With Christmas around the corner, we are highlighting that many people are unaware of the value limit placed on their most precious belongings by insurers, meaning they could lose out on thousands if they are lost, damaged or stolen.


As burglary and theft rates increase by more than 20% over the Christmas period, the broker is urging people to review their household policies when buying expensive gifts.


We have found that many insurers put a £2,500 (or similar) limit on valuables included within a typical home policy. This means that the full value of any item worth over that amount will not be included within a pay-out in the event of loss, damage or theft.


Emma Ragsdale, Personal Lines Manager at Cowens, said that many people are unaware that if they buy an item over the £2,500 value threshold, they may need to specify on their policy, as they could be at risk of losing out.


She commented: “When taking out home insurance, you may need to specify any particularly expensive items, as their full value will not be included in the overall policy. It is even more important over gift-giving periods such as Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries to add any new items over the value limit to your policy.


“Many people are losing big sums after assuming all of their items are covered. For example, if you are lucky enough to receive a watch worth £5,000 and it is stolen, you will only receive £2,500 back from your claim. By specifying individual items, you will save yourself a lot of money and stress should the worst happen.”


It is also essential to check what your insurer classes as a ‘valuable item’ – for some, it may be all valuable jewellery, electronics and antiques within the home, for others, it may be just jewellery.


Emma continued: “It is definitely worth checking if electrical items are included as ‘valuables’ on your policy as definitions vary depending on your insurance company. Again, if your TV or computer is worth over £2,500, you may need to specify it.


“It pays to be careful, particularly if you arrange cover through an insurer directly, without a broker, as they do not have the same regulatory requirement to point out conditions as those that apply to a broker. The best way to ensure all of your treasured items are safe is to consult a broker; they will be able to go over your policy with a fine-tooth comb, negating any risk over the festive period to keep your gifts safe.”