07 November 2016

Can you claim for freezer contents on your home insurance?

Storing food in the freezer can be very convenient, but many of us don’t consider the fact that a power cut or surge could leave us out in the cold financially.

If your fridge and/or freezer does go on the blink, common items such as meat and fish can quickly thaw and become unsafe. While you might anticipate a time-consuming and messy clean up job, an unexpected thaw could also leave you with a large bill to replace the chilled goods.

The average cost of fridge and freezer contents

To find out just how much it could cost you, we asked our Twitter followers to estimate the value of the food in their fridge and freezer at home.

Our research revealed that over half of those who replied (51%) estimate their contents are worth £50-£200. But for over one in ten (11%) that figure is over £200. So, if you’ve been tempted by the growing trend for ‘posh’ frozen foods, having cover that includes your foodie fridge and freezer could be a real bonus.

With chest freezers ranging in capacity from 50 litres to 600 litres, it’s easy to see how the total can mount up. If your freezer is full or close to full when something goes wrong like when it's stocked up for Christmas it could be an expensive loss.

Know what’s covered

Nationwide’s Home Insurance Essentials contents insurance covers you for up to £300 worth of fridge and freezer contents and up to the contents sum insured with a Nationwide Home Insurance policy, as standard. So if you have one of these polices there’s usually no need to buy a separate one or lose out financially through buying replacement food if your freezer gives up the ghost. This includes food that has been lost or damaged due to a change of temperature or the escape of refrigerant or refrigerant fumes.

To help you to benefit from this cover:

  • Regularly service your freezer or fridge if is over 10 years old

  • Be aware that loss or damage caused by a deliberate act or neglect by you, your electricity provider or their employees or agents may invalidate your cover

  • Notify your insurer if you won’t be sleeping at your home on a regular basis (not including occasional visits or stays) for more than 60 days.

Once you know you’re covered, the next thing to consider is your policy excess. If the value of the contents you’ve had to throw away is higher than your excess amount, then you may want to make a claim.

How to claim

If you decide that you want to make a claim, you’ll need to contact your insurer. 

You’ll be asked for:-

  • your policy number 

  • the date of the incident

  • any action you have taken

  • your estimation of the cost or replacing the food.

When it comes to food, most insurers are happy for you to throw it out as long as you take photographs; ask your insurer when you call. It’s also a good idea to keep any packaging that can be cleaned and check whether you have receipts.

Seven unusual fridge and freezer items

While many insurance policies will provide some cover for damaged fridge or freezer contents, they’re unlikely to include the strange items that our Twitter users told us they have kept cool:

  • Jeans - Storing them in the freezer apparently keeps them crisp instead of over-washing expensive denim
  • Money and passports – several respondents store them in the freezer when there’s no safe available
  • A credit card - If you really can’t control your spending habits, you could freeze your card in milk like one Twitter follower!

  • A deceased moggy, Baggins - whose panicked owner didn’t know what else to do while his parents were away

  • Sun lotion - in the fridge

  • Wheel bearings - which contract in the cold making them easier to fit

  • Maggots - for fishing, hops - for beer making and mice - for geckos.

Nationwide home insurance policies are underwritten and administered by U K Insurance Limited.

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