At this time of year, people are filling their houses with ready packed Christmas gifts and perhaps preparing to take off for a well deserved summer break. These are perfect conditions for would-be burglars. So its vitally important that you make sure that you have your contents properly insured.
Here are a few contents insurance tips to make sure you don’t get a rude shock in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim.
Once a year, when you renew your policy
- Spend an hour walking through your house room by room — list your possessions and take photos. Most people underestimate how much stuff they have.
- List especially valuable items like jewelry or that classic DVD collection and check to see if they are covered (and the limit is high enough) or if they need to be listed separately.
Understand what you’re covered for
- Make sure you know if you’re covered for any accidental event, or just specified events like fire or theft.
- Check to see if you’re covered for the (second hand) value of your stuff, or for their new replacement value (obviously a more expensive policy).
- If something breaks, check to see if your policy covers its repair.
- Make sure you know which portable items (like jewelry, cameras, mobile phones and sporting equipment) are and are not covered for use outside the home. Consider separate insurance for that precious smartphone.
If you are in any doubt about what is and isn’t covered, contact your insurer. Don’t leave it until you try to make a claim to discover that you weren’t as protected as you thought.
Use a file, a drawer, or even a cardboard box, but keep those receipts as proof of ownership.
Ensure that your home complies with policy wording about maintenance, particularly window locks and deadlocks.
Worried about the size of your premium?
Don’t be tempted to under-insure yourself by underestimating the value of your contents. If necessary, reduce your premium by increasing the excess or having an alarm installed, instead.
And of course, shop around.
Planning to be away?
Many policies deny cover if you don’t “maintain your home in good repair and condition” or if you leave your home unoccupied for 60 consecutive days and don’t keep it “in a lived-in state” by:
• keeping the lawns mowed and garden tidy
• stopping regular mail and newspaper deliveries, and
• organising someone to check inside and outside your home at least once a week.