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Building Contents Insurance

Although building contents insurance isn't a legal requirement, an increasing number of homeowners and renters are now getting cover for their belongings to give them peace of mind. Here is our guide to finding a policy that works for you.

What is building contents insurance?

It's important you don't confuse building contents insurance with a straight-forward building or home insurance coverage.

The latter will in most cases only protect the physical structure of the building, leaving your possessions - or "contents" of your home - vulnerable in the event of a fire, collapse or water damage.

This is where contents insurances comes in. It covers you not against the loss of your building but against the things that take from home to home, for example appliances, furniture and even clothing.

As far as what things can be included in a contents insurance package, it tends to vary from each insurer to the next. Some won't, for example, include things like carpet - as it's technically attached to the home itself.

This is a bit of grey area and often confusing; the best way to approach it is to ask your insurers and see what you can do to find a way around it.

What are the advantages of having contents insurance?

A lot of people look at the expense and hassle associated with taking out another insurance package and decide no thanks.

To some extent, there is a degree of weighing up involved. If you lead a minimalist lifestyle with few possessions then it may be worth simply taking the risk as, once again, there is no law which says you have to have it.

But if you're renting, remember that although the landlord is responsible for the building structure itself, your things aren't going to be covered if something badly goes wrong.

In an age of unscrupulous landlords and with so much potential for disaster, it's often a good idea to take out an extra layer of protection - even if it's an extra thing to budget for over the course of a year.

The best contents insurers will cover both electrical appliances such as laptops, your clothes and furniture - as well as, in some cases, priceless antiques and heirlooms. They will generally either offer to replace the things you've lost or damaged or pay you the cash equivalent.

How do I look for contents insurance?

When you go through a letting agency to rent out a flat or room, generally they will pass on your details - via something you've signed in the small-print of your contract - to a local insurer, who will likely badger you with calls from that point forward.

Sometimes it's worth listening to what they have to say, but remember that your letting agency is being paid to partner up with them, and there's no guarantee their rates are the best in town.

In other words, don't be afraid to tell them to get lost and shop around for yourself. To help you get started, below are some of the leading contents insurers in the UK.

Aviva

Offers unlimited contents cover - paying up to £2,000 per item.

John Lewis Finance

Unlimited maximum cover and unlimited per item cover. Introductory offers currently available.

Churchill Home Insurance

It is reported by Money that 30% of its customers paid £100 for their contents insurance. Maximum contents cover £100,000.

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