Perhaps you cleaned up on the gift front at Christmas or for your birthday, or perhaps last year was just a really productive and positive year for you when it came to adding to your home and contents — either way, it’s really important that you reassess the addition in value to your home and contents and update your insurance policies accordingly.
Don’t fall into the trap of putting off updating your insurance because you think it will cost you more — firstly, it will cost you more in the long run if you don’t update your insurance (there’s a possibility you’ll void your insurance by failing to notify your insurer of updates to your home) and, secondly, by reassessing what contents you have, you might actually find you ditched some things this year and can remove them from your policy.
So, let’s have a look at what you need to consider when updating your home and contents insurance, thereby ensuring your 2016 will get off to a positive and aptly-insured start.
RECALCULATE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME
Anything that involves maths doesn’t sound enticing, but there are plenty of online calculators that will help you estimate the value of your home.
If you’ve added any internal fittings or fixtures — for example, flooring, cupboards, new taps, light fittings, etc. — make sure you factor those in. You’ll also need to include any structural improvements — fencing, extensions, swimming pools, deckings, pergolas, etc. Basically, if you did anything in 2017 that added value to your home, you’ll need to amend your policy. You’ll also want to note any depreciation in the value of your home; this is particularly relevant in areas where the property market has taken a dive.
THINK ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR 2018
If you’re planning on doing some renovations or conducting repairs to your home in the new year, then you’ll need to factor those into your home insurance update. Make sure you let your insurer know ahead of time so that they can let you know how those things will affect whether or not you are actually insured.
DON’T CUT CORNERS
It might seem like you’re doing yourself a favour in the long term by underinsuring your property, but it’s a recipe for disaster. Make sure you are really honest about what your home is worth, as well as any changes you plan to make to it — it will save you many headaches if you ever need to make a claim.
DO AN INVENTORY
While it may take a little time, it will be worth it. A lot of insurers will have online tools to help you with this, but make sure you are listing pretty much everything you own in your house. Consider things like:
- Collections (books, DVDs, stamps, etc.)
- Kitchen crockery
- Window furnishings
It’s helpful to go from room to room and note everything you own — a year is a long time to accumulate more stuff.
Once you have your list, cross-reference it with the items you are already insured for. Is there anything you need to add or remove from your policy? Also consider whether or not any of your belongings have depreciated and see if you can reduce the amount they are insured for.
GET YOUR CAMERA OUT
Take photos of everything, and not just photos of things you don’t currently have photos of. Take new photos of everything you might need to claim for so that you have up-to-date proof of ownership.
CONFIRM ASPECTS OF YOUR POLICY
There are some things that are worthwhile confirming with your insurer when you update your policy to be certain your insurance is meeting your needs. Make sure you check the following things:
- If you’ve gotten a new tablet, phone, laptop or bike, does your policy cover these types of things when they are outside the home? If not, what do you need to do to ensure these items are insured appropriately?
- Query the exclusions on your policy — some high-cost items (like art) are exempt from coverage.
- Double-check the limits for valuable items, like jewellery. If the limits are too low, consider whether to add extra cover for these items.
- If you’ve acquired or added to any collections (for example, DVDs, stamps, books, CDs, etc.), make sure you check whether you need to list those separately in order to ensure you can claim for the full amount if they are damaged or stolen.
EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS
It’s a new year, so it’s a perfect time to consider your insurance options where both home and contents are concerned. It might not be a bad idea to get a few more quotes to see if you can get better cover elsewhere, but be wary that a cheaper deal doesn’t necessarily mean a better deal.