Why You Should Value Your Contents’ Insurance Cover Carefully

When you’re shopping around for a cheap home insurance quote, it doesn’t take long to get thoroughly fed up of having to answer questions. If you go to more than one website (whether a comparison site or an insurance company’s own site) or phone more than one company then you’ll have to give your name, address, date of birth, occupation, age of the house, how long you’ve lived there, what type of locks and alarms you have etc. etc. etc.

By the time you reach the important questions – the ones that really matter if you ever have to make a claim, the ones about how much cover you need – you have lost patience and make a wild guess at the values involved. Or you just put down whatever the limit was on your last year’s policy and assume that it will be right. But last year, did you give the value of your contents much thought, or did you just look at the limit from the previous year’s policy?

If you think about it, it might have been years since you really considered how much it would cost to replace your contents in the event of a fire, flood or theft, and the value could have dramatically increased (or decreased) in the meantime depending on your circumstances.

This can prove costly in one of two ways. Firstly, you can underestimate the value of your contents (or perhaps forget a key item that has a high value that ought really to be covered separately). This can prove disastrous in the event that you have to make a claim against your home insurance policy: if you’ve underestimated what it would cost you to replace your contents (e.g. in the event of a fire or flood) then you will have to pay for anything not covered out of your own pocket.

Secondly, you could overestimate the value of your contents, in which case your premium will be higher than it needs to be and, in the event that you had to make a claim, the insurer’s assessor would determine that your contents are worth considerably less than you estimated.

Avoid these costly errors by making a short list, room-by-room of all the major contents you own in your house (don’t forget the garden). Roughly work out what it would cost to replace them in the event of fire, theft or flood. Don’t forget things like carpets and curtains. When you’re done, check for any single item that is worth a lot of money, and when you come to renew your home insurance then check the upper limit for a claim for any single item and make sure that you would be covered (or opt for additional single-item cover).

If you have the time and energy, take photos of each room and individual belongings – this will speed up any claim immeasurably and might even help in any police enquiries if you suffer a burglary.