Protect your smartphone, jewellery and other prized possessions when you take them with you away from home.
Contents insurance provides crucial cover for your most treasured possessions that you keep at home, but what about those essential everyday items that you take with you when you’re away? If you want cover for important and often expensive items like your smartphone, jewellery, laptop and camera, you’ll need to take out portable contents insurance.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly what portable contents insurance is and the type of cover it normally provides.
Compare contents insurance policies
Why should I get portable contents insurance?
Portable contents insurance is sometimes referred to as personal effects cover or personal valuables cover. Usually available as an option under your home and contents insurance policy, portable contents insurance allows you to cover items that you regularly take with you when you leave the house and which may not be covered under ordinary contents insurance. These items are usually quite valuable and often some of your most prized possessions.
Items that could be covered under this kind of policy include smartphones, jewellery, handbags, cameras and even bicycles. With portable contents insurance in place, you can enjoy extra protection against accidental loss or damage to your valuable possessions, in or away from home. It offers the peace of mind that if any of your portable valuables are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be covered for repair or replacement.
What are types of cover are available?
There are two types of portable contents insurance: unspecified portable contents insurance and specified portable contents insurance.
- Unspecified portable contents insurance covers a wide range of possessions away from home, including handbags, clothing and glasses. Rather than purchasing cover for specific items, this type of insurance allows you to select a general individual item limit and a total claim limit that suits you.
- Specified portable contents insurance allows you to select specific portable items and insure them for an agreed amount, making it a good choice if you have any high-value items that you want to cover away from home. For example, you might want to insure your new laptop for $2,000, so you would specify this when taking out cover.
What items are covered?
While the exact list of items covered may vary between insurers, portable contents insurance will generally offer cover for the following items:
|Unspecified portable contents||Specified portable contents|
|Glasses and sunglasses|
|Handbags and luggage|
|Sporting equipment (eg, bicycles)|
|Laptops and tablets|
|Portable GPS devices|
|Handheld game consoles|
What events are covered?
Portable contents insurance covers accidental loss or damage to your personal valuables anywhere in Australia. Depending on the insurer, you can also typically enjoy cover for accidental loss or damage anywhere else in the world. However, there will usually be a time limit on the amount of overseas cover available in any one insured period, with this limit usually set at 35 days.
What are the exclusions?
There are certain situations and events in which portable contents insurance will not provide cover. Often, portable contents insurance will not cover:
- Wear and tear or the gradual deterioration of your goods
- Theft of or damage to possessions that are left unattended in a public place
- Any possessions related to your business or trade
- Domestic pets
- Camping equipment
- Items left in an unlocked vehicle or in plain sight in a locked vehicle
What’s the difference between contents insurance and portable contents insurance?
What does contents insurance cover that portable contents insurance doesn’t and vice versa? Check out the key differences in the table below, but remember that not all policies are created equal, so be sure to read the fine print.
|Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your household possessions and furnishings.||Covers the items you regularly take with you when you leave home.|
|Covers furniture, curtains, whitegoods and electrical equipment.||Covers mobile phones, cameras, tablets, jewellery, glasses, handbags and sporting equipment.|
|Covers loss or damage due to fire, storm, flood, theft, vandalism and a range of other defined events. Cover for accidental loss or damage is included in some policies.||Covers accidental loss or damage anywhere in Australia (and overseas for limited periods of time).|
What does “general portable contents” mean?
If your insurer refers to something known as general portable contents cover, this means the same thing as unspecified portable contents cover. In other words, rather than requiring you to specify the items that you would like covered and the limit to which they are covered, general portable contents insurance offers blanket coverage for a wide range of unspecified items.
Instead of insuring specific items up to a specific limit, you will instead be able to decide on the umbrella limit that applies to all of your portable contents. A maximum limit will also apply to the amount you can claim on any one individual item.
Which items do I need to specify in my policy?
Specified portable contents insurance is usually required to protect high-risk and high-value items. For example, mobile phones and tablets are seen as high-risk items because you regularly take them out and about with you, they can be easily lost and they’re also a common target for thieves.
Meanwhile, high-value items are usually possessions that are valued at $1,000 or more, such as engagement rings and digital cameras. Because the value of these items will usually exceed the individual item limit on unspecified portable contents insurance, you’ll need to specify these items and their value when applying for cover.
Get the latest home insurance news
HBC Check lets any interested party verify a project's insurance status. Read more…