Contents insurance for beginners


Price is often a motivating factor for choosing contents insurance, but the cheapest may not be the best for your circumstances.

So here are five things to consider before putting your hand in your pocket, to make sure you find the insurance cover that’s right for you:

1. Benefits of contents insurance

2. Policy cover, features and benefits

3. Save yourself from potential financial ruin with legal liability

4. Work out how much to insure

5. Check any fixed and adjustable event limits

1. Benefits of contents insurance

Let’s start with the benefits of having contents insurance at all. It’s designed to give you peace of mind should something happen to your belongings, because even if you’re really careful you can’t control the outcome of extreme weather, burglars or if someone causes a fire. Maybe you’re not sure if it’s worth it because you haven’t needed to claim before? Ask yourself whether you could afford to replace some of the essentials at once like bedding, crockery and clothing out of your own pocket? How about a house full of belongings, even if most things were second hand?

In addition to protecting your belongings, you might also be able to save some money on another policy. Often, the more insurance policies you have with one insurer, the more discount you may be able to accumulate, such as AA Insurance's Multi Policy Discount for customers who have more than one eligible policy. Having your policies with the one insurer can also make claim time less stressful, and if it’s for the one event you may only need to pay one excess. If you have your policies with AA Insurance, you can be assured that you will only pay one excess if all the damage happens in the same event.

It’s also worth checking for any other discounts that may be on offer. For example, if you’re an AA Member, you can get exclusive discounts on insurance policies through AA Insurance by simply providing your personal AA Membership number when taking out or renewing eligible policies.

2. Policy cover, features and benefits

Consider what levels of cover your insurance company offers - some companies offer a lower and a higher level of cover. Don’t forget to think about what you need out of an insurance policy; it’s important to check the standard and optional benefits of a policy and ensure they suit your lifestyle.

At AA Insurance, we have two levels of contents insurance. Our Contents Insurance Policy is our most comprehensive policy, which provides cover for accidental loss or damage as well as the bigger types of events which can happen. Whereas our Limited Contents Insurance Policy may suit you if you only want to cover those events which are hardest to recover from, such as burglary, storm, fire, flood and natural disaster. You can compare our contents insurance products here.

Both of the products we have on offer at AA Insurance will cover your contents ‘New for Old’. This means that if something you own is stolen or damaged beyond repair - we'll replace your item with a new one or with the nearest available equivalent. Most items are covered by new for old cover, however, certain items such as clothing, footwear and cosmetics, or those items which don’t have a suitable replacement item available, will be settled at the Market Value.

If you’ve just moved out of home or are relying on a family members contents insurance for protection, make sure you check there will be sufficient cover. Some insurance companies may not cover contents kept at a tertiary or boarding school facilities and most won’t cover contents if you’ve moved out of home.

AA Insurance also has a range of optional benefits available, depending on your chosen product. These allow you to customise your policy and make sure you are getting a product tailored to your needs.

3. Legal liability

Legal liability is another important benefit of having contents insurance. Simply put, if you damage someone else’s property, even accidentally, then you could be liable to cover the costs. If you don’t have insurance, you’re still required to pay the costs, either in one payment or over a period of time. This will happen whether the owner of the property has their own insurance or not. For example, if you accidentally break a vase in a store, the store owner’s insurer will cover the broken vase, but will then look to recover the money from you because you dropped it, causing the damage.

If you have contents insurance with AA Insurance, your legal liability is covered up to $2 million. But this amount differs between insurers so it pays to check. While the cover also extends to those within your household, including pets, if you’re flatting it only covers you, so it’s important each person in a flatting situation has their own contents insurance. It’s also important to remember that once you move out of home, you’re no longer covered by your parents’ policy.

4. How do I work out how much to insure my contents for?

The simplest way to work out how much to insure your contents for is to walk through every room in the house where you live, including the garage, and list everything you own, then the estimated replacement cost. And don’t forget the little things often taken for granted, like crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils.

If your belongings are located at another house, such as your friend's, you will need to insure those on a different policy. Your contents policy only covers the belongings that you or a family member normally keep in and around your home. Don’t forget, once you move out of home, you’ll need your own contents insurance.

Our online guide has taken some of the guess work out of calculating the value of your contents for you. We’ve even listed the average costs of regular household items to help get you started. Once you’ve filled in the calculator, add up the totals to find out how much cover you need so you’re ready to get a quote. You can get a quote from AA Insurance online.

It’s a good idea to keep your receipts too, as well as a photo or video of your items, and not just the specified ones. Once you gather these images and receipts together, keep them safely off-site away from your home or take pictures and keep them stored safely online. They’ll be helpful if you need to make a claim and will help your insurer fast-track the process. You should also keep a note of all new major purchases, or sales, each year. A good reminder to do this is at the time, or when your renewal notice arrives.

5. Check any fixed and adjustable event limits

It’s important to note that some items have limited cover unless you specify them separately or increase the event limit on your policy schedule. Insurers will often set event limits or ask customers to specify high value contents items so they know the potential high value claims you may make. This helps to ensure they are ready and able to help you at claim time.

At AA Insurance, we don’t need our customers to individually list high value items on their policies. Instead, we’ve designed our policies to make things easy for customers with both fixed and adjustable event limits. You may be wondering what this means. Let’s break it down:

  • An event is a sudden, unforeseen and accidental occurrence that causes loss physical loss or damage that you do not intend or expect. An event limit is therefore the maximum amount we will pay for that category of contents per event. 
  • A Fixed Event Limit means that the event limit is set for that category of contents and it cannot be adjusted. Drones (including their parts and accessories) are an example of a category of contents that have their own fixed event limit. 
  • An Adjustable Event Limit is one that you can increase if the policy limit isn’t sufficient to cover that category of your contents.

Event limits are usually set for certain types of contents, such as jewellery and bicycles. We generally get the most claims for these types of items, so if you have anything particularly valuable it pays to check your event limits and increase them to suit your needs.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our contents insurance, just get in touch. You can also compare our contents insurance policies here or get a quote.


AA Insurance Limited encourages you to make considered assessments as to the replacement value of specific items, and in particular, for valuable items. Policy excess(es) apply to any insurance claim. Policies are subject to exclusions and conditions. Application for cover is subject to underwriting acceptance. For full policy and benefit terms and conditions see


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