Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When was the last time you updated your household inventory for insurance purposes? Would you be able to remember all the possessions you have accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire or other disaster? According to, 90% of homeowners are concerned about protecting their homes, yet haven't valued their possessions in years – let alone documented what they have.

According to the research, the majority of people may claim to know the value of their big-ticket items like TVs and stereos, but most forget about things like home decor, carpets and appliances, not to mention mundane possessions like bedding and bath towels.

“It’s important to know the value of all of your belongings – even the smaller things that together can add up to major financial losses,” explains John October, spokesperson for Dial Direct Insurance who has seen countless cases of costly mistakes by people not updating or documenting their possessions on their policies.

According to the research, the top five most common causes of homeowner insurance claims are: hail, water damage, home break-ins and thefts, fire and lightning. Millennials are the age group most likely to value their more expensive possessions every one to two years but are less informed about what kind of protection they have. Homeowners over the age of 55 are more aware of the value of typical household items, but are most likely not to have documented anything.

“Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance,” says October.

Here are the steps you need to take to make sure you’re adequately covered:


    • Before compiling an inventory you should first be sure what your home contents are. An easy way to determine this is to imagine taking the roof off your home and turning it upside down, everything that falls out of your house constitutes your home contents.



    • You would then have to consider what it would cost to replace all these items at today’s values and that is how much you should insure your home contents for.



    • Now it’s time to start drafting your inventory list. On this list you should write down the possessions you need to insure.



    • Compile the list by going through the house, room by room, and noting down what is in that room.



    • It is a good idea to also take photographs of the more expensive items such as jewellery, cameras, hi-fi’s and watches etc.



    • Then add the items you need to insure that are stored elsewhere, such as in a safe-deposit box as well as the items you carry around with you like your laptop and cell phone.



    • Collect and keep the receipts of your larger possessions like your TV, DVD player, fridge and microwave, not forgetting those that are small in size but big in price like cameras and jewellery.



    • Then look out in newspaper advertisements etc. to see what the prices for the equivalent items, in today’s terms, are.



    • Valuable items like jewellery, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you bought them. Check to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items.



    • Regardless of how you do it (written list, photos, computer hard drive, flash-drive, or in the cloud), keep a record of your inventory. If it is a physical document, store it safely. If it is a digital file, make sure to back it up and keep a copy on an external drive or online storage account.


“It’s wise to update your household inventory every year or if you move home, in order to ensure that you keep track of new or discarded items. We hope doing this will empower consumers to accurately value their possessions and be better prepared for unexpected losses," concludes October.


« Go Back