What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance protects your belongings and possessions from theft and damage. Here’s how contents insurance works and how to choose the right cover.

What is contents insurance?

It’s cover to protect the items in your home, unlike buildings insurance which covers the bricks and mortar of your property.

You can take out contents cover to protect your belongings in a rented property or your own home.

What does it cover?

Contents insurance can cover almost everything inside your property, including:

  • Furniture e.g. sofas, dining tables, beds
  • Electrical equipment e.g. TVs, smart speakers, laptops
  • Valuables e.g. jewellery, documents
  • Clothes
  • Cash

Many insurers classify your contents as being anything you would take with you if you move, but if you’re unsure if certain items are included, double check.

Some insurers also set a single item limit, for example €2,000, so if you have any belongings worth more than this, they won’t automatically be covered. To ensure they’re protected you’ll need to declare them when you get a quote.

What isn’t covered?

Contents insurance doesn’t protect the building itself, or some of the more permanent fixtures in your home like your radiators or fireplace. To get cover for this you’ll need buildings insurance.

Types of contents cover

Most insurers offer one of two types of contents cover, these are:

  1. New for old cover: where the insurer will replace your belongings with a brand new item or pay the value of the item when you bought it.
  2. Indemnity cover: or replacement cover is where the insurer estimates the value of your items based on their age and pays an equivalent value.

New for old cover is sometimes more expensive but it offers better protection than Indemnity cover, and ensures you can replace all your items with new ones if you need to claim.

How much cover do you need?

You’ll be asked to choose an amount of cover for your contents when you’re getting a quote, or choose from some pre-set limits based on the size of your home, for example, €50,000.

Try to estimate how much it would cost to buy everything in your home from new to get a rough idea.

You can also use the free RSI contents insurance calculator to help work out how much cover you need.

If you’re still not sure how much cover you need, it’s better to be cautious and choose a higher value so you’re not left underinsured.

Choosing your extras

Once you’ve decided on the type of cover and how much you need, it’s worth thinking about what extras you want to add to your policy.

Some insurers offer some of these add-ons for free, but others will charge you extra. Here are some you could choose to add:

  • Accidental damage: This protects your contents from mistakes and mishaps, for example dropping your TV or spilling wine on the carpet.
  • Downloads insurance: This covers the downloads on your computer if you lose access to them.
  • Key cover This pays for replacement locks and keys if you’re broken into or lose your keys.
  • Personal possession cover: This covers the possessions you take out of the home.

Getting the right content cover for you

To get the right cover for the cheapest possible price, follow these three steps:

  1. Work out what cover you need by considering the value of your home and belongings and the extras that matter to you.
  2. Decide what excess you can afford and weigh this up against the cost of the policy. Paying a bit more for your policy could save you money in the event of a claim.
  3. Compare home insurance quotes from several different brokers to find the cheapest deal for your needs.

If you want to save even more money on insuring your home, read our 7 ways to save money on your home insurance, which is packed with tips and ideas to protect your home for less.

Once you know what you want to include with your quote, you’re free to shop around for the best price.

Contents insurance FAQs

What’s an excess?

This is the amount of money you have to pay when you make a claim. You can usually change this amount but most insurers will have a minimum excess you’ll have to pay.

Increasing your excess could make your insurance premium cheaper but it’ll be more expensive if you need to claim. Lowering your excess will make claiming cheaper but will normally increase your premium.

Will my belongings be covered outside my home?

It depends on the policy you choose. If you add personal possession cover to your policy then some of your belongings will be covered outside the home.

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