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Home and contents insurance cover for your portable valuables

Are your electronics, jewellery and other valuables covered when you're out and about or overseas?

Last updated: 24 April 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Need to know

  • Home and contents insurers like NRMA, GIO, Suncorp, Allianz and QBE cover your electronics, jewellery and other valuables while you're away from home
  • There's an extra cost, as well as limits and conditions, so you need to know the fine print of your policy
  • Some policies only cover you in Australia, whereas others also cover you for an overseas holiday

Are you often glued to your phone or have a designer handbag, smartwatch or expensive engagement ring that you take everywhere? If so, portable contents insurance can be useful for you.

While your normal contents insurance covers your valuables inside your home, add-on portable contents cover can protect your valuables from loss, theft or damage away from home for an extra charge. 

What is portable valuables cover for?

There is a large range of valuables that you can cover – next to electronics and jewellery, this can include musical instruments, sporting equipment and medical aids like hearing aids. 

Portable contents cover can give you peace of mind for the valuables you take with you during everyday activities and can even cover you when you're on holiday in Australia or overseas.

Next to electronics and jewellery, you can get cover for things like musical instruments, sporting equipment and hearing aids

But you need to check the fine print in your product disclosure statement (PDS), as the cover limit under portable contents cover may be smaller than the normal limits for cover inside your home, such as for jewellery.

Our home and contents insurance comparison has information about portable valuables cover and includes more than 50 home insurance policies from across the market. See what's on offer from major insurers like NRMA, GIO, QBE, Budget Direct, Youi and more so you can find the right cover.

Unlike other insurance comparison websites, we're completely independent and don't get paid by any of the insurers we're comparing.

Which portable valuables can you cover?

Depending on the policy, you can get cover for a wide range of valuable items you use regularly or that you take outside the home on special occasions.

This can include:

  • electronic equipment like mobile phones, e-readers, laptops or smartwatches
  • jewellery, watches and medals
  • sporting equipment like bicycles and e-bikes
  • handbags and briefcases
  • medical aids like hearing aids, a wheelchair or walking sticks
  • musical instruments
  • camera equipment, glasses, sunglasses or binoculars
  • clothes, hats and furs
  • stamp or coin collections
  • small non-powered boats
  • baby capsules, children's car seats, prams and children's toys.  

What isn't covered

Electronic devices: Note that not all insurers cover electronics. Budget Direct specifically excludes electronic devices such as your laptop.

Jewellery: Carefully read the fine print if you want to cover expensive jewellery as some policies, including Suncorp, GIO, AAMI and Apia, cover jewellery only while you wear it or while it's locked away in a safe. Most insurers may not cover gold and silver nuggets or unset gems.

Sporting equipment: These items aren't covered when in use and there are strict conditions about locking your bicycle and e-bike to a fixed object with a bicycle lock. You're also usually not covered when participating in a race or competition.

Business equipment: Normally this isn't covered, and can include things like your laptop. You'll need business insurance to cover these items.

You also have to pay an excess for portable contents. While some companies, such as Australian Seniors, RAC and RACT, charge a reduced excess of $100, other insurers like NRMA and QBE charge the standard excess. As the standard excess is usually about $600–800, policies with a high standard excess are a bad choice if your items are worth around $1000 as you'll only get a small benefit. 

How you can cover your portable valuables

There are two options to cover your valuables away from home, and for both you normally have to pay extra.  

  • Unspecified or unlisted: This is when you don't need to tell your insurer upfront about individual items, and they're treated as part of your general contents. 
  • Specified or listed: These are items you've nominated to be covered for a set amount. 

Not all policies cover unspecified valuables. For example, CGU Fundamentals, Huddle and AHM Basic Cover and Comprehensive Cover don't offer it. And most insurers limit their cover for unspecified portable contents, either by capping the amount they'll pay out per item, or the overall amount, or both. Coles lets you set an overall limit between $1000 and $5000, whereas NRMA allows up to $10,000 per item.

Choose specified or listed portable valuables cover if you have very expensive portable valuables. While portable valuables policies would usually cover you for listed events like theft, not all policies cover accidental loss and damage.

Where your valuables are covered

All policies cover you anywhere in Australia, and many also cover you in New Zealand, but cover anywhere in the world isn't available from all insurers.

For example, worldwide cover is offered by Allianz, and some banks' policies underwritten by Allianz, such as NAB, St.George and Westpac. Budget Direct, ING, Qantas, CommBank and QBE also offer this cover. These policies have a maximum limit, which starts from 30 days and goes up to 120 days overseas. 

All policies cover you anywhere in Australia, but cover anywhere in the world isn't available from all insurers

Some policies, while not limiting the duration of your trip overseas, limit the amount of cover. ANZ, RACV and NRMA set a limit of $10,000; Youi's limit is $15,000 for unspecified contents, but there is no limit on the amount or duration for worldwide specified portable valuables cover. 

The only company without a maximum amount (apart from the contents sum insured) or daily limit for worldwide cover for specified valuables is RAA.

There can also be special conditions on worldwide cover. Suncorp-owned brands (including GIO, AAMI and Apia) will only cover jewellery and watches while being worn or while in a safe when you're outside Australia and New Zealand.

Single item insurance for your valuables

What if you don't want to get your whole home's contents insured but have some valuable items like a piece of art or jewellery and electronics that you're taking outside the home? Look for single item insurance.

Similar to regular home contents insurance, with single item insurance you list just the things you want covered for the value you want them covered for. Accidental damage and cover away from home might be included as standard, or offered as optional extras.

There aren't many policies offering single item insurance, but Bendigo Bank and NRMA do. Single item insurance doesn't just allow you to insure your valuables, but also things like a new sofa, an expensive washing machine or a new TV, so it can be an alternative to contents insurance, especially if you're renting.

But while single item insurance is cheaper and simpler than contents insurance, it also means that if you have a fire or other event that destroys most of your contents, only your valuables are covered. 

Why it's important to keep records

If you're unlucky enough to have to make a claim, you'll need records. Keep receipts, and take detailed close-up photos of all pieces. Store digital copies using an online cloud storage service if you can, so you can access them anywhere. Also make sure you file a police report if your items get stolen as your insurer may require that.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.