You spend a lot of time, money and effort on your home contents but sometimes very little on protecting them. Buying the wrong home contents insurance policy could cause a lot of heartache and financial spend in the future if you do not have adequate protection.
So, first of all, what is home contents insurance?
Home contents insurance covers your personal belongings in the home from clothes and books to CDs and saucepans. In fact, if you turned your house upside down and look it, all the stuff that fell out would be classed as 'contents'. Everything else (fitted wardrobes, fitted kitchen, the walls etc) would need to be insured under buildings cover.
By having a home contents insurance policy in place you are ensuring that, if the worst were to happen and you were to lose everything in your home, you would be able to at least replace your contents with the money from your insurance policy. The majority of contents insurance policies cover your personal items from damage such as fire, theft, vandalism, storm and damage caused by flooding.
Getting the right sum insured
The first decision you have to make when looking for home contents insurance is how much cover you need. This is known as the 'sum insured' and this is the amount you would receive back if you lost everything. Therefore, to make sure that you have an adequate sum insured, you need to make an inventory of all your personal belongings. Do not forget the large items such as sofas or beds as well as the smaller ones (DVD's, CD's, cutlery etc) and those items hidden out of sight in the wardrobes and drawers.
Failing to get the right sum insured could see you being under insured. This means that in the event of a claim, you may not get all the money needed to replace all your marriages.
What the cover entails
Making sure you have the right protection is imperative and the internet is a great place to compare what is and what is not covered in the various policies you are considering.
One of the many things you need to look for is whether the policy would pay for any loss or damage on a new for old basis or whether depreciation would be taken into account. For instance, if your living room carpet was damaged and had to be replaced, if you had new for old cover then you would get sufficient payment to replace the carpet with a new one.
If depreciation was taken into account, then you would get an amount that was equivalent to what the carpet would be worth today, allowing for wear and tear.
Check to see if the contents of your garden are included. Some providers will cover the cost of plants in the garden and hanging baskets for instance.
Another thing to look for within the cover is whether your freezer contents would be covered. This means that if you lost all the contents of your freezer the insurance policy would pay out for you to fill it back up again. Also make sure 'big ticket' items are covered such as a laptop or engagement ring and take into consideration any items regularly taken away from home such as a bike.
Lastly, make sure your home is secure. When buying your home contents insurance be aware that insurers often reward homeowners who make their property safe. For example, if you have an alarm system or belong to a Neighborhood Watch Scheme, you could get a discount on your cover. Plus, a more secure home means you'll be less at risk of theft.