Home insurance: ‘Billions of pounds of possessions are uninsured’

Tens of billions of pounds-worth of people’s possessions are uninsured because homeowners undervalue what they own when it comes to home insurance.

A survey has found that people think their possessions are worth an average of £22,267. But insurer Admiral, which commissioned the research, said the average contents value in the UK is £43,629.

If that pattern is replicated across the country, it means more than £100bn-worth of contents are uninsured. The worry is that many households won’t find out about this gap in their home insurance until they are in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim.

Home-contents insurance is not a legal requirement, and many people will take the view that they are prepared to risk it. But the findings suggest that many people are blissfully unaware of being underinsured.

“It’s important that homeowners or renters provide a correct estimate for their contents, otherwise they could end up without enough cover should they have to make a claim,” said Admiral’s Noel Summerfield.

“The value of most items can be searched on the internet, but antiques or jewellery should be valued by a professional before being added to your policy.

“It’s also important to ensure the total value of contents remains up to date. While most home insurance policies increase cover to recognise inflation, people often forget to add new purchased items, such as engagement rings or new televisions.”

The research also found that more than three-quarters of those who own antique or vintage items have never had them valued. And people who live in flats seem to be the most at risk – more than 50% of flat renters in the survey said they had no contents insurance at all.