Estimating the value of the contents in your home is not as difficult as you might think. In several easy steps we’ll show how to do this and why it’s an important aspect of home insurance.
We can't predict the future, so it's important to insure your prized possessions and get your valuation correct should the unexpected happen.
Why do I need to provide estimates for the value of my contents?
Overestimate your valuation and you may pay a higher premium than necessary. Underestimate the value of your possessions and should the unexpected happen, you could be left out of pocket, as claims can be reduced or potentially even rejected.
Imagine a worst-case scenario, and your house is destroyed by fire. Getting your valuation right means that your insurer can help towards replacing the items damaged in your home. Get it wrong and you might have to pay for a new refrigerator, sofa or dining table from your own savings.
If your previous valuation amount wasn't right, the estimate you gave to your insurer will be the maximum amount they can pay you in the event of a claim.
This is why it’s essential to get your estimate right. Make sure the cover you have bought suits your demands and needs.
How can I accurately estimate the value of my home contents?
With a notepad, stand in a room and jot down everything you see, including items in drawers and cupboards.
Fixtures and fittings may be covered by your buildings insurance so don’t include things like walls, roofs and windows. But anything else in that room may be considered as contents.
Make a note of any valuable possessions or high value items such as jewellery and create a second list for researching the current replacement value of these personal possessions.
Don’t leave the room until your satisfied that every cubby hole and storage unit has been noted. Remember, should that room suffer fire damage, you’d need to replace all the contents rather than some.
Items to include in your home contents valuation include:
- Bedroom linen
- Clothing, shoes and jewellery
- White goods
- Audio and TV equipment
- Laptops, mobiles and tablets
- Sporting equipment
- Lamps, cabinets, sideboards and bookcases, as well as sofas and chairs
- Ornaments and antiques
- Cooking utensils
- Oven, microwave, kettle, toaster
- Fridge/freezer (plus food stored in fridge and cupboards) pots and pans
- Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers, Cutlery and crockery
- Books, CD’s, games, Clothes and shoes, toys
- Garden furniture and garden equipment including tools in sheds and workshops
Adding up the total for every room
There are contents calculators available online, but it’s just as easy to make a list of the things in each room and think about how much they would cost to replace if something went wrong. That’s the amount you would have to pay if you had to replace them as new today.
If you’re not sure how much your kettle costs to replace, a simple search for the model or its equivalent should give you the right valuation.
Now sit down with a calculator and add your valuations by the side of each item. Divide the pages of your notebook to represent the rooms of your property, including external buildings such as garages and sheds.
Simply add the total figure and whatever the amount will be the total valuation for your home contents. This is the figure you’ll need to take to your insurers.
What about valuables like jewellery?
It’s important that you check the current value of high value items, such as gold or silver or jewellery containing precious stones, as these may increase or decrease in market value over time. Remember, the valuation you supply will reflect the amount you receive in the event of making a claim, so be sure to get this right.
Items such as the antique watch you inherited from your grandfather should be regularly valued and you should specify valuables on your policy worth more than £1,000 (like an engagement ring or high value bicycles) regardless of whether these valuables are kept in the home or taken outside.
It’s important to note that valuables kept in your home that do not leave are referred to as 'high risk items'. These are more at risk of being stolen. They may include but are not limited to:
- Works of art
- Jewellery or precious metals
- Rare books
- Fine wines
- China and porcelain
- Stamp or coin collections
- Musical equipment
Having made a note of the total value of these high risk items, remember to get up-to-date estimations at least once a year. Whatever their value, you’ll need to make sure they will be covered by the policy you’ve purchased.
I’ve got my contents value figure, now what?
If the cover you have does not match the valuation of the contents on your list, you’ll need to contact your insurer immediately to discuss making appropriate changes to your policy.
Next, make a note in your diary to value your contents at least once a year. Always make sure your cover meets your needs should the worst ever happen.
Finally, sit back and have a cup of tea. Get this right and you might thank yourself in the future that you were thorough and careful in estimating the value of your content.