Will my home insurance policy cover my child’s belongings while they’re away from home?

Caucasian woman using laptop on wooden table

If your child is going off to boarding school or heading off on a school trip you’ll be pleased to learn that there’s a chance your home insurance policy may extend some level of cover to your child’s belongings while they’re away from home.

Advertisement

It isn’t the case with every provider, because they all have different terms and conditions, exclusions and inclusions, so it’s vital that you check your own policy documents to see what’s covered and what isn’t.

But some buildings and contents insurance and standalone contents insurance policies do include ‘personal possessions cover’ as standard, which can help extend the contents cover on your policy to any personal possessions the members of your household carry with them while they’re away from home.

And if your policy doesn’t include personal possessions cover as standard it’s possible you may have added it to your policy when you signed up, because many providers give policyholders the option to add this cover to their insurance for a very modest fee.

Given the fact that students take an array of valuable items with them when they venture off to boarding school or head off on a school trip, from laptops to smartphones to cameras, if you have personal possessions cover with your home insurance it will be welcome news that your own insurance policy may well protect these belongings to some extent.

Your child won’t get the same level of coverage they would get if they had their own insurance policy, though, and there are also some limitations and exclusions you’ll need to be aware of.

What’s likely to be covered?

If your home insurance policy came with personal possessions cover, either as standard or as an optional extra that you added to your cover when you signed up, that policy feature will usually insure things like:

  • Smartphones
  • Jewellery
  • Watches
  • Laptops
  • Tablets and Kindles
  • Cameras
  • Wallets and handbags
  • Clothing

If your policy does include personal possessions cover it will usually cover each member of your household, but it’s important to be aware of the fact that this might pose a problem if you’re divorced or separated and your child normally lives at your ex-partner’s home rather than at your own address.

In that case it would be worth confirming that your ex has a home insurance policy that includes personal possessions cover too, since insurance providers will class your child as a member of their household rather than yours.

What limitations and exclusions should I be aware of?

Personal possessions cover is intended to insure your household contents that are ‘portable’, so if your child is taking a TV or a games console to boarding school those gadgets probably won’t be covered.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that most home insurance policies impose a ‘single item limit’ on their personal possessions cover, which is the maximum amount that can be claimed for a single item.

If your child is taking a MacBook Air with them when they’re heading off on a school trip, but the single item limit on your home insurance policy is £1,000, you’d only be able to claim £1,000 if the MacBook was stolen, even though that laptop might be worth as much as £1,300.

Will personal possessions cover be valid if my child is travelling overseas?

This will largely depend on the provider you’ve taken the policy out with.

If your child is heading off on an overseas school trip some home insurance providers may extend their personal possessions cover to belongings that are stolen or damaged overseas, but others might only agree to pay out if something happens to your child’s belongings while they’re in the UK.

The best plan is to read through your policy documents to check your own provider’s rules around this, but either way it might be worth taking out a travel insurance policy for your child’s school trip too, in order to ensure they are fully covered while they’re overseas.

Which home insurance providers offer personal possessions cover?

Home insurance providers change their terms and conditions, policy features and range of exclusions fairly regularly, so it’s difficult to say which providers will include personal possessions cover as standard and which ones will allow you to add it as an optional extra.

Advertisement

The best plan is to use our home insurance comparison service to compare policies – it enables homeowners and tenants to compare quotes from up to 50 different home insurance providers in a matter of minutes, including some of the UK’s most well-known and most highly regarded insurance companies, and you’ll be able to choose whether or not you’d like your policy to include personal possessions cover when you’re comparing quotes.