Compare contents insurance

To get the best contents insurance you need to compare deals, learn the top ways to save, and make sure you find the right policy for you.

Updated 25 May 2023

In summary

  • There are lots of ways to get a better deal on contents insurance, but the first thing to do is compare quotes.
  • Some NZ contents insurance policies cover more than you might expect, including vet fees, credit card fraud, and even fatal injury.
  • Don’t auto-renew your contents insurance — get a new set of quotes or ask for a loyalty discount. You never know how much you could save.

Author: Kevin McHugh, Head of Publishing at Banked.

Compare contents insurance deals

Use our handy comparison table to compare options and find the right contents insurance for you.

Insurer Accidental loss or damage New for old Home office equipment Mobile phone Promotions
AMI logo AMI Yes Yes Up to $1,500 No limit None currently
Tower insurance logo Tower Yes Yes Up to $10,000 No limit
  • Save $50 when you buy online
  • Be in to win a share of $10,000
AA-Insurance-logo-200x100 AA Insurance Yes Yes Up to $3,000 No limit
  • AA Member discount
state-insurance-logo-200x100 State Yes Yes Up to $7,500 No limit
  • Earn Flybuys
  • Save up to $50 when you buy online
trade-cme-insurance-logo-200x100 Trade Me Insurance Yes Yes Up to $5,000 Up to $1,000
  • 15% Trade Me member discount
ANZ logo ANZ Yes Yes Up to $10,000 Up to current value None currently
AMP logo AMP Yes Yes Up to $15,000 No limit None currently

What does contents insurance cover?

Contents insurance covers possessions that can be removed from your property. This includes furniture, kitchen appliances, personal electronics, gardening equipment, and so on.

Content insurance can cover your items even if they are not in your home. This includes things you wear or carry with you, like your phone or jewellery. It also typically includes items in transit, such as when you’re moving your things to a new home.

However, contents insurance only covers your possessions when they’re in New Zealand. If you want to protect your things while you’re abroad, you’ll need travel insurance.

Note: While there are obviously a lot of similarities between what contents policies from different NZ insurers, they can be different in areas that are important to you.

This means that while we can explain what contents insurance usually covers, it doesn’t mean it necessarily applies to policies from all insurers, or that all they offer the same level of protection.

Contents insurance vs house insurance

The well-worn explanation says that if you turned your house upside down and shook it, contents insurance would cover what falls out and house insurance would cover what stays in.

It’s not quite as simple as that (curtains are covered under contents, for example) but it can be a helpful way of thinking about it. Another way of looking at the difference would be that contents insurance doesn’t cover anything that’s fitted into your home.

Here are some examples of objects that have similar purposes, but are usually covered by different types of insurance.

Contents insurance

  • Rugs
  • Microwave oven
  • Tables
  • Washing machines

House insurance

  • Carpets
  • Traditional oven
  • Kitchen worktops
  • Sinks

Learn more about house insurance in our guide.

Surprise things contents insurance can cover

While most of us would expect content insurance to pay out if someone stole our television or we accidentally broke a chair, it also covers things you might not expect.

Reviewing policies from NZ insurers we found contents insurance can cover:

  • fatal injury
  • veterinary fees for your pet
  • your children’s things they have with them while
  • they are living away at uni
  • the possessions of visitors while they are staying with you
  • credit and debit card fraud
  • watercraft damage.

The lesson? If you have contents insurance and something goes wrong, it’s always checking if you’re covered for it

7 best ways to save on contents insurance

Getting the best deal on contents insurance is all about getting the cover you need at the lowest price. We explain how you can do just that.

1. Compare quotes

Our first tip is also the most important in getting the best price cover. Comparing quotes from several different insurers will help you understand how much you’re likely to pay and it will significantly narrow down your choices.

Comparing contents insurance quotes may sound a little boring, but it could result in substantial savings and it won’t take long to do.

The more quotes you get, the better informed your decision will be, but make sure you get at least 3 for a representative sample of prices.

2. Combine policies and save

Another easy way to save on contents insurance is to take advantage of the multi-policy discount most insurers offer. By adding car insurance and/or house insurance to your contents you can save up to 20% across all policies.

The size of the multi-policy discount will vary from insurer to insurer, as will exactly how it’s applied. Insurers can be a little secretive about this information, so the best way to find out how much you will save by combining policies is to get quotes.

By having several policies with one insurer, you’ll also benefit from more convenient insurance admin. You may be able to leverage that loyalty to that one insurer at a later date, too.

3. Don’t just auto renew

Most insurers hope that their customers will ‘set and forget’ their insurance — take out their cover and allow for the policy to auto-renew when the next year rolls around.

This is something many of us do, but it usually means you end up paying more for your contents insurance than you need to. Just because an insurer gave you the best price for the right cover last year, it doesn’t mean they will this year.

Insurers regularly adjust their pricing models, plus changes to your own circumstances over the last 12 months could mean lower premiums with another insurer. You may also have benefitted from a discount on sign up that only applied to the first year’s cover.

If you’ve been with your current insurer for a while and would prefer to stay, it is also worth asking for a loyalty discount.

How much this discount could be will depend on 2 main factors: how long you have been with the insurer, and how many policies you have with them. If you have been a customer for a while and you have more than just contents cover with the company, you can almost certainly negotiate a lower price.

4. Pay for your premiums annually

Paying for your contents insurance upfront is not an option for everyone, but if you are able to do it, you’ll benefit from a saving on your premiums.

We got multiple quotes from a number of insurers and discovered that paying annually results in an average saving of 7% when compared to paying monthly.

If you have the money to entirely pay for your year’s cover at the start of the policy, it can be a great way to save.

5. Take advantage of discounts and limited-time offers

In the battle for your business, insurers often run promotions and offer special discounts. These include:

  • Online discounts: Usually available all year round, many insurers with online quote capabilities will give you a discount of around 10% on your first year’s premium if you buy online.
  • Membership discounts: AA Insurance and Trade Me Insurance will give you a discount for being an AA or Trade Me member, respectively.
  • Special promotions: Frequently insurers will offer rewards for getting insurance through them before a particular deadline. These rewards can include Flybuys and Prezzy Cards.

When shopping around for contents insurance, make sure you know what promotions are out there and factor the benefits in with the price you get quoted.

6. Choose a lower tier of cover

Several insurers have 2 or 3 levels of contents insurance, with the price going up with higher levels of cover.

Some may instinctively go with the most comprehensive option, but investigate what the difference is between the tiers. The total amount you are covered up to for particular types of loss will likely increase as you move up the tiers.

Pricier policies are also more likely to offer cover on a ‘new-for-old’ basis, while their cheaper alternatives may just cover your possessions up to the value they have up to the point of the loss.

You may find that you won’t benefit from the greater cover offered by the more expensive policy and that you would be equally well served by a more budget option.

7. Choose a higher excess

An excess is an amount you have to pay when you make a claim before the insurance company pays out the rest. Choosing to pay a higher excess means you will have to shell out more if you need to claim, but you will pay less on your premiums.

It’s impossible to know which excess will mean you pay less over the life of your policy (as you never know when or if you’ll have to claim), but your history with insurance may help you make a decision.

For example, if you’ve already had contents cover for a long time and never had to make a claim, and you don’t have any reason to believe this would change, you might be better off with a higher excess/lower premiums mix.

What affects the cost of your contents insurance?

How much you pay for your contents cover depends on much more than just the value of your possessions.

Here are the other factors insurance companies take into account when assessing the price of your contents insurance:

  • Where you live: If you live in an area with a higher crime rate, you will likely pay more for your cover.
  • Your age: Younger people are more likely to be charged a higher premium.
  • Property details: Some insurers will factor in the age and type of property.
  • Your living situation: Whether you rent or own your property and if you live with others will be taken into account by some insurers (typically with higher premiums for renters).
  • Your claims history: If you’ve made insurance claims in the last few years your insurer will see you as a higher risk statistically and charge you a higher premium.
  • Whether you have an alarm: Having an alarm will result in lower premiums with some insurers.

Not all insurers take all of these factors into account, and exactly how much of an impact they have on the price of your contents insurance will differ.

Do you need contents insurance?

Contents insurance is not a legal requirement for homeowners or renters, so the decision to pay for cover or not is a personal choice. AMI found that a fairly low 72% of New Zealanders have contents insurance.

As with most insurance, you need to weigh up the cost of cover against how badly you would be affected if you lost or damaged your possessions. In the most damaging scenario, this could be a house fire in which everything is lost. But it’s also important to consider more common scenarios, like losing or damaging your phone.

Remember that if you’re living away at university it’s possible that your contents are already protected under your parent’s contents insurance policy. Check with your parents before getting your own contents insurance quotes.

Frequently asked questions

How do I make a claim on my contents insurance?

Many insurers now let customers start their claim online, but you still have the option to do it over the phone.

Your insurer will want to know what the damage or loss is, the circumstances in which it happened, and if anyone else was involved. If the incident involved theft or criminal damage, you should call the police first — the insurer will want to know the policy file number in your claim.

The insurer will want to know the details of the items that have been lost or damaged, including how long you’ve owned them for and their value. It’s helpful to have receipts for the items, but photographs, warranties and other evidence of ownership can be used.

What is an excess?

An excess in insurance is an amount of money you have to pay when you make a claim. Once you pay the excess, the insurer will pay for the rest required to repair or replace your items.

With most insurers you can choose what your excess will be when you take out your policy, starting from around $200 to as much as $2,000. Remember that if you choose a higher excess, your premiums will be lower, and vice versa.

How do I make a complaint against my insurer?

If you have a problem with your insurer your first step would be to try and resolve it directly with them first. This includes stating your issue clearly and giving the insurer the opportunity to respond.

If your insurer cannot resolve your problem, your next step is to raise a complaint with the Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO). You can make your complaint using IFSO’s online complaints form, or you can call them free of charge on 0800 888 202.

You can also write to IFSO at:

Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme
PO Box 10-845
Wellington 6143

If IFSO believes the complaint falls within their remit, they will assign a case manager to investigate your complaint. If the case manager cannot mediate between you and the insurer to reach an agreement, they will make a decision on the dispute.

Is renters’ insurance different from contents insurance?

No, renters’ insurance covers all the same things as standard contents insurance. However, some insurers to have special offers or promotions that appeal particularly to renters, such as discounts for the first year’s cover.

Learn more and find the latest deals in our guide to renters’ insurance.

Does where I live affect the price of contents insurance?

Yes, location is an important factor that insurers take into account when pricing contents cover.

Our research into New Zealand’s ‘insurance ‘poverty premium’ found that contents insurance can cost as much 40% more for people living in some areas than others.

Picture of Kevin McHugh

Kevin McHugh

Kevin is the founder and Head of Publishing at Banked. With years of experience working in personal finance, insurance, and related areas, Kevin created Banked to help Kiwis make better financial decisions.