Home contents insurance is a good way to protect your belongings. You can insure your possessions against loss, damage and theft.

It can protect all sorts of possessions. This could include furniture, electrical items, gadgets, clothing and cash.

You can get combined home and contents insurance (sometimes known as 'building contents insurance'). Or you can get standalone contents insurance or buildings insurance.

Do you need buildings and contents insurance?

Some household insurance policies cover both the building itself, and the contents inside it. That’s called buildings and contents insurance.

Some people don’t need both house and contents insurance. You can buy these two types of insurance separately if it suits you better.

For example, someone who is renting might just need house contents insurance. This is sometimes known as ‘renters insurance’ or ‘contents insurance for tenants’. The same applies to a university student who might just need student contents insurance. Similarly, their landlord might just need buildings insurance.

This page is about contents insurance. The best way to start your search is to do a home contents insurance comparison. If you want a policy that covers both, do a home and contents insurance comparison. Follow the link at the top of the page to compare contents insurance policies.

What does home contents insurance cover me against?

Whether you’re getting buildings and contents insurance, or standalone contents insurance, the details vary between policies. But often, you’ll be covered for loss and events outside your control. This could include: theft, fire, storms, floods, water leaks and subsidence.

A good contents insurance policy could give you the following benefits:

Accidental damage protection: This covers any damage to your belongings that happens by mistake. For example, it could cover you if you knocked your TV over.

New for old cover: This means your insurer would replace broken or stolen items with a new version of the same thing. Some policies only offer indemnity cover, which accounts for wear and tear of your older possessions.

Personal possessions cover: This protects the belongings that you take outside your home. For example, it could cover your mobile phone or laptop which you use on-the-go. It can cover you within the UK, or abroad too.

When you do a home contents insurance comparison, check each policy carefully to see which benefits are included. Many insurers include them as standard, but others only offer them as an extra you need to pay for.

Buildings insurance is different. It’ll give you benefits like home emergency cover, cover for fixtures and fittings, and plumbing and drainage cover).

What kind of belongings does contents insurance cover me for?

The kinds of belongings you’ll be covered on your home contents insurance include:

  • Furniture

  • Gadgets (tablets, mobile phones)

  • Electrical items (laptops, PCs, TVs)

  • Clothes

  • Cash.

When you’ve found the best home contents insurance for your needs, you’ll need to talk to your insurer about any particularly valuable items you have. This could include items of jewellery, art work bikes or computer equipment.

How do you cover your valuables?

You can cover your valuables separately. Your insurer needs to know about high-value items in your home like items of jewellery, watches, art work or computer equipment.

Most policies cover your valuables in two ways. Some home contents insurance policies give you an individual cover limit per item, such as £2,000. Other contents insurance policies give you a total cover limit for all your valuables, such as £15,000.

Make sure you don’t just choose a cheap contents insurance policy because of the price. You’ll need to check the details carefully including the level of cover each insurer offers per valuable before you make a decision. Compare contents insurance quotes to get the right cover at the best price.

How to get the right contents insurance quote

When you start looking for contents insurance, it’s important to get the right policy for your needs. You’ll need to make sure your policy can cover the cost of replacing your contents if they’re stolen or destroyed.

To find the best contents insurance you should ask yourself these two important questions.

What you want to cover?

Think about what you’d need to replace if the worst happened. Your furniture? Your electrical appliances? Your valuables?

How much are the contents that you want to cover worth?

You’ll need to make sure you have the right amount of cover in place.

Then you’ll be able to start looking into the best contents insurance available, and can find a contents insurance quote that suits your needs.

What does contents insurance cover?

Calculate how much home contents insurance cover you need

Your contents insurance policy should cover the cost of replacing all your belongings. That’s so you’d be alright if the worst happened and all your belongings were ruined.

Generally with home contents insurance, the claim limit is based on the number of rooms in your house. If the limit you’re offered isn’t enough, you can ask for a higher amount. But bear in mind that it’s likely you’ll have to pay more for your contents insurance if you do that.

To work out how much all your contents are worth, go through each room and work out the value of:

  • your sofas and other furniture

  • tvs and electronics

  • books, dvds, computer games, clothes

  • carpets, curtains and other soft furnishings.

Don’t forget to think about what’s in your loft, garage or shed as well before you get a home contents insurance quote.

What information do I need to share with insurers?

When you get your content quotes your house contents insurance provider is likely to ask about the following:

  • the value of your belongings

  • your property type and address

  • when your home was built

  • how many rooms you have

  • your home’s security arrangements (doors, windows etc.)

  • how many people live in your home and how much time they spend there.

How much does contents insurance cost?

It’s more important to find the right contents insurance than it is to find a cheap deal. The cost will depend on how much you need to cover. But, of course, everybody wants to find the best deal they can. Here are a few tips for reducing the price of your home contents insurance.

  • Compare contents insurance. Shopping around is always a good idea because prices can vary a lot between insurers. Doing a home contents insurance comparison will help you to get the best deal. Just make sure you’re comparing like for like, and that the price difference isn’t based on the level of cover. And don’t auto-renew as loyalty doesn’t usually pay when it comes to insurance.

  • Say no to extras. When you buy your contents insurance, you’ll probably be offered extras. But a basic contents insurance policy will be cheaper.

  • Up your security. Install high-quality locks, burglar alarms and smoke alarms, to get a better deal on your home contents insurance.

  • Pay annually. Annual contents insurance is always cheaper than paying monthly by direct debit.

  • Combine buildings and contents insurance. A combined policy can be a cheaper way to buy your insurance, if you need both.

  • Choose a higher excess. The excess fee is what you pay towards any claim you make. You can usually set the amount of excess you’re happy to pay. The higher the excess, the cheaper the premium.