Life Insurance Articles


Keep your sum insured on your house contents policy up to date. If you're under insured, your claim may well be reduced accordingly.

How much do you value your home's contents? Keep them covered.

Author: Dot Piper 26/03/06

When it comes to home contents insurance, it's so easy to get left behind in your valuations. It's simple enough to go through the rooms, in your mind. Lounge – carpet, sofas, display cabinet and contents. Bedrooms, carpets again, beds, furniture ……. And so on. All things moveable in your home should be covered by your contents insurance. It's also simple enough to overlook things. For example, don't the above rooms also have curtains, framed pictures, the odd painting or two? The pictures may mean a lot to you but their frames will be very tempting to a thief. Then there are the garden and outbuildings contents. Garden furniture and tools, the children's bicycles, outdoor toys and even the plants in the garden. All of these need to be taken into consideration.

The range of expensive electrical goods is even more tempting to the thief. Not easily identifiable and easily sold on in the case of theft, also expensive to replace in the case of accidental damage. Include all the television sets, CD and DVD recorders and players, computers (don't forget the lap top/s), CD's, DVD's (Norwich Union tell us they allow £10 per CD, so your collection can easily add up to a fair sum.) Then there are the iPods, Game Boys, mobile phones and accessories. The average family home contents are typically valued at around £45,000.

If you're under insured, any claim that you make on your policy will be down rated accordingly. Some insurers, Norwich Union Direct for example, will simply pay out up to the limit of the sum initially insured and then you have to make up the shortfall. Other companies will simply reduce the payment in proportion to the amount understated. If they consider your contents to be worth £30,000 and your cover stands at £20,000, then whatever your claim, it will be reduced by one third.

More Than are one of the companies using the second example shown above. Furthermore they have taken action to solve the problem and have recently decided to enforce increased cover for their clients, to the tune of 25% as their cover comes up for renewal. This will apply to all of their 470,000 clients.

You would be well advised to re-assess the value of your home's contents. There's a helpful website run by the Association of British Insurers. There you will find advice and a handy checklist to download and use. Their address is

Our advice so far has referred to home contents insurance, but it may be as well to consider values on Buildings cover too. The sale value of your home can easily be calculated by whatever price similar properties in your area are achieving. The insurance value differs in that you don't have to cover the value of the site. The cost of demolition, clearing of the site and rebuilding the property will be the key factors. The easiest way to find this out is to contact your insurer and ask them to recalculate the value of the property. The way they carry this out is to take the number of rooms and their use. They then come to a value, based on your post code. In this way they will arrive at the estimated rebuilding costs of your property.

So, it may be time to assess your home and contents insurance generally. Then relax and enjoy the benefits.

Readers please note : You should undertake your own background checks before taking any action on any aspect mentioned in this article. Where the author has mentioned specific product details or given examples of how companies have reacted to specific situations, these should be correct as far as the author is aware when this article was written. In some cases additional background information not mentioned in the article has been used in obtaining the examples. Some examples or quotes may have been taken from information available in the public domain where all the background details may not be available. Insurers do change policy conditions and underwriting approach. They will view each situation on its own merits.

You should be aware that details of the topics written about within the articles can change. Therefore, always check out the current position before taking any action. You should also check that any action you are considering, or any proposed purchase, is suitable for your personal circumstances.

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