We insure the structure of your home, but not your personal possessions.

What is home contents insurance?

Home contents insurance covers you against loss, theft or damage to your personal and home possessions. It can cover accidental damage to items such as fixed glazing and also cover your possessions if you take items out of the home, on holiday, for example.

The insurance covers your own possessions and those of close family members living with you. It may not cover the possessions of anyone staying with you temporarily.

You don't have to take out home contents insurance. However, it's a good idea to do so because if any of your contents are lost, stolen or damaged you will have to pay to replace them.

What should your policy cover?

Your policy should cover damage caused by fire, flooding, storms and theft. You may have to pay extra to cover accidental loss or damage to your possessions. This may be worth considering is you have children or pets. However, check what's included.

You will also have to pay extra to cover possessions that you take out of the home, for example, cameras or jewellery, or to cover a particularly valuable item. Your policy may not cover the contents of a freezer or a mobile phone and there may be an upper limit for a single item.

Most policies carry an excess. This means that you won't be covered for the first few pounds of a claim. A typical excess may be between £50 and £100.

Most policies offer new for old cover. This means you get the full replacement cost of items that are lost, stolen or damaged. However, some policies will only offer you the amount that your items are currently worth if you need to make a claim. Make sure you know what your policy is offering to replace before you take it out.

Although we cannot recommend a specific insurer, online comparison sites can guide you to the right policy for you at the right price.