Contents insurance generally covers all property including clothing, personal effects, valuables and money in your home owned by member of your household and generally includes all the possessions covers possessions you'd take with you if you were moving house, or anything that isn't a fixed feature of your home.
To ensure that you would be fully covered if you had to replace the contents of your home, it's important to work out how much it would cost to replace all of your contents with new items.
What Does Content Insurance Cover?
A typical contents list may include the following types of item:
• Household goods
– e.g. appliances like cookers, fridges, televisions and computers
• Furniture and furnishings
– e.g. beds, sofas, curtains and carpets
– e.g. jewellery, watches, mobile phones, cameras and works of art
• Personal belongings
– e.g. clothes, shoes and bags
– e.g. cash, cheques, premium bonds and travel tickets
When you value your belongings, you would normally define a specific “sum insured”. The sum insured is the maximum that the insurer will pay out in the event of a claim. If it is too little, it is likely that your claim will not be paid in full. However, if it were too high, the premium could be overly expensive.
To work out your correct sum insured, you should go from room to room with a notebook and write down what it would cost to replace everything in each room, potentially 12 months from now. This figure should also include all the fittings owned by you such as light fixtures and curtains.
Once you have worked out the value of your contents you can get contents insurance quotes from those insurers and brokers who can offer the level of cover you need.
What Your Contents are Insured Against
• Contents insurance provides cover against a range of events, which commonly include:
• Fire, explosion, lightening, earthquake, smoke
• Escape of water or oil from any fixed water or heating installation or domestic appliance
• Impact involving an aircraft, aerial device or anything falling from them
• Vehicle, train or animal
• Falling trees or branches
• Falling aerials, satellite aerials, their fittings or masts
• Riot, civil commotion, strike, or political disturbance
• Malicious persons or vandals
• Storm or flood
• Subsidence or Heave of the site beneath the buildings or landslip
• Stealing or attempted stealing
Also covered are contents temporarily removed from the home while anywhere in Ireland or the UK for an amount not exceeding 15% of the contents sum insured. Additional conditions would normally apply to this cover.
A typical contents policy will set an upper value limit for single valuable items known as a Single Article Limit. If you have valuables with a higher value but for which you do not need additional cover outside the home (e.g. a painting) you should mention (specify) these items when taking out the insurance and they can generally be noted without having to pay any additional premium. On the other hand, items of considerable value may attract additional security requirements, e.g. a house alarm.
For items worth over €500 it's a good idea to keep receipts because a valuation or proof of purchase may be required when you make a claim.
Keep photos and a description of valuable items, making a note of any serial and model numbers as this will help if an item is stolen.
Check the excesses that apply when considering a contents insurance policy. The excess is the amount you pay towards a claim on the policy.
Most insurers specify a compulsory amount, but you can opt to pay an additional voluntary excess if you want to reduce the cost of the policy premium.
Additional Contents Cover
If you would like cover for valuables and belongings which you take out of the home, look for a policy where optional away from home cover, known as All Risks, can be added. If you would like extra protection for contents while they are in your home, consider a policy which provides additional Accidental Damage cover. An example of what’s covered under this type of cover would be if you spilled paint on a new carpet or knocked over a TV whilst decorating, etc.
On some policies accidental damage cover is included as a standard feature for particular items. Bear this in mind when you compare quotes for contents insurance.
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