Your house is basically a pile of bricks and mortar. Your home is whatever’s inside it that matters to you. Obviously it’s important to insure your house itself appropriately, since you need somewhere to live, but it can be easier to determine the insurance value of your house itself than the value of the contents. Here are some tips on protecting what really matters.
Take care of the uninsurable
Uninsurables are anything which can’t be replaced. In practical terms that means: people, pets, documents, photographs and special possessions. For people and pets, think of how you would get everyone out of the house in the event of a fire or flood blocking your access to your main exit points and make sure you invest in whatever you need for that to happen (for example chain ladders and harnesses which allow you to get large dogs out of upper floors) and make practice runs. For documents and photographs, if possible make digital copies and store them both in the cloud and on a medium you can easily take with you in the event of a fire (such as a portable hard drive). If you still want or need to keep paper copies, invest in a safe which gives protection against fire and flood. Likewise if you have any other possessions, such as jewellery, which would be irreplaceable, look for a safe which can protect them against fire and flood as well as theft.
Review your possessions and their storage
Life goes on from day to day and it’s easy to lose track of what we bring into our homes and how it can impact our insurance cover. It’s also important to remember that items we own can change their value over time. For example, consumer electronics generally depreciate, but classic IT equipment which may have been stored away and forgotten can actually appreciate in value as can jewellery, collectibles, art, musical instruments, antiques and such like. Therefore it’s important to stop every so often and do a double-check of what you own and how much it is currently worth. Overvaluing the contents of your home will raise your insurance premiums, but undervaluing it can leave you short in the event of a claim. You will also need to look at how your possessions are stored. Garden sheds are probably the single biggest example of what a difference this can make. Some home contents policies exclude them, others will include them but there may be conditions attached regarding security features and the value of the items which can be stored in them.
Have an expert review your cover
Getting the right cover for your possessions starts with knowing what your possessions are, where they are stored at how much they are worth. After that, however, you may find that you have a number of options open to you and while a standard home-contents policy is likely to feature in the insurance cover you need, you will benefit greatly from getting both the right policy and the right level of cover. In addition to this, you may also find that certain belongings which could be covered by standard home contents insurance would be better covered by specialist insurance or that they are already covered by another insurance policy. For example, those with expensive bicycles might find that they get an overall better deal by going for a specialist cycle-insurance policy and leaving their bicycle out of their home contents insurance altogether. Alternatively, you may find that you have a bank account which offers insurance for your mobile phone and hence you are already covered without paying extra. Picking your way through all this can be complicated, which is why getting expert advice can, literally, pay for itself.