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Lack of home contents insurance leaves £50billion worth of items at risk

15 November 2007
More than two million people are leaving possessions worth more than £20,000 at risk by failing to buy home contents insurance, according to research out by insurance provider Norwich Union.

The survey shows that fewer people living in rented properties have contents insurance than people who own their own homes. Of the nearly three million privately rented homes in the UK, 72 per cent do not have the cover, leaving more than £50 billion worth of items at risk.

The most common reason for not obtaining a policy was high costs (30 per cent), followed by not owning enough value property to make it worthwhile (16 per cent). A further 43 per cent said they were not worried about break-ins and 36 per cent said they were not concerned about their goods being destroyed by flood or fire.

Often priced out of the property market, renters can feel that with rent, bills, council tax and other financial commitments, contents insurance is an optional extra. Only 55 per cent of people in the 18 to 24 age bracket had a policy in place.

Financial expert from Jasmine Birtles said: "It's not surprising that many young renters cut back on contents insurance. The rising cost of living, including higher rents in some areas, means that they need to cut costs. Insurance is often the first to go.”

However, she points out that this could be false economy. "Many of these renters are also young professionals with highly disposable incomes which they spend on luxury goods like plasma screens, laptops, iPods and designer clothes. They often have no idea that their possessions are worth tens of thousands of pounds, making them very attractive to burglars.”

Furthermore, Legal and General reveals that many people store uninsured items in garages. Its research indicates that many people store valuable possessions such as golf and ski equipment, furniture and gardening tools in their garage without checking to see whether they are insured on their home insurance policy.

Head of communications for Legal and General's general insurance business, Ruth Wilkins, said: “Garages and outbuildings are great for storing items but it is vital to check that house insurance provides adequate cover for your belongings.”

Find out more about contents insurance and home insurance for tenants

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