It’s important to cover your belongings against damage or theft, but calculating the value of everything you own can seem a daunting task. However, if you take short cuts and have a wild guess at the value of all your belongings, you could end out losing out with your contents insurance policy.

Being under-insured because you do not know how much your home contents are worth can cause serious problems if you have to make an insurance claim, as your insurance company may not pay out the full cost to replace lost or damaged items. So it’s time to get a pen, notepad and calculator to work it all out.

Find any receipts for high price items

You may still have receipts for some of your more expensive items like TVs, computers or kitchen appliances. If you do, these items are a great place to start with when calculating the value of your contents insurance and will help you save time later. Write down these items and their value first. If you do not have receipts for these sorts of items, then not to worry – these will be some of the easier items to research later on.

Time to take inventory

Your next step is to take an inventory of the remainder of your belongings – the best way to do this is to tackle each room at a time. List each item in the room on your notepad, remembering that it is not just the obvious furniture items that count.

Here are a few items to get you started:

Kitchen – all appliances and white goods, cutlery, crockery and utensils

Bedroom(s) – all furniture, bed linen and vanity items

Bathroom(s) – toothbrushes, perfumes, aftershaves and cleaning products

Living room – all furniture, soft furnishings and decorative items

Don’t forget outside the house

Depending on your insurer, your contents insurance may cover items in your garden, garage or shed so remember to add your gardening equipment, bikes and other outside items to your list.

Items you may have forgotten

When you have done an initial tour around your property and written your list, it’s always worth double checking. There are items that are often forgotten when calculating contents cover – here’s a few of them (dependant on home insurance provider and what is included within your policy):

  • Curtains
  • Toys
  • Luggage
  • Jewellery (some policies will cover jewellery as an extra)
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Clothing and footgear
  • Freezer food (Yes, really. Some policies will cover the food in your freezer up to a certain value)
  • Deeds, and documents
  • Downloaded electronic data (music & books)

Additional cover may be required

Some more valuable items or collections may require additional cover. Put a mark or highlight any items you are unsure will be covered by your chosen policy. It is always better to count in any items that you have any doubt about, because you can always contact your insurer to double check what type of policy best suits your needs.

Time to research

Now that you have your inventory, you can start working out the costs. Some more recent items you may know the cost of, but it’s not impossible to work out the value of items that you bought some time ago.

Some items you own may have labels on which will give you model numbers (for technology and appliance items) or item numbers for other belongings. If you have this information, you can use a search engine to search for the item online.

If you do not have this information, then a more generic search should bring up similar items for you to put a cost to your item. Alternatively, if you know where you bought the item from and the shop has a website, you can always search that website for the same or similar items.

For example, if you bought your bed linen from a particular home store, search their website for bed linen to find the value. If you need to estimate the value at all and would like to get some advice from your insurer, highlight those items but still count them towards your final costing.

Adding it all together

Once you have valued all your belongings, it is a good time to double check you haven’t missed anything out. An extra item may spring to mind if you walk around your house once more. If you are sure everything is there, get your calculator and add the items together per room before calculating the total sum.

With this total sum, you can now explore your options for contents insurance policies. Here at Insure4Retirement we offer a range of cover options to suit your needs, covering you against theft, fire, flood and more. For more information and assistance in setting up your contents insurance, call us on 0800 29 88 707.