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Does your car insurance cover Christmas presents?

Using the last few days before Christmas to finish buying presents and stocking up on mince pies? You’re not alone. According to an online survey by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, festive shoppers will make three to four trips to the shops in the run-up to the big day, spending an average of GBP700 on presents, food and drink. –

That’s a lot of bags – and 46% of shoppers have admitted to leaving these new purchases in their car, which could spell trouble if you’re targeted by opportunistic thieves. And Which? Money analysis of dozens of insurers show that if your car was to be broken into or stolen, very few insurance will cover you for anything near the value of the personal belongings you’re putting at risk

Personal belongings limits – the best and worst

If the worst should happen, items left in your car can be protected by personal belongings cover included as part of your car insurance. This cover protects the likes of clothing, glasses and other miscellaneous items if they are affected by fire, theft, accident or attempted theft while they are in your car. This would therefore include Christmas shopping – but it’s very rare to find a policy to cover GBP700-worth of goods.

In fact, Saga is the only car insurer that could potentially reimburse you for the full total of your belongings. It has a personal belongings limit of GBP1,000, but increases this in the month of December to GBP2,000, as it says ‘you are likely to have additional items in your car at Christmas.’ Toyota offers the next highest cover at GBP500, with the average at GBP200.

Some policies, however, dip to just GBP100-worth of cover. This table shows how much cover a collection of car insurers offer for personal belongings. The figures are for standard comprehensive policies.

Why you shouldn’t rely on car insurance for protection

There are also potential exclusions to bear in mind when it comes to making personal belongings claims.

Insurers often won’t pay out for money, credit or debit cards, tickets, vouchers that are stolen from your vehicle. Crucially, insurers also won’t have to pay out if your car has been left unlocked or with any windows, sun roofs or convertible roofs open, while some policies won’t pay for items that haven’t been secured in the car boot or glove compartment. What’s more, even if you are successful in making a claim, you could lose any no claims bonus you might have built up, which can increase the price of your insurance when it’s time to renew — which could cost you more than your pay out in the long run.

So what’s the answer? Avoid leaving items in your car for any longer than necessary. Check your car insurance to see what’s covered, and if you do have to leave anything in there, make sure it is out of view, ideally covered and locked in the boot.

Storing presents at home is a much better idea – especially as some home insurers are offering a festive cover boost[1].

You’ll just have to hide them from anyone who might try to peek.


  1. ^ home insurers are offering a festive cover boost (

Home insurance premiums soar by 8.5%

UK households paid an extra GBP131 on average for their home insurance policies this year, as costs sky-rocketed across the insurance sector. Premiums for home insurance increased by 8.5% in the year to October 2017 – almost three times the 3% inflation rate. Which? explains why premiums are rising and how you can find the best deal.

Where have home insurance premiums risen the most?

The biggest price rises have been in the South East of England and Wales, where premiums increased by 10.6% (the equivalent of GBP127 on the average premium price) and 10.1% (or GBP123) respectively over the last year, according to data from Consumer Intelligence. This equates for a price increase of GBP127 for the South East and GBP123 for Wales on the average premium. Londoners pay the highest average premium at GBP168 – 41% more expensive than the South West region, where homeowners pay just GBP119.

Overall, Scotland saw the lowest price rise of just 5.6%. But not all policy holders were equally affected by the increase. Those under 50 saw a 8.6% increase (GBP133), while over-50 policy holders experienced a rise of 8.4% (GBP127).

Why are home insurance premiums rising?

UK inflation hit a five year high of 3% in October this year, the highest level since April 2012.

According to Consumer Intelligence, this has pushed up the cost of claims for insurers. Claims relating to water leak damage have also increased as more households install extra bathrooms and wet rooms. Meanwhile, the rising price of gold and diamonds has caused a hike in jewellery claims.

But another key factor which contributed to the insurance premium rise was the government’s increase of the insurance premium tax in June.

What is Insurance Premium Tax?

Insurance premium tax (IPT) is the tax added to insurance premiums. IPT was first introduced in 1994 to raise revenue from the insurance sector. And insurers often pass this cost on to their customers in the form of raised premiums.

This means any increases in IPT will directly affect the price paid for a policy. There are two different IPT rates – a standard rate which affects general policies such as home insurance , car insurance or pet insurance, and a higher rate for travel insurance, mechanical insurance or electrical appliances insurance. The IPT standard rate has risen four times since October 2015, doubling from 6% to 12% and bringing up the cost to consumers.

From 1st June 2017 1st Oct 6 to 31st May 2017 1st Nov 2015 to 30th Sept 2016 4th Jan 2011 to 31st Oct 2015 Standard rate 12% 10% 9.5% 6% Higher rate 20% 20% 20% 20%

What can I do?

It can be tricky finding your way around the insurance market but finding the best deal can save you significant sums.

To make sure you get the right level of cover for your home, it’s important to shop around. Check out our short video on how to find the best home insurance policies. For more tips, take a look at our comprehensive home insurance guide[1].

It offers tips for every step of your journey, from defining what home insurance actually covers right up to making a claim[2].

Or, read our home insurance company reviews[3] to gain a better idea of the policies available and whether they are right for you.


  1. ^ comprehensive home insurance guide (
  2. ^ making a claim (
  3. ^ home insurance company reviews (

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