Contents insurance – Protect the things you value in your home

Share This Post

Contents insurance covers your household items and personal belongings if they’re damaged, lost or stolen.

This can include your furniture, clothes, computer, fridge, television, tools and jewellery.

If you own your home, you can bundle your contents insurance with your home insurance. This is usually cheaper than having separate policies.

Getting the right contents insurance

When choosing contents insurance, think about the value of your belongings. Ask yourself what you could afford to replace or lose if something went wrong.

Cover the cost of replacing your belongings

Most contents insurance offers the replacement value of your belongings, sometimes called ‘new for old’ cover. It covers the full cost of replacing your belongings with new ones, which often cost more. Replacement value gives you the best cover, but it’s more expensive.

Some policies offer the value of your lost or damaged belongings. This covers what they are worth at the time they’re insured. For example, your fridge might be currently valued at $500, so you get $500 from the insurer. It may cost more to buy a new one of similar quality. This value is likely to depreciate (go down) each year.

When you claim, insurers may repair or replace the damaged items, or pay you the amount it would cost to repair or replace them.

Calculate the value of your belongings

Work out what your belongings are worth to see how much cover you need. It will also help you identify what items are worth insuring.

Start by listing all your belongings and how much each item would cost to replace (at today’s prices). Include as many details as possible. For example, serial numbers, receipts, warranties, photos, condition and the date of purchase.

To help, Good Shepherd Microfinance has a list of common household items and their average value. See the Insure it, it’s worth it toolkit. Or use the contents insurance calculator on the Insurance Council of Australia’s website.

Consider accidental damage cover

Most contents insurance doesn’t include cover for accidental damage. It may be worth adding this if you want cover for mishaps, such as staining your couch or smashing a vase.

Also check what isn’t covered, for example, damage to clothing or computers.

Check the exclusions

Contents insurance covers loss and damage caused by defined or insured events. These can include fire, storm, theft and vandalism.

It’s worth checking what isn’t included. For example, damage caused by floods, intentional or criminal damage, or theft if you leave windows or doors unlocked.

Also check what items aren’t covered and decide if you want to add something. For example, portable items like your handbag, glasses, camera, bicycle, mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Or valuable items like jewellery and special collections, such as artwork, stamps, rare books or memorabilia.

Consider renters insurance

If you rent your home, renters insurance could be a good option. This type of contents insurance is usually cheaper. It may cover accidental damage to the house, and legal costs if someone injures themselves on the property. However, it has more exclusions and limits than regular contents insurance.

Check limits for certain items

Most policies have maximum amounts on how much you claim for certain items. For example, suppose $1000 is the limit for electrical appliances. If fire destroys your $2000 television, you’ll end up having to pay the difference to replace it.

Adjust your excess

Most insurers allow you to adjust your excess. Weigh up the difference between having a high premium and low excess, versus the opposite. You may be able to save on your premium by increasing your excess.

Take advantage of discounts and benefits

You may pay a lower premium if you bundle your contents insurance with your home insurance, pay annually or apply online.

You could get a discount if you have deadlocks, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms or a security system.

Some insurers offer extra benefits. These could include replacing locks and keys after a break-in, or cover for your belongings when you move house.

Comparing contents insurance

Get quotes from more than one insurer to find the best value and a policy that suits your needs. Compare the Key Fact Sheets of different policies. If you want more detail, read the product disclosure statement (PDS).

Comparison websites can be useful, but they are businesses and may make money through promoted links. They may not cover all your options.

Compare these features:

Premiumcost for the same type of cover
Excessamount you pay to make a claim option to lower your premium by paying a higher excess
Cover limitsmaximum limit on how much you can claim for certain items
Value of your belongingsvalue or replacement value of your belongings
Settlementoptions for how your belongings are repaired or replaced, for example, the insurer replaces them or you’re given cash to replace them

 Renewing your contents insurance

When it’s time to renew your policy, update your policy to reflect any changes. For example, add cover for special items or add new items.

Get quotes from a few other insurers to check you’re getting the best deal. You may end up paying more if you stay with your current insurer.

.

.

Wealthness Pty Ltd ABN 13 231 248 112 [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL No. 236523. It is important to be aware that Better Financial Planning Australia is not authorised by Infocus to provide advice relating to credit services or property advice. Infocus is not responsible for any advice outside of the scope of this authorisation and should you wish to act on any of this general information, please first seek professional financial advice.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia will endeavour to update the website as needed. However, information can change without notice and Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the website, including information provided by third parties, at any time.
This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances. Although we consider the sources for this material reliable, no warranty is given and no liability is accepted for any statement or opinion or for any error or omission.
Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia does not give any warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of information which is contained in this website. Except insofar as any liability under statute cannot be excluded, Wealthness Pty Ltd t/as Better Financial Planning Australia and its employees do not accept any liability for any error or omission on this website or for any resulting loss or damage suffered by the recipient or any other person.
Wealthness Pty Ltd (ACN 613 313 250) [t/a Better Financial Planning Australia] Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL Licence No. 236523.

Source: ASIC MoneySmart

More To Explore

Teaching kids about money

Start early to get your kids on track for the future Raising your kids to be smart with money gives them vital life skills. As

Banking and credit scams

How to spot a scam and protect yourself against scammers If someone asks you to verify or give your personal details or offers you a

Stay TUNED
Stay TUNED

Our Podcast ‘Sharing More Than The Sheets’ is designed to help Australians like you, DO BETTER, BE BETTER and FEEL BETTER with your finances.