Ensure you’re insured for christmas

One in seven home contents policies doesnít give you extra Christmas cover

Skype WiFi phones, iPods, games consoles and even HDTVs are all expected to be among the Christmas best-sellers as shoppers splash out a predicted £51.6 billion* this month.

And millions of homes will be packed with thousands of pounds worth of extra contents over the festive season. But research** from MoneyExpert.com shows one in seven home contents insurance policies do not give homeowners extra cover if the worst happens and your home contents are damaged or stolen during the Christmas period.

The problem arises because homeowners are usually asked to put a value on their home contents when they take out a policy. Insurers use that to decide the premium and base payouts in the event of a claim on the agreed value of the contents.

Over Christmas the value of contents can rise temporarily as presents are kept in the house ñ and most insurers reflect that by offering automatic temporary increases in the value of contents usually for December and January.

Around half of all policies currently on the market offer an automatic 10 per cent increase in the sum insured over Christmas. That means if you have a contents policy for £30,000 that your extra cover will be £3,000

However MoneyExpert.com analysis shows one in seven policies ñ 28 out of around 206 on the market ñ do not offer extra cover and others limit the amount of extra cover offered.

The independent financial comparison website is urging homeowners to check what their contents insurance does and does not cover before they have to claim and find out theyíve been caught by the small print.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: ìInsurance isnít top of anyoneís Christmas list and quite right too. But itís worth bearing in mind that if you have all the relatives round the value of the contents of your house is likely to rocket.

ìAll the presents piled up under the tree can amount to a huge amount and can ñ if the worst comes to the worst ñ be a real nightmare if you have to claim.

ìThe good news is most policies do offer extra cover automatically but the not so good news is that many do not. Being under-insured can mean your insurance claim being turned down or scaled back.

ìDisasters can happen at Christmas and insurance wonít save you if the worst happens. It can though, ease the pain.”

Some firms offer unlimited extra Christmas cover ñ they include Greenbee, Halifax and Intelligent Finance.

Companies which do not offer extra cover automatically include Endsleigh and Rapidinsure.co.uk.

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* Source: APACS

**MoneyExpert.com analysis of Defaqtoís Aequos database

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