What is contents insurance?

Published 17 May 2024 
  • 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 is and isn’t covered by a policy, how it’s different for homeowners and renters, and the main differences between contents and buildings 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 home or on holiday. 

You can get contents cover as part of your home or buildings insurance or set up a separate contents insurance policy. Your best option will usually depend on whether:

• You own your home.

• You're renting.

• You’re looking for the best deal.

It’s a good idea to get contents insurance as soon as you have any personal belongings you want to protect.

Unlike buildings insurance, your mortgage provider won’t insist that you have contents insurance before giving you an offer. But many people decide to take out a contents policy at the same time as it’s often quicker and more convenient than dealing with it separately. Having both policies means you’re not just protecting the structure of your building, but also the precious items inside that make it your home.

While a ‘buildings only’ home insurance policy will cost less on its own, contents insurance is worth the additional cost. It helps cover the cost of replacing or repairing some of your most cherished items, if they get lost, stolen or damaged.

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



Valuable items, such as your TVs, 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 require you to take out additional accidental damage cover.

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

gradual wear and tear

X computer viruses

X breakdown of home appliances.

You can boost your contents cover with optional extras that give you additional security, should your household items need to be repaired or replaced.

These add-ons include:

Gives you increased cover for valuable items, this is handy when the occasional spillage happens.

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.

Would cover you If you need to take a tradesperson to court for faulty workmanship that’s damaged your home and/or belongings.

Protects your treasured items when you take them out of your home.

Ensures you have somewhere to stay if damage to your home means you need to move out temporarily following a claim.

Protects any valuable items that exceed the value of your policy, in case they’re lost, stolen or damaged. 

Having contents insurance in place when you’re renting is just as important as when you own your home, according to our underwriters, and they should know!

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 get stolen. That’s where renters insurance comes in.

 Renters insurance is a specific type of cover that’s 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.


Buildings insurance protects the property itself, rather than the contents inside – 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:

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