Contents Insurance

What is contents insurance and where can you get the best deals?

Your belongings could be worth tens of thousands of pounds so replacing them if they were damaged or stolen would be costly. Contents insurance gives you peace of mind that you would be covered for these costs if this happened to you.

What is contents insurance?

 Contents insurance pays for you to replace the belongings in your home, which is generally defined as everything you would take with you if you moved, if they were stolen, damaged or destroyed. They could include furniture, electrical items, such as your TV, clothes and books.

Your belongings could be stolen in a burglary or when you’re out and about or they could be damaged by a flood or fire. You can also pay extra to be covered for accidental damage to them – you spill red wine on your carpet and need to replace it for example.

It’s not compulsory to have contents insurance but is certainly a good idea.

How does contents insurance work?

You pay an annual premium to an insurer (you can choose to pay monthly but this usually costs more) in return for financial protection should you need to replace your belongings.

The money paid by the customers of an insurer effectively goes into a collective ‘pot’ and the insurer then uses this money to pay out to people who make a claim if it’s approved.

Policies can be indemnity policies, which take into account wear and tear when paying your claim. This means they won’t pay you what it would cost to buy the items new but what they were worth at the time they were stolen or damaged.

However, most policies are now ‘new for old’, which means they pay for you to replace your belongings with brand new items.

 Contents insurance pros and cons

Pros:

  • Having contents insurance means you should have the money to replace your belongings if they’re stolen, damaged or destroyed as this could cost tens of thousands of pounds.
  • Most policies now offer ‘new for old’ cover as standard, which means they value your items according to what it would cost to replace them with brand new ones.

Cons:

  • You still have to pay part of the amount of your claim, known as the ‘excess’. This could be a few hundred pounds. Agreeing to pay an excess helps to keep the cost of your insurance down – the higher the excess the cheaper the policy tends to be. You can choose the amount of voluntary excess you pay but the total excess that will apply is usually more.
  • If you undervalue your belongings your insurance policy may not give you enough cover, potentially leaving you short of the amount you need to replace them if you need to claim.

Which contents insurance comparison site can save you the most?

We gathered contents insurance quotes from the four biggest price comparison sites – Compare the Market, Confused.com, Go Compare and MoneySuperMarket – for three different scenarios to give you an idea of how much you might pay and how quotes differ.

The quotes below are for new-for-old policies for contents valued at £50,000 plus £10,000 of cover for valuable items worth less than £1,500 in a three-bedroom semi-detached house lived in by two adults and two children. Policies also include personal possessions cover (to protect items such as your mobile phone when you take them outside your home) of £2,000.

We collected prices for homes in Greater London, Edinburgh and rural Hampshire with a 10-year no-claims bonus (a discount you get for having had contents insurance for a number of years without making a claim). We selected a voluntary excess of £250 but total excesses differ. The cheapest quote for each scenario is shown in bold.

Some comparison sites give you certain rewards when you take out home insurance through them. These are also included below.

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Comparison site contents insurance quotes compared.

Comparison siteGreater LondonEdinburghRural HampshireComparison site rewards
Compare the MarketGetsafe, £35.88, total excess £400Getsafe, £35.88, total excess £400Getsafe, £35.88, total excess £4002 for 1 cinema tickets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; discounts on takeaway food and eating out
Confused.comGetsafe, £59.52, total excess £350Admiral, £42.96, total excess £350Admiral, £48.59, total excess £350Choice of free HelloFresh recipe box, 12 free car washes or £20 to spend at Halfords or Domino’s Pizza
GoCompareGetsafe, £59.52, total excess £350Admiral, £42.13, total excess £350Admiral, £47.53, total excess £350None
Money Super Market MoneySuperMarketBudget, £79.79, total excess £350Admiral, £44.05, total excess £350Post Office, £47.20, total excess £450None

Notes: Quotes gathered on 14 May 2021 for a policy starting on 1 June 2021.

As you can see in the table, the quotes you get from the different comparison sites can vary significantly, even for the same insurer, due to the different deals they have with insurance providers so you should use two or three comparison sites to get the best price for you.

Prices can change frequently so the comparison site that offers you the cheapest quote on one day won’t necessarily be the one offering it the next. The actual price you’ll pay will depend on a range of factors, including your home security and occupation.

Contents insurance FAQs:

How can you get the best contents insurance quotes?

As well as checking prices on two or three comparison sites you should also make sure you’re comparing like-for-like when you compare policies. For example, how do excesses differ and do they have add-ons such as legal expenses cover (in case you have to take someone to court or someone sues you) included?

You should always make sure a policy has the level of cover you need before you take it out rather than choosing it based on price alone. And while the rewards offered by comparison sites can be tempting, you should choose the best policy for your needs rather than buying one based on the rewards alone.

Direct Line and Aviva aren’t on comparison sites so it’s worth getting quotes from them directly.

Which comparison site works with the most home insurance providers?

At the time of writing in May 2021, Compare the Market and Confused.com works with the most home insurance providers (offering both contents and buildings insurance) at 65. GoCompare works with 42 while MoneySuperMarket works with 21. Working with more insurers doesn’t necessarily mean a comparison site will give you the cheapest quotes however.

How much is contents insurance?

Contents insurance is a relatively affordable type of insurance. You could pay as little as £35.88 in Greater London – a high-risk area – based on the scenario above, which works out at less than £3 a month. You’ll pay more if you add extras such as accidental damage and legal expenses cover.

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance covers the cost of replacing your belongings if they are stolen due to a burglary or when you’re out and about, or they’re damaged or destroyed, such as in a fire or flood.

How much contents insurance do I need?

You should take out contents insurance for the total value of all your belongings so that you have enough cover if you have to replace everything you own. It’s important to work this out carefully to make sure you’re not underinsured or end up paying too much by being overinsured. Comparison sites have calculators to help you do this.

Do I need contents insurance as a tenant?

While your landlord is responsible for insuring the building, you are responsible for insuring your own belongings so you should still take out contents insurance if you’re a tenant. If you’re renting a furnished property the landlord will insure those items so you only need to take out cover for whatever belongs to you.

Is contents insurance worth it?

Contents insurance is generally affordable and could avoid you having to pay tens of thousands of pounds to replace your belongings if the worst were to happen, so contents insurance is definitely worth having. It’s a personal decision though so you may decide you are comfortable with the risk of not taking it out if you are strapped for cash.