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Contents Insurance Frequently Asked Questions


Is my greenhouse insured?

Only if you have elected to take buildings insurance then yes, providing it is permanently fixed to the ground.

It is confusing. What would I be covered for under your buildings insurance policy and not under contents?
Basically, you are insured for fire, earthquake, explosion, water damage (burst pipes, flood and storm), impact (perhaps a runaway vehicle), falling trees (or branches, telegraph poles, TV aerials and/or their masts and the like), theft or any attempted theft, damage caused by aerial ‘devices’, subsidence or heave, malicious damage and, unlikely though it may seem, riot and civil commotion. In addition you will automatically be given personal liability” public and personal liability insurance and glass insurance (for fixed glass). For a full definition of these perils (the insurance word for the above) you should look at the full policy wording (these are found in the policy wordings section – there is a policy wording button at the bottom of most pages).

content insurance
content insurance

Do you cover replacement locks following theft or loss of keys?

It is usually covered under the contents section of your policy (usually up to £500 maximum). It also includes keys for safes and intruder alarms. Damaged locks following a break-in or attempted break in are covered under the buildings section.

What if my dog causes an accident or injury or bites someone?

The personal liability cover (usually £2,000,000) includes this type of incident. However, if your dog were to chew through a library book, or other contents or property, that would not be covered.

My property is rented out. If it were damaged I would lose the rent. What cover can you offer?

In the event of your property (and this doesn’t apply to commercial property) becoming uninhabitable because of, say, fire damage (or one of the insured events described in detail in your policy) then the rent that would normally be paid to you by the tenant will be paid by your insurer. There is a generous limit of around 20% of the sum insured on the building under the buildings section.

Note: You must inform the insurer before you rent out your policy. Failure to do so will lead to any claims being repudiated. If you have a mortgage you must also inform the lender

Would I be covered if my son’s pedal cycle was stolen?

Under the contents section if the cycle were stolen from within your premises (i.e. inside the fence or walls) the claim would be paid subject to an excess of (usually £50 up to a maximum of usually £500). However, if the bike were stolen outside your premises then there is no cover at all. You can add to your policy, for a modest premium, cover for loss or damage to pedal cycle(s). This then affords cover worldwide subject to a maximum (usually £250 per cycle). If the bike is worth more than £250 it must be specified and certain conditions regarding security may be applied.

My television is rented – if it were to be damaged would I be insured under my household policy?

You would have to look at your rental agreement. Some firms insure the television whilst on rental others don’t. It would depend on the terms of the rental. Most policy cover accidental damage to televisions, radios hi-fi and domestic computer equipment without extra charge and on a new for old basis too – providing your sum insured is adequate.

Can my credit cards be covered for theft whilst I am away on holiday?

Yes. The cover can be extended to include credit/debit cards against wrongful use – and the cover is world-wide. You should always keep the number of the issuing bank(s) handy in case they were stolen.

My child has broken the glass in the doors of a cabinet. Is it covered?

Fixed glass in furniture is covered under your contents policy. If you claim you will lose any no claims discount entitlement, and the cover will be subject to your excess.

Would I be insured if my suitcase and its contents were stolen from a hotel room?

Yes, this is called contents temporarily removed from the home and is usually covered as standard. There has to have been forcible or violent entry to or exit from the premises – which can simply be forcing the door of a room or the thief using deception. The hotel, itself may well have a liability under the Hotel Proprietor’s Act. This cover is only available in the UK.

If you have travel insurance then that would be the policy that would pay the claim subject, of course, to any geographical limitations or conditions.

My son is a student living away from home during term. Can I insure his possessions whilst away from home on my policy?

Your policy usually automatically grants cover, free of charge, for these circumstances providing the sum insured is adequate. There is a limit which is shown in your policy and there is an excess. Were there to be a claim, as the policyholder, you would be responsible for making any claim against the policy. This free extension means that you don’t have to buy expensive insurance separately.

Would I be covered if a home-help injured themselves whilst in my home?

Domestic employees such as home help, gardeners are covered under your policy if the injury is caused by your negligence or by your failing to do something that could prevent an incident.

I work from home and have some business equipment. Is that covered?

If your work is of a clerical nature then these contents can usually be covered for a small additional premium. If you have business visitors then the liability insurance does need to be extended and if you have any employees (full or part-time) then there is a legal requirement for liability insurance.

If something dreadful happened, like a plane crash, would my property be covered?

Yes. Assuming you have buildings cover and the property was damaged beyond repair, the Insurance Company would pay the sum insured (adjusted if it didn’t represent the value at risk). In addition the Insurer would pay for reasonable alternative accommodation. They may, depending on the circumstances, seek your help in recovering our outlay from the aircraft operator’s insurance if it was later proved to be negligence on their part.

Your policy normally includes damage caused by aircraft or aerial devices. An aerial device is defined as man-made – i.e. a bird falling down a chimney and causing damage in, say, your lounge, would not be covered.

I’ve got a stamp collection worth nearly £1,500. I need it to be insured.

Providing your sum insured is adequate then stamp and coin collections are usually covered up to a maximum of about £1,500. Were it to be worth more then we can arrange special cover but would require some reasonable security for the collection.

I’ve got loads of tools in the garage – probably £2000 worth. Are they covered under the policy?

Usually up to a maximum of all property in outbuildings of around £3000. Theft from outbuildings are on the increase – it is important that you use quality locks on your outbuildings and not leave them unsecured. That is your duty of reasonable care.

With a fire much of the damage is caused by smoke. Is smoke damage covered?

Smoke damage resulting from a fire is insured. The insurance company will usually pay for re-decoration of the damaged areas. It would be sensible to familiarise yourself with fire precautions for such incidents.

My television has packed up – is this covered under accidental damage?

No. Electrical, electronic and mechanical breakdown are not included in the definition of accidental damage. The same applies to other machines and equipment in your home.

We’re on metered water, here. If the pipe burst would we have to pay for the escaped water?

Your policy usually includes the accidental escape of water from metered supplies usually up to around £750.

If my fish tank burst and flooded the lounge would I get a new carpet?

Loss adjusters would try to see if the carpet could economically be dried and cleaned. If not then the insurer would usually replace with a new carpet of similar quality.

My daughter has been given a lot of expensive wedding gifts that are stored at our house. Should I increase my cover?

Many policies automatically gives an extra 10% of cover for these events and the same at Christmas time. If 10% is inadequate then temporarily increase your sum insured.

Personal effects in my car – are they covered?

Yes, provided they are secured in a locked boot or glove compartment, and not on display. It is never sensible to leave personal possessions on display. Any claim and your no claims discount on both household and motor insurance polices would be lost.

Warren Paine

Warren is the senior mortgage loan officer who has worked in mortgages and loan industry since 1995. He study in Harvard and major in Finance with a Bsc. Honor Degree. He possesses a Paralegal Certificate as well.

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