Personal possessions insurance

Find out how personal possessions insurance can help protect your personal belongings, wherever you are.

Home insurance can help to cover the cost of replacing lost or stolen essentials when you are out and about and even abroad. We explain how personal possessions insurance works.

Protecting your personal possessions 

We all have possessions we want to keep safe and when we’re at home essentials such as jewellery, mobile phones or laptops are normally covered by our home contents insurance.

This means if they were damaged by fire or water, or your house was burgled and they were stolen, then you will get the cash to replace or repair them.

But when you take them out of the home it could be a very different story.

If you lose your wallet or your phone, or if it is broken or stolen you may end up with the headache of a hefty bill to replace them - on top of cancelling cards and replacing essential phone numbers.

What is personal possessions insurance?

Personal possessions insurance covers your personal belongings when you take them outside of your home.

The items covered by personal possessions insurance may vary but most policies will cover for loss, damage, or theft of items of value.

Where do I buy personal possessions cover?

Personal possession insurance is an add-on for home contents insurance policies. You will need to compare and research home contents policies to find the cover you need.

Are my valuables already covered by my home contents insurance?

It will depend on your home contents insurance cover, so always check first. Not all standard home contents insurance will cover your valuable items if something goes wrong when you are out and about.

What personal possessions can I claim for?

Personal possessions include items that you wear, use or carry with you in and out of the home. For example:

  • Mobile phones

  • Tablets

  • Laptops

  • Cameras and equipment

  • Keys

  • Jewellery

  • Wallets, purses and handbags

  • Sporting equipment

  • Musical equipment

  • Bikes

This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other items that you consider valuable and carry with you. 

How do I know what to insure?

When you add personal possessions cover to your home contents policy you will be asked how much cover you need.

The best way to work this is to make a list of the items you take outside the home.

For example, if you take your smartphone worth £500 and a laptop worth £1,000, then you should look to select an insured sum of £1,500.

How much personal possessions cover can I buy?

The level of cover offered by every insurer is different. 

As well as a total insured sum, insurance companies will have a single item limit. This is the amount they will pay out per item. Some insurance companies may have a limit of £1,000 as standard while others may go up to £2,500.

For a higher premium you can often choose to increase this limit. 

Making sure you list all the valuables you take outside - this is the best way to prevent yourself being underinsured, though it could raise your premiums.

Can I insure stolen or lost money on my personal possessions cover?

Your money will be covered if it is lost or stolen. Some personal possessions cover will also include the loss, theft or damage of coins, banknotes and cheques, and even savings stamps or money orders.

Personal possessions insurance does not cover lost or stolen credit cards, cheque cards or cash dispenser cards.

Can I take out stand-alone personal possessions insurance?

Personal possessions insurance is only available as an add-on to a home insurance policy, and cannot be purchased on its own. 

There are insurance policies that can cover specific items, for example gadget insurance which could cover a mobile phone, laptop or smart watch.

Personal possessions insurance cover for students

Some insurance policies will cover the loss or theft of children’s belongings, including those at university.

However, some insurance companies offer add-ons that may be better suited to a student’s needs. These can be used to cover items such as laptops, tablets, headphones, smartphones while away from home.

The cover is only likely to extend to items stolen, damaged or lost while in the student’s accommodation, and not while they are out and about. 

Do personal possessions cover my things while I’m abroad?

Some providers will cover you while you are abroad for a set period, while others won’t, so you need to check your policy terms and conditions.

You will still need to take out a travel insurance policy to make sure you have additional cover while you are abroad.

How can I get cheaper personal possessions cover?

All insurance companies charge an excess which is the amount you pay before you are able to make a claim on your policy. 

For example, if you make a claim for £600 and your excess is £200, you will have to pay the first £200 and then claim the remaining £400 from your insurer.

  • Having a higher voluntary excess can reduce your premium, but you will need to be able to afford that excess if you have to make a claim

  • Any claim will also affect your no claims discount or NCD. It may be worth paying for minor damage or loss to keep your NCD.

How much does personal possessions insurance cost?

According to the Association of British Insurers, home contents insurance costs the average family £139 a year.

But what you pay will depend on:

Your claims history – if you have made previous claims you may be charged more

Value of your contents – having a large number of higher risk items such as jewellery will increase the premium

Where you live – if you live in a high crime area you are considered riskier to insure

What personal possessions insurance doesn’t cover?

Although you can cover most items, insurance companies will often exclude claims.

Common reasons for claims being turned down include:

Unattended possessions – if you leave items or equipment unattended.

Items on public display – even if your car is locked and items are stolen you may not be covered, always keep valuable items out of sight, say in the glove compartment.

Business equipment – anything used for a profession, such as builder’s tools, will not normally be covered.

Electrical or mechanical breakdown – if your possessions are damaged by an electrical or mechanical fault.

Wear and tear – if your possessions are damaged over time by general use, or by things like weather conditions, or even pests.

My possessions and property are with someone else, am I still covered?

There may be reasons why your valuables are not in your home or with you. While you may still be insured it’s best to tell you insurer if:

  • You’re lending an item to a friend or family member

  • You’ve sent an item out for repair

  • You’re temporarily storing an item at work, school, or a bank

  • You’re in the process of moving and will leave the items in the care of a professional removal company

As the items won’t be on your person or in your home, they may not be covered if they are damaged, lost, or stolen.

What about my mobile phone and my possessions insurance?

According to Deloitte, 85% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone, we use them to pay bills, work, run businesses, switch on the central heating and even open doors. 

This, along with the evolution of smartphone technology used in mobile phones, means they are often a high value item; some newer smartphones sell for over £1,000.

Be prepared to pay an excess 

Your mobile phone is one of many items covered by your contents insurance policy, so it doesn’t get special treatment.

Sometimes an excess is likely to be £200 which may be more than your phone is worth.

Consider gadget insurance or mobile phone insurance

If you don’t have a packaged bank account you may want to take out a specialist mobile phone insurance, often called gadget insurance. 

This might be a good idea as it will normally have a smaller excess than a home contents insurance policy and might be more suitable if you have a habit of losing or breaking your phone.  

How to get a personal possessions insurance quote?

When comparing policies online you may want to have these details with you:

  • Your contents insurance policy documents 

  • The value of your contents

  • A list of any high-value items 

  • Whether you have made a previous claim

6 November 2020