With most insurance companies, a standard home insurance will consists of several parts, including building insurance, contents insurance and liability insurance. The content insurance part is for things that you keep in your home, such as furniture and electrical equipment. Some insurance companies will offer separate content insurance that isn’t a part of a general home insurance, but this solution is less common than having content insurance as a part of a larger home insurance policy. Which type of insurance policy or combination of policies that is best for you will depend on your personal situation.
Content insurance coverage
When you compare different offers for content insurance, it is important to not just look at the price but at the conditions as well, because they do vary from one policy to another. In some countries, the law stipulates some basic requirements, while in others, the policy can be constructed in any way.
For starters, it is important to find out which items in your home that will be covered. It is important to be honest with your insurance company and obtain a large enough policy, because otherwise you might run into trouble if you make a claim later and it becomes evident that you have been underinsured.
Even if you don’t think you have anything really valuable in your house, content insurance can still be very important for you. Let’s say for instance that there is a fire and all your clothes gets ruined. Even if your entire wardrobe consists of cheap clothes from H&M, I bet it would still be a major strain on your monthly budget if you had to go out and start over from scratch after a fire. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to save up before you can go out and make sure that you have enough socks, t-shirts, slacks, etc to continue with your life.
Which situations are covered?
A good content insurance will cover your items from several different incidents, including accidents (e.g. a fire) and intentional actions (e.g. theft). If the policy you’re offered is very limited in this regard, you might want to keep on looking around for a better offer.
Accidental damage cover is normally not included, but can be added for a small fee. You can read more about accidental damage cover further down on this page.
If you have anything that is especially valuable in your home, e.g. expensive jewellery or art, you may need special content insurance for these items. Also, the insurance company might have special requirements that you need to fulfill to keep these expensive items insured while they are stored in your home, such as a home alarm system or keeping jewelery in an approved safety box.
The cover for valuables in a standard content insurance policy is usually limited in two different ways:
- A limit for each individual item
- A limit for the total amount of all valuables
Unless you’re under both of these limits, you need extra content insurance.
Personal possessions cover outside the home
If you want to have items that you take outside your home covered by the content insurance, this can normally be arranged for a small fee. This type of content insurance add-on can be a great idea if you have a cell phone, surf pad, camera, jewelery, etc that you take with you outside your home. Please note that the rules for how much attention you need to pay to you belongings to keep them covered tend to be pretty strict. So, the cell phone that you leave hidden inside your shoe on the beach while you go swimming will probably not be covered. Check with your insurance provider to find out more.
Examples of things that are normally not covered by standard content insurance
This list is by no means complete.
- Computer damaged by computer virus or similar
- Items in sheds or similar, even if they are on your property. Sometimes the insurance policy will cover certain items in shed (e.g. lawn mover) but not others (e.g. valuable game collection).
- Valuables over a certain limit (see above)
- Items outside, e.g. in the garden or on a patio
- Items placed where they are easy to steal, e.g. in an open window
Accidental damage insurance
Accidental damage insurance will cover you for certain accidents, e.g. if you spill wine on the expensive carpet and the stain proves impossible to remove, or if you accidentally spill coffee all over your laptop and it dies.
Always check if the accidental damage insurance policy you are being offered will cover claims caused by children, e.g. a toddler toppling and breaking your porcelain figurine or drawing all over your sofa with a felt-tip pen. Even if you don’t have young children yourself, you might receive visitors. Checking up on your coverage for pet-related damage can also be a good idea.
Some accidental damage insurances policies will exclude portable electrical equipment, so this is another area where you really need to find out the details before you purchase any policy.