Don’t undervalue your household insurance

Don’t undervalue your household insurance

Imagine coming home to discover there’s been a break-in. To replace the stolen items will be insanely expensive, unless you’re properly covered by household insurance. But – do you know exactly what you’re covered for in terms of household content?

It is relatively simple, says Marius Neethling, Santam’s manager: personal lines underwriting. “There really are only a few key areas where one can get ‘tripped up’ when taking out short-term cover. A bit of basic education, some expert advice, and taking the time to go through the details of your policy to make sure it meets your needs should mean there are no surprises when you need to submit a claim.”

Know your contents

An easy way to determine which items fall under household contents 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. Here are some examples:

  • Furniture, furnishings, carpets and rugs, linen, blankets, towels
  • Electrical items such as TVs and DVD recorders and appliances
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Toys and sporting equipment
  • Handyman tools such as drills and saws
  • Gardening equipment

When you explain to your insurer what you need to insure, you can’t be vague about it. You need to be precise about what you need cover for as well as the value of the items.

An action plan

  1. Make a list of all items for each room.
  2. Then consider what it would cost to replace each of these items at today’s values. (A good idea is to compare your belongings to similar items advertised in newspapers and magazines.)
  3. Keep a record of your inventory in a safe place and update it every six months or when you move home.
  4. An extra tip is to take photographs of the more expensive items, such as jewellery, cameras, TVs and watches etc. Also remember to keep receipts for all your larger possessions.

Remember that all policies expect you to secure your home. For instance, you may be required to have an active alarm, burglar bars and security gates. Unfortunately, Neethling says, sometimes there are situations where the assessor visits the property and finds that the place is not as secure as stated in the policy. This can lead to your claim being rejected.

By Helen Ueckermann

Need help working out the value of your household contents? Try Santam’s house contents calculator. Click here>