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Calculate the value of your contents

  • 19, May 2023
  • Read time: 5 mins

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.

Woman using a mobile calculator app.

How much contents insurance do I need?

Your contents insurance needs to cover the cost of replacing all your home possessions.

To find out how much insurance cover you need, list out all your belongings and determine their replacement value. Then simply add all the costs together to work out what the policy needs to cover.

To find the value of your contents, you just need a notepad and calculator, or you can use a spreadsheet. Remember to review your estimations regularly so your contents insurance coverage remains accurate.

Why do I need to provide estimates for the value of my contents?

The contents value you give to your insurer will be the maximum amount they can pay you in the event of a claim, so it’s essential to get it right. Overestimate your valuation and you may pay a higher premium than necessary. Underestimate the value of your possessions and your claim could be reduced, or rejected, leaving you out of pocket.

In case of a fire, for example, the correct valuation means your insurer can help with the cost of replacing damaged items. If your valuation is too low, you may have to refurnish your home from your own savings. It’s important that the cover you have bought suits your needs.

How should I estimate the value of my home contents?

Take a notepad and note down everything you see. Section your notepad per room, and make sure you include external buildings, such as garages and sheds. Your buildings insurance may cover fixtures and fittings so don’t include walls, roofs, or windows.

Include any valuable possessions such as jewellery and create a separate list for researching their current replacement value. Make sure you note every cubby hole and storage unit. Should that room suffer fire damage you would need to replace all the contents, not just some.

Items to include in your home contents valuation

When calculating your contents, make sure you include the following:

  • Artwork, ornaments and antiques
  • Furniture and white goods
  • Soft furnishings
  • Clothing, shoes and jewellery
  • Audio and TV equipment
  • Laptops, mobiles and tablets
  • Sporting equipment
  • Toys, books and games
  • Cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery
  • Oven, microwave, kettle and toaster
  • Garden furniture, tools and equipment

Adding up the total for every room

To get your total for each room, review each item on your list and note how much it would cost to replace. If you’re not sure, you can do an online search for the make and model of an item to get the right valuation.

Use a calculator or spreadsheet to total the individual items for each room. Then add all the room figures to get the total value of your home contents. This is the figure you will need to take to your insurers.

What about valuables like jewellery?

Possessions containing gold and silver, or precious stones, can increase or decrease in market value over time. To ensure adequate coverage, high-value items such as jewellery should be valued regularly.

Specify personal items over the value of £1,000, such as an engagement ring, on your contents insurance, even if you take them out with you. To cover valuable items like your phone whilst you’re out, look at adding personal possessions cover.

Valuables that stay in your home are referred to as ‘high-risk items.’ Examples could include works of art, jewellery and articles of precious metal, furs, watches, photographic equipment, curios and collections.

You may wish to think about getting estimations for high-value and high-risk items at least once every three years.

I’ve got my contents value figure, now what?

Once you have your value, it’s time to get a quote.

If you already have contents insurance, check your policy to make sure you have the right cover. If the cover you have doesn’t match your valuation, contact your insurer immediately to update your policy.

Keep your possessions safe

It's crucial to calculate the value of your contents accurately. An incorrect valuation can result in insufficient coverage on your contents insurance, meaning you might have to pay more in the event of a claim or be paying too much for your policy.

Take the time to get it right, your future self will thank you.

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