Many homeowners and renters may overlook contents insurance because they do not know what contents insurance protects them from. While we may think our personal belongings are worth a certain amount, it's likely there’s much more value sitting within our homes than we think.
So, let’s take a look behind the scenes of contents insurance to learn about what it covers, how to value your possessions, and how to claim on your insurance.
What is contents insurance, and do I need it?
Contents insurance is exactly what it sounds like – cover for contents such as your TV, computer, electrical appliances, and furniture items including your valuables in or around your home. In case your valuables are damaged in an unexpected event, or your home is broken into and your precious possessions get stolen, contents insurance steps in to cover you financially for your loss.
What’s covered by contents insurance?
Depending on the level of cover you have, your policy can cover you for incidents such as the more common fire and theft, as well as accidental damage and loss of items. You can also adjust the limit of how much you can claim up to. Generally, the more you’re insured for, and the more comprehensive your cover, the higher your premium will be.
Your policy type will depend on your circumstances, but basic policies are common with renters or those who don’t have very many expensive possessions. If you have a lot of possessions, you may prefer the peace of mind that an accidental damage policy will cover.
Always ensure you’re fully covered for what you own because underinsurance can pose a real risk. To help determine the best level of cover for you, it’s recommended to assess the replacement value of your contents. The best way to do this is to create an inventory of your possessions.
Simply go from room to room within your home and document all your valuables, being sure to jot down any important info like the model, production date, serial number, value and purchase price of any electronics or larger goods. Don’t forget everyday items such as linen or kitchen appliances, as well as irreplaceable items like artwork or jewellery – you may be surprised at just how much it’ll cost to replace these all at once. Most importantly, be sure to list particularly expensive items on your policy to make sure they’re adequately covered.
What do I do to make a claim?
Although there’s no hard deadline on when you need to make a claim, it’s highly recommended to lodge it as soon as the incident happens. The main way to prove you owned items that have been stolen, lost or damaged is by providing your insurer with information to help process your claim, such as;
- purchase receipts
- photos or video footage
- credit card or bank statements
- police reports and incident information.
It’s best to get into the good practice of taking photos of your valuables as soon as you purchase them, and document your assets for insurance purposes to help you understand the value of your “stuff”. It also opens your eyes to whether or not you have the right kind of insurance to suit your needs. It also helps you be better prepared in case something unfortunate were to happen, allowing you to make a claim quickly, which gets your claim settled sooner rather than later.
Last but not least, always remember to read the Product Disclosure Statement for any insurance policy so that you know what you are and aren’t covered for.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 trading as CGU Insurance. Any advice is general only. Consider the relevant PDS available from cgu.com.au to see if a product is right for you.