What does home contents insurance usually cover?
Just about everything you own. From curtains to cookers and clothing. A home contents policy protects your belongings from theft, accidental damage, fire and flooding. Ensure you have enough cover, you’ll be surprised at how much it all adds up to. To get an idea of how much, scan each room of your home, draw up an inventory and then work out how much it would cost to replace everything.
Valuable individual items should always be brought to the attention of an insurance company to make certain that they are fully covered by your policy. Policies have maximum limits on what can be claimed for certain items.
What risks may not be covered by home contents insurance?
Due to increased river levels, some areas are more suseptible to flooding than others. If you live in a coastal area or flood plain, your insurance may not cover you for flood damage. Always check when you ask for a quote and be sure to use the correct postcode when filling in forms.
How can I reduce the cost of my home contents insurance?
Get home security advice. Your local police station will be able to advise you.
Among the measures that can be taken are the fitting of:
key-operated window locks
secure lever-type locks to external doors
an approved burglar alarm
movement-activated security lights
time-operated light switches
You will also earn premium-reducing points for joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
What other measures can I take to reduce risk and assist when making a claim?
If you are going away on holiday or business ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your home. You may also wish to consider redirecting your mail if there’s a risk of it accumulating where people may be able to see it. Cancel any regular deliveries such as milk and newspapers that could similarly signal your absence.
Marking portable possessions that are easily stolen with your postcode will help deter thieves. And having a note of all the serial numbers of electrical appliances is also a good idea.
What is the normal level of excess I should be asked to pay?
This varies by insurance company. You may be asked to pay more for certain valuable items. Be clear on whether the excess is per claim or per item.
Ask also if voluntarily raising the excess will cut the premium, but don’t go overboard or you may be unable to afford a claim.
Must I take the home contents insurance from my mortgage lender?
No, not unless it’s a condition of the mortgage loan itself.