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Insurance cover away from home

Are your possessions insured when you're out of your home?

A couple on holiday taking a selfie with their camera

We've all been there. That heart-sinking moment when you realise your wallet is no longer in your pocket, or your daughter calls to say she's left her mobile on the train.

Apart from the nuisance factor of being without these items, there's the cost of replacing them too. But it's okay. You can claim on your home insurance…right?

Not necessarily. Like the name says, 'home' insurance covers you for theft and damage to things in your home. Many people mistakenly think that the personal belongings they take with them away from the home are also covered. Very few insurers offer cover away from home as standard. Most will provide it as an additional extra.

Why do I need cover away from home?

Thankfully levels of personal theft are coming down, but the cost of replacing items stolen or lost has gone up. In a recent Crime Survey for England and Wales 30 of the 134 people surveyed had items stolen valued between £200 and £500. This is mainly because we're taking more with us when we leave the house.

In addition to the usual money and keys, we're likely to have a mobile phone, a watch, jewellery and maybe a laptop or tablet. These can add up to thousands of pounds. And if the rest of your family are also taking expensive items out of the house each day too, there's a very real possibility of shelling out hundreds of pounds on damaged, lost or stolen items.

So, what's the answer? Apart from making sure you safeguard your possessions when you travel, you can take out insurance that covers your personal belongings when you're away from home.

Thankfully levels of personal theft are coming down, but the cost of replacing items stolen or lost has gone up.

Are any of my possessions insured when they're not with me?

Yes, sometimes they are. For example, as part of our standard home insurance, if you take your sofa to be reupholstered and it gets damaged or lost, you may be able to claim. This also applies to items that are temporarily moved to someone else's home, to a bank or to your place of work.

Plus, as part of our standard home insurance, we'll pay for accidental loss or damage when you move home if you use a professional removal company to transport your possessions.

What about cover for university students?

Good point. With students taking thousands of pounds worth of possessions and gadgets with them to university, parents will want to make sure their offspring are insured when they're away. The NUS lists five useful crime prevention tips for students to help them stay safe, but we recommend that parents also check their home insurance policy before their children leave for university.

Some home insurance policies, like ours, automatically include cover for students living away from home if items are damaged or stolen in student accommodation.

We recommend parents also check their home insurance policy before their children leave for university.

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