Contents insurance covers you for certain unforeseen one-off events. Your cover may not cover for things like replacement locks or some other events. Please check your policy schedule to ensure that the cover you have chosen is suitable for your requirements.
There is usually a single article limit which means this is the maximum amount the company will pay for one item. If you have any high value items you will need to specify these on your policy.
Storm – Contents damaged as a result of a storm.
Flood – This is where your home is flooded, usually due to weather. It is not when you have had a leak from a pipe or something similar. This is classed as an escape of water.
Escape of water – This is defined as water escaping from water tanks, pipes, equipment or fixed heating systems. Also there is cover for water freezing in tanks, equipment or pipes.
Fire – This usually covers fire, lightning, earthquake or smoke damage.
Malicious damage or riots – There is usually an exclusion that damage caused by yourself or any paying guests or tenants is not covered. Also there may not be cover if you leave your property unoccupied for more than the time shown on your schedule.
Domestic heating fuel and metered water – If you discover that your oil tank has been leaking then there would usually be cover for the oil and the damage caused. If the leak has been caused because the tank developed a leak then the tank itself would not be covered. If oil has entered the ground or any waterway then your insurer would need to be contacted due to contamination and they would take the necessary action required.
If you receive your water bill and discover your usage is higher than normal you might have a leaking pipe. The repair of the pipe may not be covered under your policy but there might be cover for the loss of metered water.
Theft or attempted theft – There may not be cover if you leave your property unoccupied for more than the time shown on your schedule.
If your property has been broken into and the property damaged or items have been taken this is usually covered by your insurer if you have the relevant cover. i.e. doors and windows are buildings and items within the home are contents (except for fixtures and fittings such as fitted wardrobes and cupboards).
Also there may not be cover if you leave your property unoccupied for more than the time shown on your schedule. If any endorsements have been applied to the policy you need to ensure these have been adhered to. For example, you might have an endorsement whereby you have to have locks on all windows and a certain type of lock on your doors.
If you have high valuable items then you might have an endorsement where certain items need to be kept in a safe.
If you have endorsements and you do not comply with these then the claim may be declined.
There are usually certain events not covered such as:
- Theft by deception, unless deception is used only to get into the home.
- Theft of personal money, unless someone has broken into or out of the home by using force and violence or has got into the home by deception.
- Theft if you live in a self-contained flat and the theft is from any part of the building that other people have access to.
- theft if you live in a non-self-contained flat, unless someone has broken into or out of the home by using force and violence or has got into the home by deception.
- Theft from communal garages or outbuildings, unless someone has broken into or out of the communal garage or outbuilding by using force and violence.
- Loss or damage caused by paying guests, tenants or you.
- More than the limit shown on your schedule for any one incident involving theft from garages and outbuildings.
Falling radio or television aerials - Even though these are fitted to the building they usually fall under contents cover.
Subsidence, heave or landslip – If you have this kind of damage to your drive this will not be covered unless there is damage to your home. You need to check your policy booklet for the definition of the word home.
Falling trees or branches – Usually if your insurer accepts a claim for damage to the buildings (see definition in your policy booklet) they will pay reasonable costs to remove the fallen part of the tree or the tree if it has partially or totally uprooted.
Loss of rent and the cost of alternative accommodation – This only applies if the property cannot be lived in after one of the events above. Usually this means that you have either no water or no cooking facilities.
If you let your property you must let your insurer know so the policy can be tailored accordingly. If your tenant cannot stay in the property because it has been damaged by one of the events covered under buildings you may be able to claim for loss of rent.
If you live in the property then you would be moved to alternative accommodation until you had the basic facilities again. Usually any costs incurred for kennelling domestic animals would be covered as well.
Replacement locks – If the keys to the property are lost or stolen then your insurer would either appoint their contractor to change the locks or pay the cost to replace them.
Food in freezers – This is usually covered under your policy for food defrosting or being contaminated by freezing agents. If the freezer breaks down, there is no cover for the appliance itself. The policy has a limit for food in a freezer. Your insurer will usually want to know the make and model of your freezer, and at the very least the number of drawers it has. They will usually have guidelines for the value of food it will hold.
Contents in the garden – This cover may be included in your policy and covers loss or damage of items within the boundary of your home (see policy definition)
Business equipment – This cover may be included, please check policy definition for business equipment. This covers loss or damage to this while in the home and being damaged by one of the events listed. There are usually exclusions and you will need to check these.
Fatal injury benefit – This cover may be included and pays up to the limit shown on your schedule if you die as a direct result of injury caused in the home by fire, explosion, lightning or intruders. There is usually a condition, such as your death must happen within three months of the incident.
Household removals – This cover may be included and provides cover for loss of or damage to contents while being moved by professional furniture removers from the home to your new permanent home (including temporary storage in a furniture depository for up to seven days in a row) in the British Isles.
Religious festivals and wedding gifts – This cover may be included. The insurer will increase the sum insured for contents by the amounts shown on your schedule during any month in which you celebrate a religious festival, to cover gifts and food bought for the occasion; or during the 30 days before and 30 days after your wedding day to cover wedding gifts.