How to value your home contents accurately

Whether you’re a minimalist who adores bare walls and zero clutter, or a hoarder with boxes filled with stuff that ‘might come in handy one day’ chances are, that if someone asked you to value your belongings, you probably wouldn’t know where to start. Which is a bit of a problem – especially if you need to make a claim. It’s estimated that we underestimate our home contents by about 20% – so here’s how you can make sure your home contents insurance has enough cover for you.

How much contents insurance do I need?

The best way to accurately work out your contents value, is to go through your house room by room with a pen and paper noting down everything in each one. “But that’ll take ages”, we hear you cry – and it might seem a little pernickety going through your home totting up what everything’s worth; especially when it’s all about estimating value – after all, the definition of ‘estimate’ is to give a rough calculation not nail it on the head. But the alternative could mean coming up short when it comes to a pay out should you need to claim.

Over and underestimating belongings – what to look out for

It’s always the things we take for granted that get overlooked and the same can be said when it comes to valuing the stuff in your home. The whole point of insuring your home contents is to allow you to replace everything should you need to – don’t just think about theft, which is bad enough, but incidents like fire and flood damage can cause devastating damage.

There are some things that you’d instantly think of when it comes to insurance – the TV, DVD player, sound system; but don’t forget the backbone of what makes a house your home. Consider things like the carpets, rugs, curtains (even the curtain poles) pictures on the walls, the sofa you sit on every night and the cushions you hug during the scary bits in those late night horror films. All of these little things that you probably wouldn’t think twice about probably come to more than you give them credit for. Research shows that living rooms and master bedrooms are the most likely to be underinsured – so it might be worth double checking those figures you guesstimated previously.

Don’t forget seasonal items too, such as garden furniture or those dodgy old Christmas decorations in the attic – they might look like rejects from a bad taste party but they probably cost you a fortune brand new.

Be sure to insure high value items

Check what the maximum value for individual items is, (sometimes called a ‘single article limit’) some policies may only cover you for up to £1,500 which may not be enough if you’ve got expensive jewellery, a top of the range laptop or music system. High value items will need to be specifically called out in your policy, or may need their own separate insurance policies so if in doubt, speak to your insurance provider who’ll give you advice.


The law of averages – downsides of under and overestimating

You might think giving your insurance provider a lower estimate is a good thing – it could mean cheaper premiums. But, don’t be tempted because you’ll lose out in the long run if you do make a claim.

For your insurance provider, it’s all about damage limitation and if you’ve seriously underestimated your belongings, they can decide not to fully fork out for what you’ve lost. On the flip side, if you overestimate your home contents, then you might end up paying more in premiums than you need.


What about specialist items like antiques and jewellery?

Next time you get the antique French bureau polished, or get your diamonds buffed up, double check with the experts what they’d value them at – there’s no point playing the expert on your own and then moaning that your insurance won’t cover any losses. Keep copies of any valuations electronically in case of water/fire damage.

How do I get value for money?

Did we mention we’re one of the largest comparison sites in the UK? So, once you’ve added up all your worldly goods, start a home contents insurance quote online – just tell us what you need and we’ll search from more than 50 trusted home insurance providers. And if you think you’re sorted but your insurance is up for renewal, why not see if we can save you money like we have done half our customers already – what’s there to lose?


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