From the curtains hanging in your bedroom to the smart speaker in your kitchen or the power tools in your shed, it’s not always easy to estimate how much everything in your home is worth.

After all, these are the things you live with day in, day out. You may be surprised to know that the average UK home has around £35,000 worth of contents, according to research by the Association of British Insurers in 2018[1].

One reason it’s important to know the value of what’s in your home is for buying contents insurance.

What is contents insurance and do I need it?

Contents insurance helps protect the possessions in your home. Depending on the policy you choose, you’ll normally be covered against theft, fire and flood[2].

Unlike buildings insurance, contents insurance isn’t a legal requirement. But without it, you wouldn’t be covered for the costs of replacing all your belongings if they are stolen or damaged, which could easily run into thousands of pounds.

Working out the value of your home contents for home insurance

In order to get the right level of home contents insurance, you’ll first need to work out just how much your home contents are worth. But how can you do this accurately?

A rule of thumb is that if something isn’t part of the actual building, then you need to include it in your tally. So, it’s important to include things like curtains and furniture.

Before you take out a contents insurance policy, be sure you know exactly what it covers, as policies will differ in the level of protection offered. For example, not all policies cover the contents of your shed, garage or freezer[3].

The ABI[4] suggests simply making an inventory of all your possessions, using one of the many free apps that are available to help. Go through your home room-by-room, not forgetting items in attics, basements, sheds and garages, if they’re covered. You might not have receipts for most of your possessions, in which case you can use the internet to help you work out the cost of each item.

There are also item valuation tools available online, but these should only be used as a rough guide[4].

Insure individual items

Your home insurance policy will also have a single item limit, which is the maximum amount your insurer would pay out to replace a single item if you were to make a claim.

For example, if the single item limit is £1,500 and you have a necklace worth £2,500 stolen from your home, then your insurer may only pay out £1,500 if you make a claim[4].

So, it’s important to tell your insurer about any expensive items you own to make sure they are covered by your policy.

Be sure to include all your tech

People’s homes are increasingly packed with internet-enabled devices. Back in 2018, YouGov’s Smart Homes 2018 Report showed that close to a quarter of Britons (23%) already owned at least one smart home device[5].

Apart from these smart home gadgets, how many other internet-enabled devices do you have in your home? Between your family members, you may have several valuable smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart speakers and gaming consoles. Some of these devices are becoming increasingly expensive and research by Uswitch has shown that the cost of top-end mobile phones has soared by 490% over the last 20 years[6].

Also, don’t forget to include any gadgets you have bought for your kids. According to YouGov[7], four in ten British children have their own tablet by age six, and this all adds up for your home contents tally.

Review the value of your items

If you buy anything valuable after taking out your contents policy, you should contact your insurer to make sure your new purchases are covered.

The value of your home contents will continually change as you buy new things or if you receive expensive gifts, for example for your birthday or at Christmas.

Also, certain items such as jewellery, art or antiques may increase in value over time. So, make sure to regularly review the value of your possessions to make sure you’re covered.

Don’t be underinsured

If you underestimate how much contents cover you need and something happens to any of the possessions in your home, you might be disappointed when you come to make a claim.

If you’ve said your possessions are worth less than their true value, then your insurer could pay out less when you make a claim4. In some cases, an insurer may be able to void your policy entirely, meaning you’d receive no payment at all.

Research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has shown that one in five households could be underinsured because they did not know how much their home contents were worth[8].

So, take your time and value your possessions as accurately as you can. You may even be surprised and find some long-lost treasures in your home.

Go to Solved to read more about protecting your home.