Every year, countless kiwis learn the hard way why it pays to be prepared when it comes to contents insurance. A combination of under-insurance through to a lack of record keeping can easily lead to losses in the tens of thousands at claim time. Ensure you don’t get caught out by following our 5 essential tips.
Contents insurance is a blanket policy which covers one to any number of things in your home, up to a set limit known as the sum insured. From your smartphone through to what’s in your wardrobe, contents cover can help. This sounds amazing until you realise the two major challenges of a blanket policy like this. First of all, you need to understand exactly what you own and what it all costs when added together. Secondly, at claims time you need to be able to prove that you actually owned it.
Since most of our claiming experiences are from our cars, let’s consider car vs contents insurance from insurer’s perspective. When it comes to a car, it’s relatively easy for an insurer to look up the owner, calculate an approximate value, understand the history of the vehicle and (in most cases) inspect the vehicle following an incident. Compare this to contents, where your insurer has no idea whether you have a brand new 65″ OLED TV in your living room or no TV at all. To claim, you’ll need to list out every item or group of items you’re claiming for and, for higher value items, show them them some evidence of ownership.
The responsibility is on you alone to play detective and gather the evidence to support your claim.
If you can’t adequately support your claim, then the insurer is free to adjust it or deny cover for certain items – and it’s usually those that cost the most. So what can you do to ensure you’re able to actually make a supportable claim on that contents cover you’ve been paying for each year?
Follow our 5 essential tips for contents insurance:
- Ensure you keep all receipts for household asset purchases somewhere safe, and to protect against fire and fading, scan or photograph as many receipts as you can and back them up with online cloud storage.
- If you’re closing a bank account or credit card you make purchases on, export all transaction history first. Transactions can serve as a starting point to request information from retailers.
- Use your smartphone to take photos in each room of your house every 6-12 months. Ensure details are visible on high value items and snap photos inside cupboards and drawers if you can.
- At renewal time, be sure to review your level of contents cover. Best practice would be to maintain a spreadsheet of household items. At minimum you should consider the impact of any large purchases you’ve made during the year.
- Read and understand your policy’s wording and review the policy schedule. You’re bound to discover at least one major clause that would have affected a potential future claim.
If that all seems too hard, well, you’re in the right place. We believe that being prepared should be made a lot easier and are building tools to help.
So go ahead and join our mailing list and we’ll let you know when we release our app. In the meantime, be sure to follow the tips above to ensure you’re protected.contents insurancehome and contentsinsurance claimrisk management