How much are your possessions worth? Having enough insurance is almost as important as having insurance in the first place. When it comes to applying for a policy, it’s important to provide the right figures, as getting them wrong could have serious consequences. “Guesstimating” the value of your household contents could leave you under insured and out of pocket.

Under-insurance can be a big problem if you make a claim, as your insurance company may not pay out the full cost to replace lost, stolen or damaged items. So, if you only paid for £25,000 of home contents cover, but the total value of your home contents is £50,000, any claim you make, even for a single item included at the correct value, could be scaled-down pro rata.

Whilst the Financial Ombudsman has commented that consumers are “unlikely to be experienced in calculating such costs“, it is in the interests of the policyholder to ensure that the figure they choose to insure for is sufficient.

If you’re a homeowner, it makes sense to have plans in place that protect you, your family and your home. Insurance policies are designed to provide financial safeguards and valuable peace of mind.


Life policies provide a tax-free cash lump sum for those you leave behind in the event of your death. If you have a mortgage, it’s a big financial responsibility and no one would want to leave their family with money worries at a sad and difficult time.

There are other types of plan that protect growing families, such as critical illness cover, which means that if you are diagnosed with a serious illness as defined in your policy, there’s a cash payout to help alleviate financial worries. Income protection policies provide an income should you suffer an accident or illness and be unable to work. Accident, sickness and unemployment policies provide a monthly payout that would help pay your mortgage and other living costs in the event of an accident, sickness or involuntary unemployment.


Buildings insurance covers you for damage to the structure of your home. When you take out a mortgage, your lender will require that you have buildings insurance in place, and that it covers the cost of rebuilding the property and its permanent fixtures and fittings. The rebuilding cost isn’t the same as your property’s market value, it’s generally a lower figure which will be detailed in your lender’s valuation report or arrived at by using an online calculator.

Unlike buildings insurance, mortgage lenders don’t insist that you have cover for your home contents; however, it makes sense to protect them against risks like burglary, fire and flood. You can also arrange insurance for valuable items like jewellery, and those belongings you use away from home, such as laptops.

If you could use some help in ensuring you have the right protection policies for your needs, do get in touch.

With buildings insurance, part of your premium is based on what it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch if it were to be destroyed by perils like fire or flood. If your property is constructed largely from materials such as timber, concrete or straw, rather than the more traditional bricks and tiles or slate, then some insurers consider it as ‘non-standard’.

Happily, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get insurance, rather that you’ll need to find a more specialised insurer. We can help you find the right deal for your property.

Airbnb is an amazing business success story – there are now more than four million homes listed around the world. But homeowners who list their property on Airbnb or similar sites need to think carefully about their insurance position, as when they have a tenant in their property, they may not be insured under the terms of their cover.

Typical contents insurance won’t necessarily pay out if you make a claim on damage caused while your property was being let out. So, if you’re already a host on Airbnb, or thinking of joining the network, then you will need a comprehensive insurance policy that specifically allows you to rent out your property for periods of time, or covers you if you have tenants who sublet.

Airbnb do provide what they call a host guarantee, but make it clear that it isn’t an insurance policy and they recommend that you take out your own separate cover. There are now new top-up policies on the market to protect hosts. They provide cover for homeowners, tenants and landlords who let rooms, annexes or whole houses, and some allow you to increase your cover on a short-term basis.

In addition it is vital that homeowners considering letting a room or property in this way, seek consent from their mortgage lender first, restrictions may apply.

Getting your numbers wrong when working out how much home insurance cover you need could prove to be a costly mistake that could have serious consequences. If you don’t check your home contents sum insured on a regular basis, then you could find that if you need to make a claim you are underinsured. If you’ve had the same level of cover in place for a few years, then it may no longer reflect the up-to-date value of all your possessions.

If you don’t have the right level of cover in place and you need to make a claim, you could find that your insurance company reduces the value of your claim substantially, even if your claim is for less than the total amount of your sum insured.

If for example, you have possessions worth £50,000 but only insure them for £25,000, and you make a claim for £10,000, your insurer may reduce the amount they pay out to £5,000 because you are underinsured.

So, make sure you check the value of your home contents when renewing your policy.

How precise are you when it comes to numbers? Do you tend to ‘guestimate’? It’s an interesting fact of life that we find some figures easier to get to grips with than others. When it comes to home insurance, the more precise you can be when calculating the value of all the things you own, the more likely you are to get the right insurance cover for your needs at the right price.

Home contents

When thinking about your home contents, it’s really important to pay particular attention to your sums when adding up the value of all your possessions. Ensuring you have enough insurance cover is almost as important as having insurance in the first place. Underinsurance can cause serious problems if you make a claim, as your insurance company may not pay out the full cost to replace lost, stolen or damaged items.

If, for example, you only paid for £25,000 of home contents cover, but the total value of your possessions is really £50,000, any claim you make, even for a single item included at the correct value, could be scaled-down pro rata.

Many more families now possess tablets, laptops, state-of-the art phones and electronic gadgets. Spending time going from room to room armed with a notebook and pen can help ensure you don’t forget to include all your valuable items.

Buildings cover

When it comes to buildings cover, many people stick with the rebuilding cost they started with when they first moved into their property. However, if for instance you’ve had an extension built in the meantime, then you will need to add this to your policy cover. If you don’t, you could be underinsured in the event of a claim, and could have to make up the shortfall yourself.

Your adviser will be able to give you helpful tips on calculating the right figures for your home insurance needs.