Home Property Contents insurance: Millions of Brits making costly mistake

Contents insurance: Millions of Brits making costly mistake

by Seamus Doherty Property Reporter
22nd Feb 24 1:43 pm

A new study has revealed that over 5.6 million homes in the UK are underinsured for their contents insurance. This means that in a worst-case scenario of loss or damage, millions will not receive the funds they’d need to repair or replace their possessions – even if they claim.[1]

The calculations, by Go.Compare home insurance, looked at the number of residential properties in the UK (based on the 2021 census) and ABI statistics on the percentage of underinsured homes. Using these figures, the comparison site estimated that millions do not have the right level of cover.

As part of the research, it said that the total value of the UK’s contents is a jaw-dropping £827 billion.[2] However, likely only a few of these belongings are properly covered. An estimated 9.3 million households do not have any contents insurance, leaving them unprotected. Go.Compare says this is equivalent to £276 billion worth of possessions that are uninsured in the UK.[3]

The insurance comparison site says a possible reason for this is that many people might be falling foul of insurance pitfalls. Less than a quarter know how to calculate accurately the worth of their possessions, according to the report, meaning 76% are at risk of having insufficient coverage from their policy.

Similarly, only 43% said the value of their possessions is up-to-date on a contents insurance policy, and just 39% said they know that contents insurance policies often have a single-item limit. Overall, a third of respondents said they did not know about any of these three issues.

Ceri McMillan, home insurance expert at Go.Compare, says: “It’s shocking to see that so many might not have the coverage they need to keep their possessions safe. Millions of pounds are at risk of being lost, highlighting that many of us need to take action to make sure our possessions are properly protected.

“While it might not be the first thing on your mind, it’s critical that you update the value of your contents regularly. Otherwise, you risk being underinsured and might not get the funds you need in a worst-case scenario like a fire, flood or theft. This results in the cruel double-whammy of losing your possessions and having to absorb the financial cost of replacing them.

“A good way of getting into the habit of updating your insurance is to revalue your possessions whenever your policy renews. You should also consider updating it after you’ve made any big purchases, such as jewellery or tech, or after big occasions like Christmas and birthdays where you might have an influx of new possessions.

“If you do make any big purchases, be wary of single article limits that may be on your policy, too. For anything you buy that might be worth more than £1,000, double-check that your policy will provide sufficient coverage. You might need to inform your provider about these so that they can be listed individually.

“Many people find it difficult to provide an accurate estimate, but there are ways you can get support with this. Our online contents insurance calculator can help you come to a realistic valuation, so consider trying this if you’re struggling.”

More information can be found on Go.Compare’s website

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