Home Contents Insurance
Many people believe that Sandwell Council and Sandwell Homes automatically insure their possessions against such things as fire, theft, vandalism and water damage. Unfortunately, some people only realise that this is not the case after the damage has been done. Therefore, Sandwell Council and Sandwell Homes strongly recommend that all tenants and leaseholders take out a household contents insurance policy. You can do this through ourselves, or you can make your own, private, arrangements.
Since 1992, through our Home Contents Insurance scheme, we have aimed to offer a cost effective way for tenants and leaseholders to insure the contents of their home. Created specially for tenants and leaseholders, the scheme has always been popular, and currently has around 5,500 members.
What does the insurance cover?
The insurance policy provides cover for your possessions against theft, flood & fire whilst the items are in the home. Also included is accidental damage cover for selected items, including televisions, VCR/DVD players, personal computers and hi-fi systems. Full accidental damage cover is available (for a small extra cost) for those who want it. Additional cover such as loss of freezer food, third party liability, tenant’s liability, stolen keys and extra cover for wedding and Christmas gifts is also included in the cost of the insurance. A full summary of cover is provided on our proposal forms (see “How do I join the scheme?”).
How much does it cost?
Weekly charges start from as little as £1.40 per week (or 88p per week for OAPs) for Standard cover, or £2.14 (£1.35 for OAPs) for Full Accidental Damage cover. A full table of charges is included with our proposal forms (see “How do I join the scheme?”). Premiums are higher for those that require a higher sum insured. Unlike many insurance policies, there is no increase if you make a claim, and prices are not dependant upon the area or type of property in which you live.
How, and how often, do I have to pay?
Like rent, insurance is charged on a weekly basis. Provided you do not allow your account to fall into arrears you can pay at whatever intervals are suitable for you – weekly, fortnightly, monthly, annually etc. You do not have to pay any interest if you choose to spread your payments out. Ways of making payments are many and varied and details of the different payment methods can be found here. Please note though, if applying to pay by direct debit, you will need to quote your insurance account number. You should enter this in the box marked “Rent card number” on the direct debit mandate, and you will need to continue to make cash payments until your direct debit becomes effective.
Do I have to pay any excess if I make a claim?
No. Unlike most insurance policies, you do not have to pay the first part of the claim yourself.
How do I join the scheme?
To join the scheme you will need to complete an application form, which can be downloaded here. Alternatively, you can collect one from any neighbourhood office. Once completed, please return the form to the Contents Insurance Section, Council House, High Street, Smethwick, B66 3NT.
When will my insurance cover start?
Forms that are completed correctly can be processed on the day we receive them. Sometimes, we need to refer applications to Royal and Sun Alliance for their approval. As soon as the application is approved, we will start your account from the date your form was originally received in our office. If you do not complete the form correctly we may need to return it to you, which will delay your application. If you request that the insurance does not commence until a date in the future, we will not create your account until this date. Please note, in the vast majority of circumstances, it is not possible for us to backdate insurance cover.
I already have insurance but need to change some details. How do I do this?
If you move address, change your tenancy agreement, want to add or remove accidental damage cover, add or remove people from your policy or change you sum insured, you will need to complete an amendment form. It is important that you keep your policy details up to date. If you do not, it could affect any claims you may need to make.
For how long do I have to keep the insurance?
There is no minimum term for being a member of the Home Contents Insurance scheme. You will simply be charged for the amount of time you have the insurance. Your cover will continue until your tenancy/period as a leaseholder ends, or until you tell us that you do not want insurance any longer. You can cancel the insurance by completing a cancellation form. If you do not inform us of your wish to cancel the insurance, you will continue to accrue charges. If you decide that you do not want the insurance within 14 days of taking out the policy, you will not be charged anything and will be entitled to a refund of any premiums you have paid – but you must ensure you follow the cancellation procedure detailed in your policy documents.
If you have any further questions
Please contact the Contents Insurance Section on either 0121 569 5024 or 0121 569 5082 and we will be delighted to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively, you can contact us here:
Contents Insurance Section