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When you apply for contents insurance, the insurer will ask you to value your home contents. This is so you’ll have enough cover if you need to make a claim. If there’s a break-in or a fire, it’s important you’ve not undervalued your belongings – or your insurer won’t pay out enough.

But how can you put a price on all of your possessions – your clothes, your furniture and your gadgets, not to mention any extensive CD or DVD collections? Let’s look at how you can value the contents of your home when you’re taking out an insurance policy.

Write it all down

It’s a big job but when you’re valuing your home’s contents, start by making a list of everything you own. You can make it slightly less overwhelming by breaking it up into rooms – so count everything in your kitchen on one list, then a list for your living room, your bathroom and so on.

Don’t be tempted to cut corners and just estimate how much you think the contents of a room is worth. You might miss an obvious high value item and end up undervaluing your contents. If this happens and you need to make a claim, you won’t have enough cover and you could have to pay out yourself.

Remember, fixed appliances like kitchen units or bathroom suites don’t count as contents – they’ll come under your building insurance policy. However, carpets are actually contents so make sure you include them.

Don’t forget anything you’ve got in your garden or garage as well. You should also include the cost of any digital belongings – so if you’ve got £200 of downloaded songs stored on your iPod, your insurer might class these as a possession too.

Add it all up

Once you’ve got an estimate of the cost of everything written down, add it all up. You’ll probably be surprised at how much your belongings add up to – even if they’re not worth much separately, they’ll be a lot more when you put them all together!

Your insurer will probably ask for details of any high-value items worth over £1,000. You have to declare these – if you don’t, your policy won’t cover them.

The value of your contents will probably change quite a lot each year so you should work this out every time you renew your policy. If the value of your contents goes up, you might get a higher quote for contents insurance – so it could be worth thinking about switching. Get a quote through a comparison site to see a range of insurers. You could also get a quote through an insurance broker like thinkmoney and find deals that are tailored for your situation.

Buying building insurance instead? Find out how you can work out the rebuild cost of your home for insurance.

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