replacing any locks. Some contents insurance policies only cover this if all sets of keys are lost.
- Business equipment: Cover for office equipment – if it is connected to your job. Printers, computers and office furniture are covered. It is also a good idea to tell your insurer if you work from home. Cover is usually up to £3000 or more.
Other Things to Watch Out For
There are a few other things to keep an eye out for when considering home contents insurance. These include contents excess: the amount of money you’ll have to pay toward a claim. Standard excess tends to be less than £100. Companies may ask lower premiums for higher excesses.