Monday, 30 July 2012

Do I need contents insurance?

How do I know if I need contents insurance? Isn't my stuff already covered by home insurance? Well, not necessarily. Contents insurance exists exactly for those exceptions which are not covered by basic home insurance. The rule of thumb for determining whether an item falls under home vs contents insurances is this: if the item is permanently attached to the home, then home assurance applies to it. Otherwise, the item requires the additional protection of contents insurance. While contents insurance is usually sold alongside a home insurance policy, you don't need to be a homeowner to take advantage of it; if you are a renter, you can protect your possessions by purchasing a contents policy as a stand-alone item. So let's take a look at commonly insured items to learn what category they fall under.

Laundry appliances – these would be covered under home insurance if they were stolen or damaged by weather or fires. However, in terms of regular wear and tear, you would need contents insurance to cover them.

Refrigerator, freezer, oven, microwave – like your laundry suite, barring natural disasters and theft, you would require contents insurance to cover damage done to these items.

Stovetop – this is usually considered a permanent part of the home, and would therefore be included in most basic home insurance policies.

Stove Hood – this may surprise you, but stove hoods are not generally considered a permanent part of your home; it might not occur to you to insure it separately, but you would need contents insurance to cover malfunctions for your hood.

Air conditioning – stand-alone units would be covered under contents insurance; central air conditioners would be covered under home insurance.

Heater – space heaters would fall under contents insurance; central heating would fall under home insurance.

Vacuum cleaner – Have you caught on to the pattern? You guessed it: if it's a central vacuum we're talking about, basic home insurance covers it. For your Hoovers and Roombas, you'll need contents insurance.

How much of a dent will contents insurance make in your paycheck? The good news is: not much. You might be surprised at how much more economical contents insurance is when compared with some of the warranty plans that items are sold with...and it will certainly save you money and peace of mind on items that are costly to repair and replace.


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