Do you need personal possessions insurance when away from home?

A lady sat on a bench with her handbag, mobile phone and earphones

September 21, 2021

When you’re on holiday, or even if you’re just away from your home, the last thing you want to be worrying about is losing one of your personal possessions such as your camera, watch, mobile phone or any other type of expensive gadget that you don’t want to have to replace out of your own pocket.

Many people think that just because they have a solid home insurance policy in place, that their possessions will always be protected under their home contents cover, but that isn’t always the case.

Your personal property is usually only covered under your home contents insurance when it’s actually at your home, otherwise, you can probably assume that the cost of replacing or repairing any of your belongings that were damaged, lost or stolen away from your home will have to come out of your pocket.

In our guide to personal possessions insurance, we talk about what it is, what you’ll be covered for and whether it’s actually worth getting.

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What is personal possessions cover?

Personal possessions cover is usually offered as an optional extra add-on to your home contents insurance in the form of ‘cover away from your home’.

It’s usually split into ‘personal possessions’ and ‘specified items’ and it covers you for loss or damage to your personal belongings when they’re away from your home.

How does personal possessions cover work?

Personal possessions cover provides protection for portable items that you either wear, use or carry with you when you leave your house, such as your camera, mobile phone or watch. 

The ‘Specified Items’ are also sometimes referred to as ‘High Risk’ items, such as those worth more than £1,000 and you must explicitly state whether you want them to be covered outside of your home.

What is covered by personal possessions cover?

Personal possessions cover offers protection for a variety of things. This can include items such as mobile phones, laptops, cameras, jewellery, bicycles, iPods/MP3 players and more.

High-risk items tend to be things such as musical instruments, collectable items, computers and laptops, expensive jewellery and watches, works of art, precious metals and stones, sporting gear and equipment and more.

If you want to ensure that any and all of your personal belongings are protected when you’re not at home, then it’s important to make a note of everything you want to be included within your insurance policy.

Are my possessions covered when I'm away from my home?

There are several things you can do to ensure that your personal possessions are covered when you’re away from home, including:

  • Avoid taking high-risk and high-value items away with you on holiday. While it might seem like a lovely idea to take away an expensive necklace to wear with you while you’re on holiday, the risk of losing it or it getting stolen might not be worth it. It’s also important to remember that personal belongings that are stolen from a hotel room aren’t always covered unless there is a visible sign of forced entry to suggest that they were stolen.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your valuable items on you at all times where possible so that you’re in control of your valuables’ whereabouts. Some policies won’t cover you if your valuable items were left unattended or in the possession of someone else.
  • While this might seem like common sense, you should always endeavour to keep your gadgets away from water. Place your phone away from drinks when at a table and avoid using your phone, laptop or camera near a swimming pool or in the bath as water damage isn’t always covered under personal possession cover.
  • If you need to leave valuable items in a car, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions to protect them by locking the car doors, keeping windows up and hiding possessions out of sight where possible, such as in the glovebox, in the boot or secured away underneath a seat.

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When does ‘away from home cover’ not apply?

There are some instances when cover away from the home won’t apply, including:

  • When bicycles aren’t stored securely in a locked building or locked to an immovable object with a secure bike lock. Some providers may also require you to use a specific bike lock such as a Sold Secure-approved bike lock, otherwise they might not cover you if you make a claim.
  • If items are used for business purposes, such as a laptop or camera, these aren’t usually covered under the ‘away from home’ policy.
  • Most insurers won’t cover any damage caused to any sporting equipment that occurred while you were using it.

Do you need personal possessions cover?

If you’re asking is it worth it to have personal possessions insurance, then the answer to that question is entirely up to you and how valuable you deem your personal belongings to be.

Personal possessions cover isn’t a legal requirement and it’s only advisable to have if you don’t want the worry of having to pay to replace your belongings if something happens to them.

If you’re going away from your home, such as if you’re travelling, and you’ll be taking a lot of expensive personal belongings with you, it can be worth taking out the extra cover for your own peace of mind.

How much personal possessions cover do I need?

The amount of personal possessions cover that you need should be determined by how much your items are worth. For example, if you have a camera worth £400, a laptop worth £500 and an expensive watch worth £600, you should ask for a sum insured of £1,500. 

When thinking about how much cover you want/need, it’s important to think about how much the items that you’re taking out of the house are worth and ensure that you take out a policy that would cover the cost of replacing or repairing them if they become lost, damaged or stolen.

And just remember that if you do make a claim on your policy, you're likely to lose any No Claims Bonus you may have built up.

If you need a home insurance quote or if you're simply interested in how much you could save by switching to another provider, get a quote with Bobatoo today, obligation-free:

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