While nobody wants to catastrophise, it’s not a bad idea to have a think about what your financial outlay might be if you were faced with a fire, flood or theft – and you might be surprised to learn how quickly your personal items can add up.
Take stock of your items
One way to work it out is to break your items down by category, by room, or both. Walk through your home and take a video on your phone as you go. Take a 360-degree shot of each room, panning slowly around the room to make sure you get a good overview. When you watch it back later, you’ll probably be surprised by how many things you could easily overlook if you tried to do it solely from memory. Your video is also worth keeping as a record, should you ever need to make a claim on your insurance.
Itemise by category
Once you have taken your video or photos, list the items you see by category.
- Electrical goods. Don’t forget the big ones; your TV, stove, fridge, washer and dryer and include the smaller appliances too such as your hairdryer, phone chargers, computers and gaming consoles.
- Home furnishings. Your sofa, your bed and your homewares (cushions, rugs, bedding, towels etc) all fall under this category.
- Clothing - Whether you’re an online shopper extraordinaire, a bargain hunter or a follower of high-fashion, your clothing and shoes are all items you’ve invested in and would need to be replaced if, for example, there was a fire. Don’t forget shoes, handbags and leather goods that you might have spent more on.
- Personal toiletries and medications should be taken into account. If you love a fine fragrance, don’t forget to add those to your list, as some can be quite pricey to replace.
- Basic tools, tool kits, ladders and other household items are easy to overlook but could be expensive to replace as new.
If time doesn’t permit making a comprehensive list and tallying up your totals, NRMA Insurance has a helpful home contents calculator that lets you work out a general estimate of your contents’ value and prepares a report you can download. It takes only a few minutes and takes into account your locality, your home’s size and room count as well as the number of occupants. While it can’t give you a completely accurate figure to the dollar, it does give an estimate that you can use to better consider your insurance options.
Cover what’s important to you
Now you know roughly what it would cost to replace your belongings, do you think you could? Most of us would likely struggle to meet the financial burden of having to replace our items, especially replacing them with new items purchased at current market prices.
This is why you should consider contents insurance. Regardless of whether you rent or own your home, contents insurance gives you the cover you need to protect the things you care about. Whether it’s accidental damage caused by a flood, or you fall prey to thieves or vandals, contents insurance gives you the assurance that you can replace the things you’ve lost.
Before you purchase contents cover, be sure you know what is and isn’t covered by your policy, so there are no surprises if you have to make a claim. Your policy’s product disclosure statement clearly outlines what is covered, so make sure you read over it thoroughly. NRMA Home Contents Insurance also covers you for things like temporary accommodation if you can’t live in your home due to damage, and cover for your belongings while you’re moving to a new home. However, not all insurers offer the same features and benefits, so make sure you’re clear on what’s included or not, before you sign on the dotted line.
Of course, there are some things that can’t be replaced, like sentimental items. But for everything else, if you have the right cover for your lifestyle and circumstances you can rest assured, you’ll get the help you need when you need it.