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How to estimate the value of your home contents

How to estimate the value of your home contents

When you take out home contents insurance, your insurance provider will want to know the total value of all your possessions. Here’s how you might go about estimating the value of your home contents.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
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Posted 28 FEBRUARY 2020

How can I accurately estimate the value of my home contents?

To estimate the value of your home contents, you should:

  • Go from room to room making a list of all your possessions
  • Estimate how much each possession is worth
  • Get up-to-date valuations of jewellery and other high-value items
  • Add up the cost of all your items to get your estimate

Why you need to make accurate estimates of your home contents

To make sure you have enough contents insurance, you’ll need to give an estimate of how much your possessions are worth. The estimated value you give is the maximum your insurance provider would pay if everything you own was destroyed.  

The estimate needs to be as accurate as you can possibly get it. If your estimate is too high, you could end up paying more than you need to for your insurance. If it’s too low you could end up underinsured, which means that your insurance company might only give you a percentage of any claim you make.

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), one in five UK households could be underinsured because they just don’t know how much their home contents are worth. When you get a quote through us, we provide a contents calculator tool that will help you estimate the value of your contents.
To find out more about why underinsurance is so dangerous, read our guide: Avoid under-insuring your home.

What to include in the estimate

When you estimate the value of your home contents you need to consider all your possessions, not just the more valuable items that might be taken in a burglary. Some of your home contents are unlikely to be stolen, but they could be completely destroyed by incidents like fire and flood damage.  

In fact, the only things you don’t need to include in the estimate are the fixtures and fittings that are covered under buildings insurance. Fixtures and fittings include the walls, windows and roofs of your property, plus anything that’s secured in place to the walls or floor, such as fitted wardrobes, the kitchen and bathroom suites.
You will need to include curtains and carpets as these are usually covered by your contents insurance, rather than buildings insurance.

Go from room to room

You probably have more possessions than you think! So, to get a good estimate of the value of your home contents you need to be methodical.

The best way to ensure you don’t miss anything when you’re working out your estimate is to move from room to room in your home. Take a pad and pencil with you so you can write down the estimate of how much you think everything will be worth. Don’t forget to include things that are put away in cupboards and drawers.

If you wanted to be extremely thorough, you could write down a list of everything in your house that would be considered a content and search online to find out the values.

Make a thorough list of each room’s contents

For example, you’d need to include the following:

  • Furniture that’s freestanding, including lamps, cabinets, sideboards and bookcases, as well as sofas and chairs
  • Artworks, ornaments and antiques
  • Electronics, such as your TV and laptop
  • All cooking equipment, such as the oven, microwave, kettle and toaster (as long as they’re not built in)
  • The fridge and freezer
  • The food stored in the freezer and cupboards
  • Kitchenware, such as pots and pans
  • Freestanding appliances, such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers
  • Bedroom furniture and linen
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Books, DVDs and games
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Children’s toys
  • Jewellery and similar items
  • Cosmetics and toiletries
  • Garden furniture and equipment
  • Items such as play equipment stored in sheds or other outbuildings

Calculate the value of individual items

For each item, give an estimate of its value. The value of an item for insurance purposes is the amount of money it would cost to replace the item today, which is unlikely to be the same as the price you paid for it.

If you’re not sure, go online and see how much it would cost you to order a new replacement item of the same quality.

Make a note of any high-value items

Most contents insurance policies will have a maximum limit that any single item can be worth before you need to specify it on the policy – this is commonly known as the single article limit. It’s often set at £1,500, but could be lower or higher depending on the provider.

Get up-to-date valuations of jewellery and valuables

Some items, especially those that are rare and collectable, can increase significantly in value over time. The value of gold and other precious metals can also go up and down, affecting the value of jewellery.

If an item increases in value but you forget to update your insurance policy, you’ll only be covered for its declared value. If an item increases in value significantly and it exceeds the single article limit (as above, this can be around £1,500) you’ll need to add it to the policy – otherwise it might not be covered at all if you need to make a claim It’s advisable to get a valuation certificate that’s generally less than three years old so, in the event of a claim, you have an up-to-date value.

Have your valuable items re-valued on a regular basis to make sure you have enough contents insurance to cover them.

You might also want to think about the value of anything that you carry with you outside the home – for example laptops, mobiles, watches, handbag and so on and total these up so you know how much personal possessions cover you need. 

Add up the total value of your home contents

Grab your calculator! It’s probably sensible to tot up a total value for the items in each room, and a separate one for your valuable items. Once you’ve added all the totals together, plus anything else you own that would be classed as part of your household contents, then you’ve got a good estimate of the value of your home contents. This is exactly what our contents calculator tool does for you, so if your pen has run out of ink, we will help you with this when getting a quote.

How can I get a good deal on home contents insurance?

If you’ve already worked out the value of your home contents, or you need a helping hand in calculating the value, you can start comparing home insurance. Just tell us what you need and we’ll search the UK’s most trusted home insurance providers to find some great-value deals that suit you.

Remember that policies do vary between insurance providers, so always check the terms and conditions to ensure that the cover meets your needs.

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