Protect Your Stuff With Home Contents Insurance 

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Remember show-and-tell as a kid? You brought in your favorite toy, stuffed animal or blanket, something you cherished so much that you wanted to show it off to the whole class. And though your show-and-tell days are long gone, you still have a favorite object somewhere in your home. Maybe it’s a necklace passed down in your family or the latest piece of tech you got for Christmas last year. But regardless of what your favorite item is, it deserves to be protected.

Luckily, if you have a home insurance policy, all of your belongings are already protected under the home contents portion of your coverage. Learn what it takes to protect your valuables below.

Key takeaways:

  • Home contents insurance protects your belongings from damage or needed repairs that occur from covered perils or theft, whether they happen at home or somewhere else.
  • This protection extends throughout your home as well, covering items owned by guests or relatives that live in your home.
  • Costly items, such as tech, heirlooms or jewelry, may need additional protection from an insurance rider.

What is home contents insurance?

Home contents insurance, also known as personal property insurance or Coverage C, protects your belongings from damage or needed repairs that occur from covered perils or theft. Home contents is a standard part of most home insurance policies, so you can rest easy knowing your belongings have the protection they need.

What does home contents insurance cover?

In an HO-3 policy, home contents insurance protects your personal property, whether they’re in the home or somewhere else, from covered perils such as fire, theft or falling objects. This protection extends throughout your home as well, covering things owned by guests or relatives that live in your home.

However, if you have long-term roommates that you aren’t related to (and therefore aren’t included in your policy) or your landlord keeps some items in your home, their belongings won’t be covered under contents insurance. And if you're moving, it’s important to note that home contents insurance will protect your personal property in a storage facility or if you move them yourself. But if you hire movers, most home insurance providers won’t protect your items while they’re under another company’s care.

Business owners that operate from their homes will want to double-check their home contents limitations. Many providers won’t cover pieces bought strictly for business purposes — this includes items like electronics and furniture. To get adequate protection for your home business, you’ll need a separate business insurance policy.

Contents insurance limitations

Even though contents insurance is pretty thorough, there are a few limitations within this coverage you should keep on your radar. Home contents protection will cover most items in your home, but there are payout caps on individual belongings. This is true for costly items, such as tech, heirlooms or jewelry, which may need additional protection from an insurance rider known as scheduled personal property coverage.

You’ll also want to find out whether your insurance payouts are under actual cash value or replacement cost coverage. Replacement cost coverage means you’ll be covered to repair or replace your items to their previous value; real cash value will only cover you up to your items value, minus depreciation. This means that if you want to ensure you can always replace or repair your items to like-new condition, you’ll want to have replacement cost insurance.

How much home contents insurance do I need?

To determine how much home contents insurance you need, you’ll need to conduct a home inventory. This can be done by writing down each item you own and its estimated value, but these days, most insurance companies will also accept photos or videos of your items. Our insurance experts recommend getting more coverage than you think you need — that way, you can replace your favorite art pieces with newer versions or update to the latest technology without having to worry about paying out of pocket.

Home contents coverage is based on a percentage of your dwelling coverage (50% or more), though our experts recommend getting more coverage than you think you need.

Typically, home contents coverage is based on a percentage of your dwelling coverage. So the more dwelling protection you have, the more coverage you’ll have for your belongings. It’s essential to determine the exact percentage that makes up your home contents coverage (usually 50% or more) before signing any paperwork. That way, you’ll be sure you have the financial backing you need.

How much does home contents insurance cost?

Since home contents insurance is bundled into your home insurance policy, you won’t be paying a separate fee for this coverage. But if you choose to increase the amount of personal belonging coverage you have, you’ll likely have to pay a bit more. How much more varies by your insurance company and the type of insurance you have, but it’s usually a pretty low-cost option for the additional coverage you’ll receive.

Contents insurance in different insurance policies

Contents insurance has a few differentiations when it comes to various types of insurance policy types. While the amount of contents insurance is usually based upon your dwelling coverage amount, that isn’t always the case. For example, if you rent your home, you’ll have to pick a coverage limit since you don’t have dwelling protection. Meanwhile, landlords (who do have dwelling protection) likely won’t have many personal items in their rental homes. This means they’ll probably have a much smaller home contents coverage amount within their landlord policy.

If you own your home or condo, you’ll generally want more protection because you have more stuff. Protection for your belongings under condo policies usually are named peril policies, meaning you’ll have protection from specific events. But homeowners have a few more options.

While HO-3 policies are pretty standard for protecting your home, some homeowners may have the option of getting HO-5 coverage. This comprehensive home insurance option is usually only available for brand-new homes and offers more peril coverage and extended coverage limits for your dwelling and personal property.

Once you have adequate contents coverage, you might be wondering if there is anything else you can do to keep your home secure (and it’s a good question). Smart home devices like security systems and indoor cameras can help take your home protection to the next level. And some companies — hint, Hippo — even offer smart home bundles with the purchase of a home insurance policy. Don’t wait until you’re assessing the damage after a break-in. Get the extra security you need now by switching to Hippo.