How to calculate your contents insurance values

What value of contents insurance do I need?

Our possessions are much more to us than just ‘stuff’. What we own defines who we are and how we present ourselves, and our homes, to the world. While some possessions are essential for our day-to-day needs and comfort, a lot of items hold precious memories built up over a lifetime.

So, when our things become damaged or lost, it can range from a mild inconvenience to sheer heartbreak, not to mention the financial blow. That is why contents insurance is considered essential by most homeowners, to protect their valuables should the worst happen. As no two households are the same, it is important to value your possessions accurately.

When taking out contents insurance you should calculate the cost of your possessions with great care. This ‘sum insured’ figure will assist in determining what your insurer will pay in the event of a claim. It is therefore essential to be accurate in your evaluation.

Valuing your contents can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are a first-time buyer taking out your first home insurance policy. Here is some advice from Jersey Mutual to help you value your possessions and ensure you take out the right level of cover.

What does contents insurance cover?

Home insurance policies usually include buildings and contents cover. Buildings insurance covers the cost of repair to the structure of your home plus built in fixtures and fittings. Contents insurance covers your household possessions should they be damaged, destroyed, or stolen.

In the context of home insurance, ‘contents’ refers to items within your home that are not fixed, for example, furniture, electrical equipment, freestanding appliances, soft furnishing, jewellery, and even clothing. Most contents policies insure against damage or loss from a number of events including fire, smoke, storms, flood, theft, accidental damage, and escape of water. In the event you need to make a claim, Jersey Mutual will, in most instances, replace your goods on a ‘new for old basis’, meaning that we will cover the cost of replacing the item at the current price, not the price you originally paid for it.

Contents insurance protects your treasured possessions should something unexpected happen. For total peace of mind, many Jersey homeowners opt for a combined buildings and contents insurance policy, such as Jersey Mutual’s House and Home Insurance.

What is the average value of house contents in Jersey?

Just as our taste in property is varied, so is what we keep in them. Some people prefer a minimalist approach, while some value collections and trinkets. More commonly nowadays, people are filling their homes with the latest devices and high-end electrical equipment, but there are those who prefer a gadget-free home. Personal choice is a wonderful thing, but for insurance purposes, it makes it very difficult to place a value on the average household contents.

The ‘average’ home contents value in Jersey is thought to be on a par with London. Considering the wide variety of households in Jersey, and the increasing number High Net Worth Individuals that reside on the island, contents sums insured vary considerably between households.

Reliable home insurance providers such as Jersey Mutual will advise you to evaluate your house contents very carefully rather than using comparative figures based on where you live and the size of your property. Failure to submit an accurate valuation may mean that you are underinsured, resulting in underpayment in the event of a claim.

How do you determine the value of household goods?

To work out the value of your household contents, it is important to devote a decent amount of your time and attention. It pays to be as accurate as possible in order to secure the appropriate amount of cover you need. If you cut corners or submit a guestimate, it could result in you being over or underinsured. In both cases, you will burden yourself with unnecessary cost.

To make the task of calculating your household contents easier, here is a useful guide from our experienced team.

Jersey Mutual’s five point guide to valuing your possessions for contents insurance

1. Make a detailed inventory

It is best to start by compiling a thorough inventory of your possessions, which will require you to go physically from room to room. This may seem like an arduous task, but the value of those odds and ends which you may have overlooked soon add up to quite a sum. Many items can be broadly categorised, eg. ‘cutlery’, as long as you can confidently attribute a cost to it as a collection.

2. Be sure to include all of your possessions

Make sure that you include all of your possessions in your valuation, not just items of higher value. Your insurer will require the cost of replacing the entire contents of your home, known as the ‘sum insured’ figure. While it’s not a pleasant thought to dwell on, consider what you would need to replace if your house was destroyed by fire.

Checklist of household possessions:

Throughout your home

  • Furniture (anything that can be removed, such as chairs, sofas, beds, sideboards, lighting)
  • Soft furnishings (cushions, carpets, curtains)
  • Collectibles, art, antiques
  • Electronic devices (TVs, laptops, PCs, music centres)
  • Books, CDs, DVDs, games

Kitchen

  • Cooking equipment (kettles, toasters, microwaves)
  • Kitchenware (pots and pans)
  • Freestanding appliances
  • Cutlery and crockery
  • Food (this may seem odd, but consider the cost of replacing your cupboard contents from scratch and it is quite a sum in most cases)

Bedrooms

  • Bedroom furniture (beds, wardrobes, chests)
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Bed linen
  • Children’s toys
  • Jewellery, watches and trinkets

Bathroom

  • Freestanding furniture and storage
  • Cosmetics and toiletries

Outbuildings/attic

  • Garden furniture
  • Garden electrical goods
  • Items stored in sheds (lawnmowers, DIY equipment, tools)
  • Items stored in the attic (Christmas decorations, clothing, home furnishings)

3. Attach accurate costs to each item

When considering the cost of each item, or category of items, note what it would cost to replace them today. Use this rather than the price you paid for them. The most efficient way to do this is to research equivalent goods online.

Your provider will set a maximum value per item, known commonly as the ‘single article limit’. For Jersey Mutual Members, this is set at £2,500 per item for our House and Home Insurance policy, but it could be higher or lower depending on the provider.

4. Have high value items valued by a specialist

You may own valuable items such as artwork, jewellery, watches, antiques, collectibles, and designer clothing. If any of your possessions exceed the single article limit set out in your policy, it is likely that your provider will ask you to have them professionally valued. They will at least they will require a receipt of purchase. As the market value for luxury items fluctuates, it is important to have possessions such as these valued on a regular basis. This will make sure that your contents cover is adequate.

If your possessions exceed £100,000, you should seek out specialist high value home insurance which can provide extra cover and care tailored to your needs.

5. Use a contents insurance calculator

Once you have compiled a thorough list of your possessions, there are some very useful online tools to help you calculate the total sum, such as Jersey Mutual’s contents insurance calculator. This also serves as an excellent checklist to ensure you haven’t overlooked anything.

The contents calculator provides your sum insured figure to submit to your insurer, which will determine the level of cover you need. It is up to you, of course, what value of cover you choose and excess you set. Give serious consideration to how you would manage if all of your possessions were destroyed.

We are sure you will agree that carrying out a home contents valuation is time well spent. Once the hard work is done, you will find reward in the knowledge that your possessions are protected.

Contents insurance from Jersey Mutual

If you are a homeowner in Jersey, you need to look no further than Jersey Mutual for your home contents and buildings insurance. Our House and Home Insurance policy offers premium cover to protect both your property and your treasured possessions.

As previously mentioned, we have developed a useful contents calculator to help you assess the value of your possessions, so you can be confident in selecting an appropriate amount of cover. As Jersey’s only insurance society we have no use for brokers. We do not charge administration fees so you can be assured of premium stability.

Our valued Jersey Mutual Members can expect a high level of personal care. We understand how stressful a contents insurance claim can be, so we will deal with your claim swiftly and sympathetically. We have a genuine desire to settle claims quickly so that you can make your house a home once more.

For more advice on contents insurance and to get a quote, please contact us today on 01534 734246 or email info@jerseymutual.com

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