An insurer is warning savers about the risks of a budgeting trend known as “cash stuffing”.
Admiral has been seeing a rise in claims involving cash, including claims where significant amounts of cash kept in envelopes have been stolen during break-ins.
In general, insurance policies may have limits on the amounts that people can claim for cash being lost or stolen, or not cover cash going missing in some circumstances.
With people considering ways to save for Christmas, some may be trying out the budgeting system, which is popular on social media.
It involves dividing physical cash into envelopes that can be used for different types of spending, which could include regular bills and Christmas shopping, for example.
Admiral is reminding those considering the trend to check how much cash their insurance policy covers them for, in case the money is lost or stolen.
It said that one customer who was using the cash stuffing hack had envelopes containing £1,700 stolen. Admiral said that, in that case, the claim was covered.
Noel Summerfield, head of household insurance at Admiral said: “Allocating different spending pots can be an effective way of budgeting and staying on top of spending, especially ahead of the Christmas period, which can be an expensive time.
“However, having large amounts of cash in the house has its risks. We’ve seen multiple claims where large amounts of cash kept in envelopes have been stolen during a break-in.
“Most home insurance policies should cover money in the home, up to the amount listed on your policy so it’s important to check how much cash you’re covered for, should the worst happen, and your money is lost or stolen.
“Money kept in the home may also cover gift cards and travel tickets so make sure you know exactly what you’re covered for, especially ahead of the festive period where these may be set aside as gifts. Your insurer might also require proof of withdrawal or receipts should you need to make a claim, so check this in your policy documents too.
“Many insurance policies do not cover theft of cash from your property unless force or violence was used to enter or leave your home.
“Whilst cash is covered in the event of fire or flood, theft from gardens or outbuildings may not be covered. In addition, most insurance companies have a limit to the amount of cash that is covered, and this often varies depending on the different policies they offer.
“In any circumstances when you have large amounts of cash in the house or on your person there is a risk of theft so it’s important to check your insurance policy. If you must keep cash in the home, make sure it is stored safely in your home, not in a garage or outbuilding and check the limit you are covered for shown in your policy documents.”
As an alternative to keeping physical money in envelopes, some banks offer savings pots features in their apps, to help people budget for different types of spending.
People keeping large amounts of cash at home instead of in a bank or building society account will also be missing out on the significantly improved cash savings rates that have been seen in recent months as the Bank of England base rate has climbed.
Admirals’ own data indicates that the average cash theft claim is for £333.
The insurer also pointed out that people paying by card, rather than in cash, may have certain added protections if something goes wrong with their purchase.
For example, people paying by credit card may be able to get a refund under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, if a purchase turns out to be shoddy or they do not receive the goods or services they were expecting.
– Here are the areas of the UK ranked from the highest to lowest for the volume of cash claims between January 2019 and September 2023, according to Admiral’s home insurance claims data:
1. North East England
3. East of England
4. North West England
5. South East England
7. South Central England
9. South West England
11. Northern Ireland