3 reasons why you should keep a home contents inventory

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Statistics from Content Hub show that 79.4% of South Africans are underinsured by 51.9% for the value of their possessions. Under-insurance happens when the current replacement value of insured items is more than the value they’re covered for.

Wynand van Vuuren, King Price client experience partner, says that if you insure items for less than their total replacement value it means you’re under-insured, and your insurer will likely pay out a claim proportionately. “If the correct total insured value for your home contents at the time of a claim for the total loss of all the contents, after a fire for example, is R400,000 but you’ve insured them for R200,000 then you’ll only be compensated for 50% of your loss.”

Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of everything in your home is the easiest way to keep track of the value of your home contents. To get you started, here’s a handy home contents inventory form that you can use to list and value everything you own.

Van Vuuren shares his top three reasons to keep a home inventory:

It acts as a reminder that you need to provide proof of ownership

Your insurer may ask you to prove that you own any items you claim for. This is especially applicable for high-value items like watches and electronic goods. If you have irreplaceable valuables such as collectibles, antiques, firearms, or jewellery, the more detail you can provide, the better. You should take photos of receipts or valuation certificates for these items, and do a video tour of your home, and store them in the cloud or email them to your insurer to keep on file for you. Making a habit of keeping an up-to-date home contents inventory will remind you to do so.

It makes the claims process simple and convenient

“Most people can’t remember what they had for breakfast, much less recall the contents of their closets, kitchen cabinets and garages after a theft, fire, or storm. Disasters are scary and stressful in themselves, and this can make listing stolen or damaged items for a claim even more challenging,” says Van Vuuren. Having your belongings already documented in an inventory can be a huge relief and time-saver when you need to claim.

It helps keep your insurance up to date

Knowing exactly what’s in your home, and what it’s all worth helps when taking out or updating your home contents cover. After all, if you don’t know what you have, how can you insure it adequately?

“When you do a home contents inventory, you must make sure that the replacement value you assign to each item is realistic, so that you’ll have enough cover when you need it. Remember, it’s always better to be over-insured than under-insured. It’s also important to remember that your insurance for your home contents is essentially a month-to-month contract so, ideally, you should check your policy doc monthly – especially if anything has changed.” says Van Vuuren.