What Does Contents Insurance Cover – Exactly?

Caeva O'Callaghan | May 19th, 2023

Contents insurance is different to buildings insurance. But do you need it, and what does it cover?

Contents insurance pays for repair or replacement of your personal possessions. This includes home furnishings, office equipment, white goods and jewellery. You can add extensions for extra cover if you need.

It’s separate from buildings insurance, but it often comes as part of a package from your home insurance provider. The only time you may not need contents insurance is if you are a landlord, and you do not own anything not permanently fixed in the house. Similarly, if you’re renting your house, you may only need contents insurance.

In this article, we’ll answer such queries as:

  • What does my contents policy cover?
  • What is excluded from my contents policy?
  • Do I need to make a claim on my contents insurance?

The most important thing about contents insurance is being upfront and thorough about what needs to be covered. It’s a good idea to go through your house room-by-room and accurately report anything you may need to repair or replace if the worst happens.

What’s covered under contents insurance?

A good rule of thumb is if you turn your house upside down, anything which falls out is contents, and the rest is buildings.

So, when you take out a contents insurance policy, you will need to go through your house and make a list of the close approximate value of everything you own. If you have a very small apartment, or live on your own, you may be able to do this off the top of your head. However, we still recommend being thorough to make sure you’ve included absolutely everything. You may be surprised by how much you own.

A typical contents list will fall into these categories:

  • Household goods – e.g. appliances such as fridge freezers, cookers, televisions and vacuum cleaners
  • Personal belongings – e.g. clothes, shoes, accessories and toiletries
  • Office equipment – e.g. photocopiers, important documents, desks and chairs
  • Electronics – e.g. smartphones, tablets, hair straighteners and games consoles
  • Furniture – e.g. beds, sofas, tables and shelves
  • Furnishings – e.g. lampshades, curtains, carpets and rugs
  • Valuables – e.g. jewellery, watches, works of art and signed memorabilia
  • Money – e.g. cash, cheques, premium bonds and travel tickets

Don’t worry if the total cost of replacing all these items works out to a bigger amount than you were expecting. As the purpose of insurance is to adequately compensate you for these things if they are damaged or lost, you don’t want to be left out of pocket.

Never try to lower the cost of your insurance by leaving your laptop or works of art off the contents policy. If there’s a fire or flood, you will not have the money to repair or replace them, which would somewhat defeat the purpose of taking out a policy in the first place.

What risks are covered?

Contents insurance protects your possessions against many risks, including:

  • Fire and arson
  • Smoke damage
  • Storm or flood
  • Ground subsidence or heave of the earth beneath your home
  • 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 such devices or vehicles
  • Falling trees or branches
  • Falling aerials, satellite aerials, their fittings or masts
  • Riot, civil commotion, strike, or political disturbance
  • Malicious damage or vandalism
  • Theft or damage sustained in an attempted theft, including burglary

If you are employed but you work from home, any office equipment your company has lent you will fall under their own insurance. If something happens to your work laptop, for example, you’ll need to contact your employer to replace it.

Extensions to contents cover

If you have belongings in your home which do not fit into the aforementioned categories, or a unique situation, you may be able to buy an extension. This will add extra cover to your policy to help with the costs of repairing or replacing items.

Extensions which may be available from your provider include:

  • Contents temporarily removed from the home (but not for accidental loss or damage);
  • Deeds and documents
  • Accidental breakage of glass (such as a window)
  • Temporary accommodation and rent (while repairs are happening)
  • Tenants’ liability – if you rent your home
  • Visitors and employees’ possessions – for example, if your cleaner loses her ring down the drain
  • Uplift of 10% of your contents sum insured at Christmas and family weddings
  • Accidental loss of oil (which is important if you have a tank in your garden)

As a final note, it goes without saying that if the cost of repairing or replacing your items is less than the excess you’ll have to pay, it’s well worth just replacing the item yourself.

If you are unsure of what is covered on your home insurance policy, call us and talk to our experts today.

If you are trying to understand exactly what is and is not covered on your home insurance policy, you can always pick up the phone and talk to our insurance experts. You can talk to us between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. It’s also important to remember that 60% of our customers who called us directly got a better price on their policy when they discussed their needs over the phone with our agents. It pays to talk!

If your house insurance policy is up for renewal and you require an instant home insurance quote, you can use our quote engine on QuoteMe.ie. We compare insurance from 13 of Ireland’s leading providers to help find you the right cover for your specific needs. We look forward to hearing from you.  

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.