Average contents insurance policy is inadequate

Nia Williams

December 1, 2008

Britons under-insure their home contents by more than £255 billion, leaving millions struggling to replace their belongings in the event of disaster – and at risk of invalidating their policy – a survey commissioned by AXA has revealed today.

At a time when people are cutting costs where they can, it may seem wise to many people to go for the cheapest premium. Not only could under-insuring mean you find yourself without enough funds to replace your belongings, it could even invalidate the policy.

Nick Kidd, AXA’s Head of Household said: “It may seem a good idea to many – particularly in today’s climate – to pick the cheapest option when it comes to home insurance and save a few pounds, but £20,000 or even £30,000 worth of insurance is unlikely to cover all the contents in your home.

“It’s very easy to under-value your possessions. When taking out home contents insurance, it’s absolutely vital you have a clear idea of what your possessions cost: under-insuring could lead to your policy being invalidated. We would advise people to keep receipts of all major possessions, take pictures of their most valuable items and factor in realistic replacement costs for things you may not have considered, such as personal effects.”

The findings revealed that while consumers insured their home contents for just under £29,000, they do not take everything into consideration when calculating that figure. When asked to place a value on a detailed list of home contents that included items such as home accessories and garden furniture, the figure rose to almost £38,000.


The most expensive room in the house is the lounge, valued by consumers at an average of £2,752 followed by the kitchen at an average of £2,299. Both of these hold some of the most valuable items in the home – furniture, electrical equipment, appliances, and crockery all add up to a significant sum to replace.

Homeowners put personal effects such as photographs at the top of their list of most precious items, with a high sentimental value of almost £14,000 – although it is hard to put a real replacement price on these items which, are in many cases, irreplaceable.

Men place £4,000 more value on the contents in their home than women.

Those in the North East and Scotland insure their contents for the highest amounts at £36,000 and £33,000 respectively while people in the North West insure their contents at the lowest level at £25,500.

Men value cosmetics far more highly than women: men think their home has £1,160 worth of beauty products, while women think it is more like £590. A case of not knowing the true cost – or wanting to hide it?

You never know what you might find in the attic, but if you live in the West Midlands it’s expensive: they value their loft contents more highly than any other region at £1,831.

AXA Home Insurance offers sufficient standard cover for residents’ household needs so there is no need for homeowners to worry. AXA Home Insurance provides £60,000 contents and £350,000 buildings cover as standard, alternative accommodation up to £100,000, business equipment covered up to £5,000, contents in the garden covered up to £1,000 and a valuable item limit of £12,000. Cover is also extended to student’s belongings at school or university.

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