What does my contents insurance cover?

Christmas has come and gone for another year, and with all the gifts that have made their way into your home, now is a great time to review what’s covered by your contents insurance.

What is contents insurance?

It’s insurance that covers the items inside your house (and sometimes, temporarily outside your house) from accidental damage, loss or theft.

What is covered?

Precise details vary depending on what type of contents policy you have, but generally, anything that is not part of your home’s structure is deemed to be ‘contents’. That includes furniture, appliances, electronics, clothes, jewellery, artwork, books, rugs, window coverings, bedding, crockery, glassware and utensils, things like record and coin collections, and even the food in your fridge or freezer. Contents insurance also covers the cost you are required to pay if you accidentally damage someone else’s property (your legal liability).

When can you claim?

You can claim back the cost of repairing or replacing your property (up to the maximum value specified in your policy document) if you experience loss, damage or theft from events like extreme weather (e.g., flooding or strong winds), fire, burglary, power outage causing all your chilled or frozen food to spoil, or accidental damage like dropping a tin of paint on the sofa. Depending on your policy conditions, you may also be able to claim if you lose or damage something while you’re out and about, such as breaking your laptop while it’s in your car during a traffic accident.

What’s a specified item?

All contents policies have maximum insurable values, which is the most an insurer will pay out for any one item. If you have artwork or jewellery, for example, that exceeds the maximum payable value in your contents policy, you can choose to insure it as a specified item. It needs to be listed on your policy along with the value for which you have insured it. If a particularly valuable item is not specified and it is lost or stolen, you will only receive the maximum amount listed in the policy document for that type of item.

How do I know if I have enough cover?

A lot of Kiwis are under-insured when it comes to contents insurance. It’s amazing how quickly all the little things in each room add up. A good way to work out how much cover you need is to complete this checklist, which contains all the items found in a typical home. If you’re not sure if your contents insurance is sufficient, or you need help increasing your cover or adding specified items, get in touch with a Certus broker today.