An image of a living room and its contents.

Contents Insurance Explained

4 minute read 

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Whether it’s your engagement ring, a family heirloom or your brand spanking new laptop, you want to protect the things that mean the most to you. That’s where contents insurance comes in. 

  • Contents insurance helps protect personal belongings in your home from damage or theft
  • Any items you would take with you if you moved house are generally covered
  • You can set up a contents policy alongside, or separate to, your home insurance

Our complete guide to contents insurance explains what a policy does and doesn’t include, the difference between insurance for homeowners and renters, and how it differs from buildings insurance.

What is contents insurance?

Home contents insurance is a type of home insurance that protects you against loss, theft or accidental damage to your personal possessions. Depending on your policy, it can also cover these items when you’re away from your home or on holiday. 

You can set up a contents insurance policy alongside your home or buildings insurance, or as a separate insurance deal. What you choose to do will usually depend on whether:

  • You own your home
  • You're renting a property
  • What the best deal is

When to get contents insurance

As soon as you have any personal belongings you want to protect, getting contents insurance is a good idea.

Unlike buildings insurance, your mortgage provider won’t insist on you having contents insurance before they’ll give you an offer. However, it’s still a good idea to take out a contents policy, as it can often be more convenient to take out both policies at once. Having both policies will mean you’re not just protecting the structure of your building, but also the precious items inside that make it your home.

While this can mean an added expense on top of your home insurance policy, contents insurance is worth it. That’s because it helps towards covering the cost of replacing or repairing some of your most cherished items, should they be lost, stolen or damaged.


Having contents insurance in place when you’re renting a property is just as important as it is when you’re a homeowner.

What does contents insurance cover?

When you purchase a contents insurance policy, you’re essentially protecting yourself against the cost of replacing any expensive items in your home, up to a certain value, if they are lost or damaged.

As a rule, anything you’d take with you when you move house will be covered by your contents policy. This can include:

  • Furniture
  • TVs
  • Radios
  • Computers
  • Jewellery
  • Clothes
  • Ornaments 

All this adds up to a comprehensive policy that protects the things you love, giving you peace of mind.

Most items are insured if they’re lost or damaged through:

Valuable items, such as your TV, laptops and tablets, may be protected if they’re accidentally damaged too. This also includes breakable fixtures, like glass and mirrors. Some policies will cover a set amount of accidental damage, while others will require you to take out additional accidental damage cover.

However, a contents insurance policy won’t cover you against:

  • Gradual wear and tear
  • Computer viruses
  • Breakdown of home appliances 

What additional cover options are there?

You can boost your policy with optional extra covers that give you additional security, should your household items need to be repaired or replaced.

Additional policy add-ons include:

Additional accidental damage – gives you increased cover for valuable items that are damaged by young children or pets. This is handy when the occasional spillage happens or when you’re looking to pet-proof your home. 

Bicycles – covers bikes and accessories, up to a certain value, while you’re away from home. Insurance is only valid if they’re stolen despite being securely locked.

Legal expenses cover – covers legal fees if someone is injured on your property, or if you need to take a tradesperson to court for faulty workmanship that has damaged your home and/or belongings.

Personal belongings – protects your treasured items when you take them out of your home.

Alternative accommodation – ensures you have alternative accommodation, if damage to your home means you need to move out temporarily. 

High-risk items – protects any valuable items that exceed the value of your policy, in case they are lost, stolen or damaged.   


Contents insurance for renters

Having contents insurance in place when you’re renting a property is just as important as it is when you’re a homeowner.

A landlord is only responsible for the building itself and the permanent fixtures inside the property. If you live in shared tenancy, there’s a chance your items could go missing or be stolen. That’s where renters insurance comes in.

  • Renters insurance is a specific type of cover, that is often a good fit for:
  • Young professionals
  • Anyone who doesn’t own their property

Paying an annual premium, or spreading the cost over monthly instalments, can work out much cheaper than having to pay to replace your damaged or stolen items.

What is covered under buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance protects the property itself, rather than the contents within it – though some permanent fixtures and fittings are also included.

It provides cover against any loss or damage to the structure of your home, caused by:

  • Explosions
  • Fires
  • Flooding
  • Theft

To find out more, read our guide to buildings insurance or speak to our specialist team.

Start protecting the items you love today with contents insurance. Explore our home insurance policies and start your quote. 

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All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts.