One of the biggest mistakes that people make with their home insurance is making a wild guesstimate about the value of their house contents and personal possessions. What’s more, many people, having gone to the trouble of valuing all of their belongings once, simply forget or don’t bother to review the value of their possessions again at renewal time.
Even if your home contents don’t change from one year to the next, the cost of replacing them can increase substantially. This is particularly true in a time of rising inflation as we are experiencing now.
Here are some tips to help ensure you’re fully covered and what to check for:
- Start by reviewing your home contents cover.
You’ll want to pay special attention to the total amount of cover, but there are other things that are important to check as well. Most home insurance policies set a single item claim limit – the most you can get back for any single item in your home. If your home is broken into and your big screen television walks out the door, is the single item limit enough to cover it?
- Take stock of your belongings.
A home inventory is one of the most important ways that you have to protect your belongings in case of theft or other loss. It only takes a few hours to go through your home and photograph the items in each room so that you’ll have a record of them in case you ever have to make a claim. You can find an excellent interactive contents calculator at www.legalandgeneral.com/contentscalculator.
- Check your policy for exclusions.
Most home contents policies exclude coverage for specific items, or limit the amount that they’ll pay out. Home electronics, theater equipment and computer equipment are items that could be left out of the cover’s terms, or limited in the amount that the insurer will pay. If you’ve got a laptop, a mobile phone, a plasma television and a game system or two, you could be out of pocket by a few thousand pounds if someone breaks in. Find out what’s excluded on your policy so that you can make sure you’ll be adequately compensated.
- Consider the outdoors as well as the indoors.
When you’re making a home contents inventory, don’t forget your garden and patio equipment. Most policies include some garden cover, but is it enough to replace your prize roses, your deck furniture and your gas grill? If not, consider increasing the coverage for your garden equipment.
- If you have a home office, be sure that it’s covered.
If you’re one of the growing number of people who work from home, it may surprise you to find out that your home contents insurance may not cover you fully for losses to your business equipment. Check with your insurer if you have a home business or have office equipment at home to be sure that you don’t need additional cover for work-related losses.
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular home insurance policy or company. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at www.unbiased.co.uk
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