A contents insurance is an insurance that covers damage to your possessions. Household effects mean all moveable property in your household. These are your possessions that are not attached to your home and you can think of them as everything you would pack up and take with you when moving house. Furniture is included in household effects, but a kitchen is not. The contents insurance covers all these loose possessions in case of damage or loss. Often this is damage caused by burglary, vandalism or fire.
What exactly does home insurance cover?
When you buy your own home, it is often recommended that you take out contents insurance. However, it is not compulsory. There are good reasons why home contents insurance is sensible. You will always have something to fall back on if your home is affected by fire, flood or if there has been a burglary. Here you can find out exactly what is covered by your household contents insurance and why it is so important.
What does home insurance cover?
You may be surprised at the number of items and possessions that are covered by your home contents insurance. For example, your pets are also considered household effects, as are your outdoor possessions such as a flagpole, garden furniture and laundry that hangs outside. If any of these items are stolen, you can use your household contents insurance to obtain compensation for this. Solar panels are also often included in the contents insurance, because even though they are attached to your roof, they can be taken along when you move house. All these belongings are insured in case of:
- Lightning strike;
- Burglary and robbery;
- Scorching and melting;
- Storm of at least wind force 7.
What is not covered by contents insurance?
It seems that a home insurance covers all damage to your possessions, but this is not true. Suppose you have caused the damage yourself, for example because you knocked over an art object with the hoover, this will in most cases not be reimbursed. Even if it can be proven that the damage is the result of overdue maintenance on your part, your claim will probably be rejected. Solar panels which are not properly attached to the roof and which therefore blow off during a minor storm are usually not compensated for either. For this you will have to contact the installer. You can also lose or damage items outside your home. These are not covered unless you have taken out an 'outdoor insurance'. This is not covered as standard and you should therefore insure this separately.
What is the difference between the new value and the current value?
An important point to take into account when taking out contents insurance is the value for which your belongings are insured. In case of damage to your belongings, you are entitled to a compensation of the new value, but there are exceptions. When do you receive the new value and when the current value?
In the event of damage to your belongings, you want a payment from the contents insurance that allows you to buy back the damaged or stolen goods. For the payment, it makes a big difference whether the insurer assumes the current value or the new value. The current market value is the value of an object just before the damage occurred.
Most insurers will insure your possessions at new-for-old value (meaning the amount you paid for them at the time), unless the current market value is more than 40 per cent less. This is a good point to pay attention to when taking out household insurance.
If you own a property
If you have bought a house, you also need buildings insurance. You insure all fixed possessions in your home. Often, you can take out these home insurance policies, including liability insurance, with a single insurer. We recommend this, because it is then much easier for you if your household contents and house are damaged, for example by water. You will have only one insurer to contact and that makes things much easier for you, especially in a difficult period. You can discuss your home insurance with the insurer and make sure that you are insured for everything and that no object or part of your home remains uncovered.
Taking out good home insurance is very important, especially if you own a home. If you rent a house, a contents insurance is often sufficient, but if you buy a house, you definitely need a liability insurance and a building insurance. Suppose a roof tile blows off your house and falls on the neighbour's car, you can use your liability insurance for this. Therefore, make a comparison and look not only at the premium you get for the value of your household contents. Look at other points as well, such as the possibility to take out all your insurances with this insurer, the quality of the customer service, the extra options they offer and the conditions. The idea is to find an insurer that is affordable, but at the same time gives you peace of mind and the feeling that you are covered for any situation.
Reporting changes to your household effects
Now you know what your household contents insurance covers. If your home contents change, it is advisable to discuss this with your insurer. If you buy solar panels, for instance, it is up to the insurer to determine whether this is covered by your household effects, and if not, you will need a separate insurance or you will have to switch. If you buy an expensive piece of art, plan a renovation, have your kitchen renewed, install a solar water heater or get a Jacuzzi, it is always wise to go through your new situation with your insurer and compare it with your policy. It is possible that some adjustments are necessary, so that you are again fully covered for all the above-mentioned incidents. With good home contents insurance, you can be sure that your belongings are insured and that, in the event of a particularly unpleasant situation, you no longer have to worry about how to compensate for the losses.
Frequently asked questions about household insurance
How can I compare contents insurance?
Home contents insurance is actually indispensable. The things in your home can be damaged in many different ways. For example by fire, lightning strike, storm, burglary or flood. With contents insurance, the damage is compensated by the contents insurer and the damaged items can be repaired or replaced. The value of your possessions is often higher than you think. Read more>
What does household insurance cover?
Contents insurance covers all items (belongings) that you can take with you when you move house. In other words, all items that are not fixed to your house. Do you have click laminate for example and can you take it with you? Then this is covered by the contents insurance. The same applies to items such as curtains, furniture and jewellery.
What is covered on a contents insurance?
Your household effects are not only insured against fire damage and damage after a break-in, but also against damage as a result of theft, storm, falling trees, burst pipes and water leaking from wells and sewers. Damage caused by smoke and soot, scorching, vandalism and overvoltage/induction as a result of lightning also fall under the coverage of a contents insurance. Should your freezer fail due to a malfunction or your aquarium break, the contents are also covered. Also your laundry, garden furniture and garden tools are insured.
iPad/tablet cases: what is covered by the contents insurance?
If you have dropped your iPad or tablet, it is of course very annoying if it is broken. If you assume that the damage is covered by your contents insurance, you are often disappointed. Because the coverage differs per insurance company, we always recommend to read the policy conditions carefully.