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Why you should regularly calculate your contents insurance

There are probably plenty of things you'd rather be doing this weekend than calculating your home contents insurance. But with Christmas just gone, this can be the best time of year to do it.

According to a survey by events agency Chillisauce, Christmas Eve is the most popular day to propose. So, if you're now sporting some special jewellery on your left hand, you'll want to make sure it's insured. And it's not just engagement rings you need to think about – what about those high value gifts we often get at Christmas? If you've got a new laptop or tablet, you need to get that covered too.

Why it's important to keep your contents up-to-date

Underestimating the cost of replacing the contents of your home could mean you end up thousands of pounds out of pocket if you make a claim. And suffering the loss of personal items can take its toll emotionally too. If your contents are calculated properly, you can at least take some of the financial strain out of the ordeal.

The main reason you should review your contents regularly is because the value of your items are likely to change, particularly after Christmas. Sophisticated technology like flat-screen TVs and the latest smartphones can all drastically increase the collective total of your homes contents.

Some insurers will automatically increase your cover over December and January, to cover the expensive gifts you might have in the home during and after the festive period. Make sure to check your insurance documents to see if this is included as part of your policy.

How do you work out what to cover?

Home contents don't just refer to valuables like expensive electronic equipment and jewellery. Everything you might need to replace in your home should be listed, including soft furnishings like curtains and carpets. Standard policies will insure your belongings on a 'new for old' basis, so they'll be replaced with items of the same value, apart from clothes (where the value decreases over time to allow for wear and tear).

The best way to calculate the value of your contents is to look at each room and break down each item with an estimation of how much they cost. You can find online tools to help you figure this out. Common items to consider include:

  • Sofas and armchairs
  • Units of furniture such as bookcases (don't forget the books too)
  • Washing machines
  • Bicycles
  • IT equipment
  • Garden furniture
  • Kitchenware

Digital downloads are also something you might need covered, so check with your insurer if you need to take this into consideration. And don't forget to insure those things you carry around with you in your bag or pockets on a daily basis!

Contents cover for expensive items

Insurers set limits for how much they're willing to pay out, so don't assume your expensive items will all be covered. If you have an item that's particularly expensive, speak to your insurer directly about it. You may even need to get specialist insurance.

When to review your cover

There are some key times to review your home contents insurance:

  • When you move in with a partner
  • If you get married and receive lots of gifts
  • When children leave home for university
  • After redecorating or renovating
  • After Christmas or a big birthday.

You might need to provide proof you owned the items in order to make a successful claim. This is to prevent fraud where people claim for items they don't actually own. Your insurer will be able to tell you what you might need to provide as proof- you may need to take photographs of the items or show proof of purchase.

It's a good idea to scan receipts for expensive items, saving the documents and any online receipts into a folder you know you'll still be able to access in an emergency.

Home insurance

We know how important your home and its contents are to you. That's why we offer home insurance that covers you for the unexpected expense that theft, loss and damage can bring. Plus, you can choose from a great range of optional extras.

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Log in to MyAccount to manage your policy online. You can view and download documents at your convenience. If your policy number starts with 'XA' you can also make payments and changes to your policy online.