Property Insurance — Building or Contents?

All too often, homeowners and tenants are unclear about this, and there are cases when the Insurer’s Loss Adjusters refuse to pay out on a claim, on the grounds that the item isn’t insured.

So why is that?

It usually comes down to defining whether or not an item is a fixture or contents, and this can be open to interpretation. If your fitted carpets, for instance, are damaged by fire or water, it may depend on whether they were in place when you bought the house, or whether you’ve had them laid since then, in which case they’d be classified as contents.

On the other hand, there’s no guarantee of this, and Loss Adjusters may also define carpets as contents even if they were in place at the time of purchase. There’s no rule written in stone on the subject.

Laminate flooring ought to be more straightforward. It’s glued together and fitted under the skirting boards, so it should be regarded as a fixture. Most Loss Adjusters do use this interpretation, but occasionally even laminate flooring may be ruled as contents, and therefore ineligible under the buildings insurance policy.

This kind of uncertainty can apply to a range of things in your house, not just flooring. Items varying from antennas on the roof or fitted units in your rooms could be fixtures or contents, depending on the Loss Adjuster’s interpretation.

If you want to be sure whether your possessions are correctly insured, you need to study the policy or ask the Insurer to clarify. Even better, use an insurance broker in the first place, who’ll make sure everything’s in place.