Contents Insurance
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What Is Contents Insurance?

It’s safe to say that anyone who owns anything of value can benefit from a contents insurance policy. Contents insurance, also called personal property insurance, is insurance that covers the things you own. What’s more, it’s insurance that extends to cover misfortune that could befall valuables your family and friends may have left at your residence. 

How to Get Contents Insurance Coverage?

Here’s the great news: Contents insurance is part of standard homeowners insurance or renters policies. It’s often referred to as Coverage C, and it will reimburse you the cost of your damaged, stolen or lost items. 

So, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, you probably won’t need to get separate contents insurance. You should, however, review your contents insurance coverages to make sure they are robust enough to actually cover you in the event you need to file a claim.

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What Contents Insurance Covers?

Let’s start with what content insurance doesn’t cover. This includes items you own that are on your property, but covered by a separate insurance policy, like car insurance or motorcycle insurance. 

Contents insurance also will not cover the belongings of tenants who are not related to you, though, as mentioned it will cover the belongings of guests and even live-in employees. 

To help you get a handle on what specific items are covered and not covered by contents insurance, take a look at the lists below. Keep in mind that these items are not always covered (or not covered) under all policies and you will need to review your policy to see exactly what is included.

Items Usually Covered by Contents Insurance

Electronics (laptops, stereos, cellphones)
Precious metals and jewelry
Firearms and ammunition
Belongings of live-in employees and guests

Items Usually Covered by Contents Insurance

Pets/animals
Boilers, carpets, other fixtures
Vehicles that require registration for use on public roads
Belongings of non-related tenants, roomers or boarders

Location Matters With Contents Insurance Coverage

While most contents insurance policies will offer a degree of protection no matter where your belongings are in the world (i.e., if you are travelling with them), the coverage limit will usually be lower when the items are not in your home. 

In fact, belongings that are designated as “usually located” at an alternate residence are subject to insurance that’s capped at 10% of the full coverage for the items in your insured home. But if your items are on your property, even if they are located in a detached garage, they are usually covered up to the policy’s limits.

The exception to this rule is if you placed belongings (e.g. furniture) in a tenant’s space, in which case the coverage limits would be lower. You’d require landlords insurance to get fuller coverage on these items. 

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Understanding Contents Insurance Coverage Limits

Personal property coverage limits usually fall between 50% and 70% of the insured value on your home. So, for example, if your home is insured for $500,000, then your contents insurance coverage would usually be between $250,000 and $350,000.

Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV)

Unless you specify otherwise, your contents insurance will most often only cover the actual cash value of your belongings. This means when the value of your cell phone, for instance, depreciates, that’s the amount your insurance company will reimburse you. 

Replacement cost value, on the other hand, is a more expensive option but will reimburse you for the full original value of your item. If you want a RCV policy, you will pay higher premiums and need to request this option. You’ll also need to keep your receipts. 

Contents Insurance Valuables and Sublimits

The majority of contents insurance plans will have sublimits, which are limits applied to valuable items like jewelry, silver and goldware, rugs, watercrafts, and digital equipment.

In the event you should need to file a claim for these items, your insurance provider will only reimburse you for up to that limit, which will be set by your provider and varies from company to company (so be sure to do your research).

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How Much Home Contents Insurance Do You Need?

There’s no single answer to this, since the amount of coverage you need will depend on the value of your possessions. The best way to determine how much contents coverage you need is to write up a list of your belongings—(serial numbers included should you have them). Also take photos of the items and keep the receipts. 

Add up a tally of the total value of all these belongings and round up to the nearest $10,000. That’s the amount of contents insurance you should aim to acquire. 

The Bottomline: Everyone Benefits from Contents Insurance

Not only does everyone benefit from contents insurance, but if you have renters or homeowners insurance, you already have this coverage. However, you may need more if you have many valuables, in which case, speak to your insurance provider.

It’s also a good idea to get some additional contents insurance quotes. The provider you have may not be the best provider for you!

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FAQ
Home content insurance is an extension of your homeowners insurance policy that reimburses you for either the actual cash value or replacement cost value of your belongings in the event they are lost, stolen, or damaged.
That can vary from policy to policy, but most often insurance covers the belongings of you, your guests or live-in employees.

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