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New Year Review – Making sure your contents cover stacks up

Tue 8th Jan 19

Packing away the Christmas decorations gives many people a perception of space in their homes, as the clutter of festive ornaments moves aside for another 11 months. It also allows us a great opportunity to spring clean our homes, and to review the ‘things’ that we own.

Making sure your insurance cover is adequate for your needs may generally be something you do each year at renewal but, often, a review of the worth of contents can often be overlooked. Making a point of doing this at the start of each new year ensures you stay covered, without being under- or over-insured.

In 2018, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reported that the average UK household owns £35,000 worth of ‘stuff’. Multiplied by the number of homes in the country – some 27 million – that adds up to around £1 trillion worth of contents.

The ABI also reported that over a quarter of households – 7.5 million – have no contents insurance whatsoever.

Just as worrying, many homes are underinsured, leaving a deficit between the value of contents and the amount an insurer will pay out in the event of a claim.

What is contents insurance?

When it comes to home insurance, there’s often confusion over what is included as part of the buildings and what is covered as contents.

As a rule of thumb, if something within your home is portable and you could reasonably remove it to take it to another home, then it is part of your contents. So, your furniture and free standing appliances are contents, while your fitted fixtures – such as your fitted kitchen, fitted wardrobes, and the like – will be covered under your buildings insurance. Following this rule, your carpets, curtains and blinds are counted as contents, too.

How to evaluate the value of your contents

Valuing the contents in your home can seem like a daunting task. Creating a tick list of everything in your home is a great way to start and, the good news is, the hard work only needs to be done once. Your tick list can then be used every year, simply adding items that you have bought onto it and removing any that you have replaced.

The work can be broken down into more manageable chunks, too, splitting your list into the rooms in your home. Here are some ideas from the Ryan’s Private Clients insurance team to get you started:


  • Sofas and chairs
  • Cabinets, side tables, bookcases and sideboards
  • TV, stereo, radio and other electronics
  • Lamps and light fittings
  • Carpets and curtains
  • Antiques, ornaments and artwork
  • Books, DVDs, CD's, records and the like

Dining room

  • Table and chairs
  • Sideboards and contents
  • TV, stereo, radio and other electronics
  • Lamps and light fittings
  • Carpets and curtains
  • Crockery, glassware and cutlery


  • Cooker/range
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer
  • Oven, kettle, toaster, mixers, coffee machines and the like
  • Pots, pans, crockery and cutlery
  • Cupboard contents


  • Tables, sideboards and cabinets
  • Antiques and artwork
  • Telephone


  • Beds and bed linen
  • Wardrobes, drawers, bedside cabinets and chairs
  • Lamps and light fittings
  • Jewellery, clothes and shoes
  • Cosmetics and toiletries
  • TV, stereo, radio and other electronics
  • Carpets and curtains

Garage and garden shed

  • Garden furniture
  • Lawnmowers, strimmers, hedge trimmers
  • Bikes, scooters and exercise equipment
  • Tools

Once you’ve created your list, you need to work out their value. Your insurance policy is likely to replace on a new for old basis, so you’ll need to calculate value on this basis. It’s also a good idea to get high value items, such as jewellery, valued professionally and listed separately on your policy.

What’s your limit?

Cover for contents ranges depending on your insurance provider, so it’s a good idea to ensure you’re specific about the amount of contents cover you need when taking out a home insurance policy and to make sure you’ve taken everything into account.

At Ryan’s we work with our customers to help ensure the correct levels of cover are in place. To find out more or to update your contents insurance, please call the home and property experts in the  Ryan’s Private Clients team on 01473 343300