A simples guide

Declaring expensive valuables to your insurance provider

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Should you declare expensive items on your home insurance?

The answer to this question is yes, absolutely. Don’t assume that your contents insurance policy will automatically cover the total loss of your personal possessions at home.

Properly insuring your valuables at home is vitally important.

The terms of contents insurance policies nearly always include limits on the total amount that can be claimed, as well as on the amount that can be claimed for any individual item. Typically, the single item claim limit is between £1,000 and £2,000.

Think about what expensive items you own, this might include:

  • Engagement and wedding rings
  • Other jewellery
  • Watches
  • Anything made of a precious metal such as gold or silver
  • Televisions
  • Computer equipment
  • Other technology
  • Fine art
  • Antiques
  • Anything that might be regarded as rare or collectable

Naturally, some of these items might be the first thing a burglar takes if you are unfortunate enough to experience a break-in.

When applying for insurance, ensure you declare your expensive valuables i.e. tell the insurance provider about any items you own whose value might exceed the single item claim limit.

Specialist cover for high value items

There are policies that will cover items for up to £5,000; and even some insurance providers who will offer unlimited cover for expensive items.

specialist cover for high value items

What happens if you don’t declare them?

With certain items, there is nothing that any insurance provider or any amount of monetary compensation can do to make up for the loss of something that might mean a lot to you sentimentally.

However, if you don’t declare expensive valuables to your home insurance provider, then you risk not receiving any monetary compensation for the loss either; or alternatively you may receive some form of payout, but one that is not sufficient to cover the full value of the item.

Declaring expensive valuables to your insurance provider

What if you already have insurance and haven’t declared your high value items?

You may realise that your existing contents insurance policy does not adequately cover your expensive items. Alternatively, you may buy, or receive a gift of, an expensive item in between the annual renewal dates for your policy.

Either way, you should contact your insurance provider immediately and inform them of the expensive items you possess, and how much they are worth. Ask them if it is possible to change the single article or high value limits on your policy with immediate effect, and if so, how much it might cost to do this.

Other tips regarding high value items

Other useful steps you can take to protect your high value items include:

• Take photos of your valuable items, as this may help the police in the event of theft, and increase the chances of them being able to trace the item. Alternatively, it may help if a copy is to be made of a lost item.

Have your valuable items re-valued on a regular basis, to ensure your insurance policy remains adequate for covering them. Some items, especially rare and collectable items, can increase significantly in value over time. The value of gold can also go up and down. If an item increases in value, but you forget to update your insurance policy, then you will only be covered for its declared value. It is often the case that specified items are index linked so could increase in value although they may still be under insured.

  • Keep your receipts, valuation certificates and anything else that might provide evidence of how much your expensive valuables cost. It’s probably best to update your insurer with the value of your possessions every three years so there’s an up to date valuation should a claim need to be made.
  • Store your valuable items in a safe with a combination lock, and don’t leave the combination written down near the safe
  • Never leave valuable items in open sight of a window
  • When choosing a policy, look for one that includes ‘away from home’ cover for your valuables. If your existing plan doesn’t include it, ask for it to be added. Remember that you may often wear your jewellery when you are out and about, or take certain high value tech items with you, and that you could fall victim to a street robbery.
  • When comparing policies, look at whether they cover accidental loss, such as your wedding ring coming off and falling down a hole. Personal possessions cover will include loss, damage or theft either in or away from home. Generally when you specify an item on the policy, you get this cover.
  • Consider if you want a policy that will pay cash for your lost valuables, or one where the insurance provider will attempt to make as good a copy as it can of the lost item. So if you lose a stunning piece of jewellery for example, there are plans out there that will allow you to get a replacement copy from your insurance provider.

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