The cost of contents cover is at an all-time low, with the weekly price almost half the amount spent by a typical household on takeaways 1. But while it may be pocket-friendly, protecting our possessions isn’t always on the menu.
Our dependence on tech is one of the reasons why, these days, the average person owns a lot of stuff – around £35,000 worth to be exact 2. Yet one in four UK homes has no contents cover 1. If you’re among them and are thinking about the pros and cons of insurance, here’s what you need to know.
How does contents insurance work?
It’s designed to protect your belongings while you’re in your house or garden, and will usually cover damage and loss caused by events such as fire, theft and floods. For our customers, this includes money, valuables, food in your freezer and home office equipment.
Contents cover can be bought as a single policy or combined with buildings insurance (this protects the fabric of your home). Anyone making a claim should usually expect an excess charge. This is a fixed amount that you pay towards covering your losses, and your policy and insurer will determine the level.
Is contents insurance worth it?
This depends on what you own and whether you can cover the cost of any losses yourself. Fewer people take out contents insurance than buildings cover, but claims for belongings can still be substantial.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) estimates the average annual cost of contents cover is £ 127 1, the lowest price since the ABI began collecting data in 2012.
How much contents insurance do I need?
It’s essential you have enough to cover what you own so, before shopping around for quotes, estimate what it would cost to replace your possessions with new, similar items.
Some providers offer insurance up to a certain amount, while most cap pay-outs for single items. So, a piece of jewellery may worth £3,000, but if your insurer’s single-item maximum is £1,500, that’s what you’ll receive if you make a claim. It’s important to check this out with any potential provider.
The ABI has some useful advice on how to calculate contents insurance value:
- Make an inventory of all your possessions – there are plenty of apps that can help you
- Go through each room. Don’t forget to include items in attics, basements, sheds and garages
- If you no longer have receipts, search online or in shopping catalogues to help you work out the cost of each item
What contents insurance do I need?
Now you’ve made a list of your belongings, you’ll need to consider whether a basic policy is enough.
Do you have any particularly valuable items such as art, antiques or treasured family heirlooms? Do you want to cover them when you’re away from home? If so, you may need to boost your contents insurance with add-ons.
It’s also worth thinking about any other policies you have. Are your high-value possessions already protected by gadget insurance, for instance?
Once you’ve chosen a provider, tell them about any particularly expensive items you own to make sure your policy covers them. Do the same if you buy anything valuable after taking out your insurance.
What contents insurance options does Aviva offer?
You can buy contents cover as a single policy or take out AvivaPlus Home Insurance, which also includes buildings protection. For anyone looking to insure just their belongings, policies features include:
- An unlimited overall sum insured for properties with up to five bedrooms
- Cover in your home, garden and outbuildings
- Protection for belongings temporarily taken outside the home or garden
- New-for-old replacements or help with restoration and repairs
- Cover for cash kept at home (up to £750) including travel tickets, gift vouchers and phone cards
- The replacement of spoiled food if your freezer breaks down or is accidentally turned off
Aviva contents insurance does not protect against:
- Wear and tear and the cost of repairing breakdowns or faults
- Cycle thefts from the garden, unless bikes were secured to an immovable object
- Misplacing or accidentally losing items
- Loss of, or damage to, motorised vehicles, aircrafts, caravans or watercrafts of any kind
Can I add extra cover to my Aviva contents policy?
Yes, you can choose from a range of add-ons to suit your needs and lifestyle.
- Home emergency – if something sudden happens that causes a loss of essential services, this provides cover for labour, parts and materials, and hotel accommodation, up to £1,000 with no excess.
- Accidental damage – two levels of cover, ‘limited’ and ‘extra’, offer protection for when mishaps occur in the home. It doesn’t protect against damage caused by faulty items, design or craft, or flood water (our standard Home Insurance covers this).
- Protected no claims discount – if you haven’t claimed for five years or more, you can protect your no claims discount.
- Extra personal belongings – this covers your money, items and credit cards while at home, or away, in the UK or overseas. Sports equipment such as skis and racquets aren't included as standard.
- Bicycle cover – added insurance for your wheels, wherever you are in the world. It doesn’t include theft of unattended bikes unless they’re locked in a building or to an object that can’t be moved.
- Legal services – added insurance for you, your partner and any family members living with you
Is contents insurance only available to homeowners?
Most of us have treasured possessions, so we offer policies to suit a range of different circumstances. This includes renters’ insurance, which covers your gadgets, cash, clothes, furniture and the food in your freezer from fire, floods and theft. If you move home, you can take your cover with you.
If you’re asking, "how much contents insurance should I have as a tenant?" the same rules apply – go through your belongings, make a list and add up the total value.
A recent Aviva study shows the typical student room contains possessions worth £3,259, but more than a quarter (27%) have no contents cover. AvivaPlus Home Insurance protects students under the main family policy.