A good contents insurance policy is vital to cover your belongings in the home. But what about high value items? If you’re lucky enough to own valuables – from jewellery to antiques – you’ll want to make sure they’re covered. These are often treasured possessions that it’s hard for you to put a value on, but here’s how to make sure you’re covered for the cost of replacing them.
John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance, answers your questions on how to insure your valuables
“Sadly, if you’re burgled high value items are among the most frequently stolen, so it’s important to make sure you have adequate cover for things like jewellery, camcorders, watches, furs and antiques.”
John Brady, Head of Commercial at John Lewis Insurance.
Q & A with John Brady
Q. What’s your background and what experience do you have in providing advice about Home Insurance?
A. I've worked in financial services for 20 years, including banking, credit cards and insurance. The last five have been spent at the John Lewis Partnership, where I’ve helped to launch and develop John Lewis Insurance, including our personal insurance cover for cars, weddings, pets, homes, events and travel.
Q. What are valuables?
A. Generally, John Lewis Home Insurance classes valuables as non-household goods. So this means things like jewellery (including costume jewellery), items made of gold, silver or precious metals, cameras, camcorders, binoculars, watches, furs, paintings and other works of art and collections, such as stamps, coins or medals.
Q. How are they different from general contents?
A. Although things like TVs, stereo systems and computers may be very valuable, most homes have them, so they’re treated as household furnishings. Valuables, on the other hand, are those non-essential items that may still have a high worth.
Q. When are they covered by standard contents insurance?
A. Home insurance policies will usually include cover for valuable items such as jewellery or watches, but may require you to specify them if they’re worth over a certain amount. Check the small print as some companies may have limits which are as low as £1,000 per single item. Although John Lewis Contents Cover is unlimited, we do have limits for valuables. We offer £15,000 for a single item and up to £30,000 for valuables in total.
Q. And when do I need to specify them?
A. Every policy is different, so it’s worth checking with the individual company – and also check if they require a valuation. With John Lewis Home Insurance, if you have a valuable item worth more than £5,000 and you want it to be covered away from the home, it will need to be specified under our Personal Possessions Cover.
Q. Are there any limits on the amount valuables can be covered for?
A. There will usually be a limit for valuables, but every insurance provider will be different. Some may also ask you to pay a high excess – which could lead to a lower premium, but means that you have to pay a large amount if you do make a claim.
Q. If I have valuable items such as antiques, are they covered by contents insurance or do I need extra cover?
A. It might be worth looking at John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance if you have a collection of art or antiques, or a lot of high value items, as we offer unlimited cover for single items with no maximum limit for valuables.
Q. Do you have any advice about insuring high value items?
A. There are a few things you can do:
- Always insure fine art, antiques, jewellery and watches for the full market value or cost of replacement. This may fluctuate, so review their value regularly and get professional guidance.
- Remember that the value of a painting can often increase following the death of the artist. You may not even know about this for a few months, so John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance will automatically increase the amount that fine art is insured under by up to £50,000 for six months after the artist’s death.
- Get valuations for jewellery and watches that are worth more than £5,000, and fine art and antiques that are worth more than £20,000.
Sadly, if you’re burgled high value items are among the most frequently stolen, so it’s important to make sure you have adequate cover for them. Valuations and photographic evidence can help if the worst should happen, and could also help the police to trace them if they’re lost or stolen.