How to calculate a value for contents insurance


One of the most important things to consider when taking out home insurance is the level of cover you need for the contents in your property. These are the items in your house at risk of being damaged or stolen, and you need to set the right level of cover to make sure that if anything happens to them, you can make a claim so that they can be replaced.

You will be asked by your insurer to estimate a total value for the contents of your home. But it's a difficult question - how can you provide an accurate estimate, and not undervalue or overvalue your belongings? Contents includes not just high value items but everything in it. Consider contents that are not just at risk of being stolen if you're a victim of a burglary, but also if your house is flooded or a fire breaks out. The structure of the house - the building's walls and roof - are covered by buildings insurance.

This guide will help with how to calculate the contents value in your home.


Contents:


Calculating contents value by room

A useful way of how to value your home contents is to go around your house, room by room, make a note of what is in every room, and estimate its value. If you can calculate the value of contents per room, it can be easier to work out the total level of cover you need instead of viewing the house in one go.

An outline of what to consider per room includes:

Kitchen

A typical kitchen includes large items of reasonably high value - cookers and ovens, fridge and freezer, hob, dishwasher and potentially washing machine and tumble dryer too. You'll probably have smaller items too, such as a microwave, kettle and toaster, perhaps an expensive coffee machine, as well as crockery and cutlery. Some open plan style kitchens may have a flat screen TV. Don't forget to estimate the value of the food in your fridge and freezer - if these appliances develop a fault and food spoils, it will need replacing. You should also check the price of the kitchen suite itself, especially if it's relatively new - fitted kitchens are usually covered under Buildings, but it's always best to check with your insurer.

Living Room

The living room, or lounge, is where you relax in the evenings so you'll probably have some expensive items in here too. Sofas and armchairs, curtains and carpet, TV and DVD player and other electrical gadgets might all be here. You might have a bookcase full of books, a wood burner or stove.

Bedrooms

As well as furniture - beds, wardrobes, chests of drawers, desks, side tables and lamps - you'll need to put a value on clothing and any items you keep in the bedrooms. This could include watches and jewellery. If you have children living at home, their bedrooms may have games consoles and other electrical devices such as iPods, tablets, mobile phones and cameras.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms tend to have fewer items in them than many other rooms in a house but what's in them still needs to be covered. The bathroom furniture itself should be included - especially if it has expensive fittings - as does flooring. Sinks, baths, toilets and showers should be covered under Buildings, but check with your insurer.

Bathrooms, of course, are at risk of flooding so calculate how much it would cost to replace everything in the room if that were to happen. If you have expensive tastes when it comes to toiletries, you could include all those too.

Garden and outside buildings

If you have a garden and any outside buildings - a garage, shed or summer house - all these count as part of your home and should be included in your calculations. For example, a garage would be covered under Buildings, but its contents would be covered under the Contents part of your policy. As a general rule, if a summer house or shed can be moved, it’ll be covered under Contents, but check with your insurer.

Make a note of what's in your garden and external buildings, and check their value. Items like trampolines and swings; lawnmowers and power tools; decking and patio furniture. All could be added to your contents calculator. It's worth noting that for many insurance policies, cover is limited for items left out in the open.


Contents Value Calculator

When you have finished calculating the value of the contents in your home per room, you should then be able to add everything up to come to a total.

To make this task even easier for you, we have a simple-to-use contents value calculator. Just enter the value of your items (by room) into the calculator to come up with the level of cover you need to include in your contents insurance, we’ve also included a buffer to allow you to account for the little things too.

 


High Value Items

Within your home, you may have some items of particularly high value. These can be included in your value estimation but you may want to note them individually in your policy. Expensive jewellery, family heirlooms, antique furniture or objects, designer clothing or accessories - watches, for example - all these are examples of high value items. They may carry significant sentimental value as well as a monetary value.

If your home insurance policy sets a single item limit - the maximum amount you can claim - then it's probably worth speaking to your insurer about listing high value items separately. This might cost a little extra in terms of your policy cost but could be worth it if your most prized item of jewellery is stolen and needs to be replaced.


Should I overestimate my contents value?

When you use our contents value calculator, you'll be given an exact value for the items in your house. But should you state that exact value when you complete your quote for home and contents insurance?

The answer is that you should be realistic. Don’t underestimate the value of your home and contents, just in case the worst happens and your insurance won’t cover everything. Don’t overestimate either, as it could lead to you paying more for your insurance. 

Get a quote for RAC Home Insurance, and ensure peace of mind for not only your home but everything in it.