Is it worth getting car contents insurance for your valuable possessions?
Most people nowadays have a few cool gadgets for their cars – a satellite navigation system enables the driver to go from A to B without any difficulty or prior knowledge of the route whilst an MP3 player/iPod makes the journey more enjoyable. Very often, these devices are left in the car sometimes unhidden and they usually become a target for thieves who are always looking for an easy opportunity to steal your things. Fortunately some car insurance policies come with car contents cover which gives you peace of mind knowing your precious possessions will be replaced if they are lost, stolen or damaged.
Those who have trailers or roof boxes will need to add coverage for their cars’ contents as an extra feature since this is not standard but rather considered an additional feature. Of course, if you have a trailer, it makes a lot of sense to protect yourself against all the odds but what is exactly covered in these contents policies? Let’s find out:
- GPS systems (Sat Navs)
- Mobile phones
- MP3 players/iPods
- CD/DVD players
- Any other personal possessions
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, first of all, know that jewellery, cash, bonds and many other things are excluded from this policy. If you have something specific in mind, talk to the insurer first to see whether the item will be covered by them. Then you need to find out how much you’ll get in the event of a break-in or damage.
All insurers will have a maximum value they’ll pay out for a claim. For example, a typical limit would be £1000 and whether you’re putting in a claim for a DSLR camera that’s worth £2000 alone or claiming for multiple items (mobile phone, sat nav, dvd player) which costs £1500 in total to replace, you’re only going to get £1000 from the insurer. Period.
That’s not all though because most insurers will provide contents’ coverage against the value of your vehicle. They’ll usually insure your personal belongings for upto 10% of the value of your car. So if you report a £800 loss and your car is valued at £4000 at the current market rate, then you’ll only get £400. This may sound harsh because you’re claiming a lot less than their maximum payout value but that’s the reality you’ll have to bear in mind.
Some things cannot be replaced because they have sentimental value and it’s pointless to get insurance for such things. A £5 mug that has been given to a son from his late mother, no matter what state it’s in, cannot be replaced even by a new or more expensive one. Moreover as soon as you put in a claim, you can say goodbye to your no claims bonus as your NCB will be reduced/removed as you’ll find out when the car insurance renewal letter comes in afterwards.
It is worth noting that any claim will need to be justified before it is accepted. So you will need to provide enough proof that you took reasonable measures to keep your personal belongings safe before being entitled to a successful claim. To me though, it’s just a waste of time if you’re insuring petty things that would cost you cheaper to buy back than getting them replaced through your car insurance company.