Home contents insurance

Home contents insurance is sometimes confused with building insurance, or worse, overlooked completely. But this form of insurance is essential if you want to protect yourself and your family in the event that you suffer damage or loss to the personal possessions in your home.

In our handy guide, we’ll be explaining what exactly this type of insurance covers, as well as how you can easily to find the best one for you and your needs.

In This Guide:

What exactly are ‘home contents’?

It’s easy to get confused between home contents insurance and building insurance (also known as home insurance or homeowner’s insurance). In short, building insurance covers the physical structure of your home, whereas home contents insurance covers all of your possessions inside your home.

Anything that is fixed (e.g. garage, swimming pool and pump, fence, geyser, etc.) are all the domain of building insurance. Everything else inside your property is the scope of home contents insurance.

Another easy way to figure this out is to think of things from the perspective of a landlord and tenant. The landlord owns the physical building itself (building insurance), whereas the tenant owns the furniture etc. inside of the house (home contents insurance).

Why is home contents insurance important?

Home contents insurance is important as it provides you with protection against the damage or theft of your personal possessions in your home.

In the event off an unfortunate incident (such as flooding) that damages your home, your building insurance will cover the cost of repairing the physical structure of your home, but will not provide additional funds for the items inside it.

Would you be able to afford to replace everything in your home? If not, could you live without these possessions? If the answer is ‘no’, then home contents insurance is vital.

What does home contents insurance cover?

Home contents insurance covers all of your personal items against:

  • Theft
  • Fire damage
  • Malicious damage
  • Weather damage (including storm damage, flooding, and lightning)

Many insurers will also offer the option for you to take out additional cover for accidental damage (e.g. if you spill wine on your furniture).

Home contents insurance vs. personal valuables insurance

It is also worth noting that many of your ‘day-to-day’ items that you take with you when you leave the house will not be covered by home contents insurance, as these items fall under personal valuables insurance (also known as ‘all-risk insurance).

When it comes to high-value items such as your laptop, cell phone, or jewellery, you will need to specify them individually in your policy. Each item will be listed with its value and serial number in the event that you need to make a claim.

Does building insurance include home contents insurance?

No. Building insurance only covers the physical structure of your home and you will require separate home contents insurance to cover your other possessions and valuables. If you are renting your property, then you will need your own home contents insurance policy.

How much cover do you need?

Simply put: you will need enough cover in order to replace all of the items in your home with new ones. This is why it is vital to keep on top of the value of all of your possessions by going through your home and listing every single one of your items.

Being underinsured is a common problem in South Africa, with a third of homes being underinsured by up to 30%. In the event that you make a claim, you may find yourself seriously out of pocket if you are underinsured.

For example, if you’ve insured the contents of your home for R150,000 and need to make a full claim, you may find that it actually costs R250,000 (or more) to replace all of your possessions - leaving you with a shortfall that you’ll have to make up yourself.

It’s easy to underestimate how much cover you need - especially as the years go by and you accumulate more possessions of higher value. This is why it’s important to keep on top of the value of all of the items in your home and make sure you look over your insurance policy regularly to make sure that you are adequately covered.

How to save on your insurance costs

The good news is that it has never been easier to find . With a price comparison site such as ours, you can spend a few minutes filling in your details and policy requirements, and then save yourself hours as we automatically find the best policies that suit your needs.

Not only this, but you’ll be sure to save yourself a handy sum of money too as you’ll be sure to get the cheapest policy that insures the contents of your home to the level you require!

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