Received expensive Christmas presents, or bought big ticket items in the sales? Make sure they're covered under your home insurance, or you could risk a hefty payout to replace them if they end up lost or stolen.
Many of you will have received or bought TVs, gadgets and expensive jewellery over the festive period.
According to research by Deloitte, spending over the Christmas period increased by £1.4bn compared with last year, with many consumers treating their loved ones to expensive gifts (see our Home Insurance guide for full information on cutting costs).
However, many items may not be covered under your home insurance. Your insurer will ask for an estimated value of contents, but items that are particularly pricey – ranging from £750 to £2,000 for the most basic policies – often have to be listed to be covered.
So even if you tell your insurer the estimated value of the contents in your home, including a new laptop you got for Christmas, that laptop may not be covered if it isn't listed separately as a big ticket item.
But even if your goods are valued under £750, some policies still won't cover them if they're not specifically named on the policy, especially if they're mobile phones or tablets.
What's covered under my home insurance?
See the table below for details of what ten of the biggest home insurance providers require you list separately on your policy.
|Insurer||Mobile phone||Tablet||Other valuables||Admin fee|
|Admiral||Yes, if over £150||Yes||Yes, if over £1,000||£17.50|
|No||No||Yes, if over £2,000||£12.72|
|Axa Direct||No||No||Yes, if over £5,000||£30|
|Churchill||No||No||Yes, if over £2,000||£15.90|
|Debenhams||Yes||Yes||Yes, if 10% of insured contents amount||£15|
|Direct Line||No||No||Yes, if over £2,000||£15.90|
|Esure||Yes, if over £1,499||Yes, if over £1,499||Yes, if over £1,499||£20|
|Home Protect||Yes||Yes||Yes, if over £1,500||£25|
|John Lewis||No||No||Yes, if over £3,000||No fee|
|Legal & General||No||No||Yes, if 5% of insured contents amount||No fee|
|LV||No||No||Yes, if over,£1,500||No fee|
|Where items need to be listed separately you also need to declare the item's value.|
Home Protect customers, for example, have to list tablets or mobile phones on their policy documents in order for them to be covered.
Admiral, meanwhile, insists tablets are listed, as well as mobile phones worth over £150.
In addition, dozens of other insurers demand customers buy special add-on coverage for mobile phones and tablets – even to protect them inside the home.
However, be wary of fees that you might have to pay to change your documentation. If adding expensive items pushes the value of your contents above the overall sum you have insured, this may mean an increase in your premium.
Your insurer may also charge an administration fee – which can be as high as £50 – for changing the document. Check what you might have to pay and if there is a charge, fight it. The fee may be waived.
Check items are covered
Check your home insurance policy now – particularly the terms and conditions – to make sure any new possessions are covered. Here's what to do:
Call your provider. Call your provider urgently to see if you need to name new possessions in policy documents to make sure they're covered.
If they can be covered, check the charges. You'll have to pay an additional premium and possibly an administration fee to adjust your policy.
Set your limits correctly. If you do have to list your possessions on your home insurance policy, make sure you know their full value so you're not out of pocket if you need to make a claim. You'll only get back the amount you detailed in your policy minus any excess.
Consider switching provider. Check if you can you get better cover elsewhere for less. See our Home Insurance guide for full information on cutting costs.