About every five years, we do an annual project with our Membership Fee clients to make sure that their 'stuff' is properly insured. We are not house and contents insurance specialists (but we do refer our clients to a terrific specialist insurance broker.)
When we do the project, most of our clients end up increasing the value of their cover. A good number of our clients take the opportunity to photograph their things and to document and catalogue any special collections. For example, we have a small collection of rare fishing books, we we catalogued a number of years ago. Sadly, we haven't purchased any since then, so the catalogue is up to date.
We have had two clients who have had their entire house burned down, with everything destroyed. As well as the issues with rebuilding their houses, they had to replace their valuable things. It was stressful and heart breaking for both families.
While insurance money can never replace that special object, it will ensure that you have enough things to live from day to day. But not if you don't have the right kind of insurance cover and not if you don't have enough cover.
It is important that you know how much insurance cover you have in place and think about whether you have any 'special things' that need to be photographed and catalogued.
When you are doing your house contents review, look at when you last got a written valuation for any special items, including jewellery.
And a little hint - scan it and store the scan off-site, if you are a Moneyworks client, feel free to email us your scanned valuations, or catalogues or photos. Then if your computer is destroyed, your records aren't all destroyed as well!
Four factors to look at in your insurance policy are 1. What is your total level of cover? 2. What is your excess - and will that work for you in reality? 3. What items are covered only in your home? Is there an allowance for things being transported or if you have them at other locations? 4. How is depreciation of value treated?
Rob Stock wrote another excellent article in the Sunday Star Times covering this issue. I recommend that you read it here:
Looking at contents insurance claims
This article also had an excellent sidebar with case studies of declined claims. It is worth reading, unfortunately it is not available on the www.stuff.co.nz website, so I have scanned it, apologies for the quality.
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For more blog articles on insurance, check out these posts:
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By Carey Church