Away from Home Cover

Many people assume that when they buy home insurance, their possessions will not only be covered by the policy within the boundaries of their home, but also when they’re out and about too.

However, ‘away from home’ cover only usually comes as standard with more expensive policies. What’s more, even if it is included as standard, there’s a chance it will be of a relatively limited nature, with certain items being excluded and more comprehensive cover only being available at extra cost.

What Away from Home cover do you need?

These days we often carry around goods worth hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds on a regular basis. From gadgets such as tablets, smartphones and digital cameras, to computers and laptops, as well as more ‘traditional’ items such as jewellery, watches, designer clothing and glasses, if you don’t have away from home cover, it could cost you dearly.

Does your policy already cover you?

Not all  home insurance policies include ‘away from home’ cover as standard, so if you want it but aren’t sure it’s included you’ll have to check the small print and ask the insurer.

The chances are you’ll probably have to buy it as an ‘add on’, which could put up your premiums but not by a great deal.

What isn’t included

Bear in mind that exclusions will apply to the away from home cover element of your home insurance.

In policies which have away from home cover as standard:

It may be that your cover includes ‘away from home’ insurance as standard, but if so it could still be that certain easily lost, stolen or damaged items are excluded and you have to pay more to increase the scope of cover.

This would typically include glasses, bicycles, pets, expensive jewellery, antiques, musical instruments, camping equipment and DIY tools. There should be a list of excluded items in the policy documents, or ask the insurer to clarify what they are.

In policies without away from home cover:

The majority of home insurance policies don’t include away from home cover as standard and your possessions will only be insured when they’re within the boundaries of your home, or just the main structure excluding the garden and other external areas.

Claim circumstance exclusions

Insurers expect a reasonable amount of care to be taken with possessions when you take them outside your home, and certain circumstances which lead to a claim won’t be allowed.

A classic example is where items have been left unattended in a bar or restaurant and then stolen, or car has been left with open windows and items are snatched from inside.

Away from Home cover tips

  • Claim limits – Check the claim limit per item (not just the total claim limit). Some policies only allow claims for more valuable possessions, typically worth between £500 and £1,000, to prevent too many minor claims being made for commonly damaged or stolen items.
  • Number of claims – There will probably be a limit on the number of claims you can make per year. If you’re very forgetful and disorganised, you might want to pay to increase the number of allowable claims!
  • Cyclists – Bicycles are so often stolen or damaged that there may be a lower claim limit for them (or they may not be covered by the cheaper away from home policies at all). Check the small print and with the insurer.
  • When you’re abroad – If you regularly travel abroad, you’ll probably want to check if you’re covered for when you’re outside the UK. Again, this might cost a small amount more per year to arrange.

Do you need away from home cover?

Whether you need your possessions insuring when away from your main home or not very much depends on the individual.

You also might want to check you’re not already covered, such as via a credit card or bank account, as it’s becoming more common for incentives such as insurance cover to be offered when you take out another type of financial product.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.