Tips on Taking out Home Contents Insurance

A house in safe hands

Do a little experiment for your own peace of mind. One rainy Sunday afternoon take a walk around your home from room to room with a notepad and a pen making a note of everything you possess. Look in all the cupboards and wardrobes, look on all the shelves and window cills. Include the garage and the shed in your tour. Note down all the electrical goods such as radios, televisions and computers. List all the furnishings such as tables, chairs and sofas. Include all the floor coverings such as carpets, rugs and lino. Think about your clothing and footwear, your personal effects such as books and pictures. Tot up your valuables, your jewellery and any amount money that you regularly keep in the house. And don't forget to consider all the things you've got stashed in the loft. When you're sure you've got a complete master-list of the stuff in your life that makes your life what it is, work out how much it would cost to replace every last stick of it.

It's almost guaranteed that the replacement value you'll end up with at the bottom of you're list is a lot more than you would've imagined it to be. The next step is to check that your home contents insurance policy covers the total value of the items you've listed. Shockingly many people will realise that they have woefully inadequate cover or even no cover at all.



Basically contents insurance is that part of a home insurance plan that covers all of the things you've been listing should any or all of them be stolen, lost or damaged due to some mishap such as fire or flood. If you've ever seen the burnt out shell left behind after a major house fire you can better imagine the pain and sadness of losing all your wordly possessions in a matter of a few minutes.

When you take out a contents insurance policy you will need to conduct a full and comprehensive review of your possessions as described above and state the cost of replacement. It's very important that you're forthright and honest about this value and it's essential that you don't undervalue the replacement costs. Insurance companies sometimes check your declared value against their own independent assessment. If they find that you have understated the value they may penalise you by not paying out the full amount of any claim.



You also need to inform them of any individual items that are particularly valuable, such as fine art paintings, antiques, musical instruments or pieces of jewellery. It may be necessary under the rules of a policy to take out special individual insurance on particularly valuable items. You should also check if your policy has limits on the maximum amount that will be paid out in respect of a single item or a single claim for many items.

Contents insurance can often be arranged at the same time as buildings insurance either as a separate policy or as a single policy that combines both. These kind of combination policies often turn out to be the cheaper option. Unlike buildings insurance, which is compulsory for homeowners who have a mortgage, contents insurance is an entirely personal choice. But if you take another glance down your list of treasured possessions and imagine them stolen or destroyed, I'm sure you'll start to view contents insurance as a real necessity.



Article by Melvyn Fickling
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