If you had to determine what everything in your home was worth, where would you begin? To make it easier, we can eliminate all the things that are considered to be part of your dwelling and are insured within that limit under your homeowner insurance policy. So we can forget about items such as kitchen cabinets, bathtubs or showers, basically anything that is attached and is a permanent fixture of the structure.
One of our Account Executives previously defined your contents coverage as anything that would fall out if you were able to lift your home and shake it upside down, what an easy way to distinguish!
It may be easier to value your contents by taking a closer look at each room in your house separately. The kitchen would include dishware, utensils, pots and pans and all large and small appliances. What would be the replacement value of your fridge, stove or dishwasher? You may have to google search an online store and compare your items with something similar in nature to determine the best estimate per item. Do not forget to include items on the counter, you need to replace those too.
Does this sound easy to do? Not at all. Some rooms in your home may prove easier than others, the bathroom, for example, usually contains less contents. Those rooms with various contents can probably be grouped into small categories with a total for the entire bunch of similar items, no need to separate a value for every makeup item or photo frame.
As you make your way through the house, room by room, also make notes of items which are not easily replaceable. If you own any antique furniture, for example, it would be highly recommended that these items be appraised and a copy submitted to your insurer for reference. You want to make sure the items are properly insured, and that at the time of a claim the correct value is accounted for in your inventory of property.
Here are some key items to identify in various rooms of your home:
ALL clothes, tv and other electronics, jewelry, shoes, books, curtains, blankets & pillows, any wall art or decorative items
Furniture, tv and other electronics, items in wall units or on shelves, curtains, any wall art or decorative items, area rugs, lamps
Appliances (large and small), silverware, glassware & dishware, pots & pans, cooking utensils and recipe books
Table & chairs, hutch or other shelves, items in cabinets
Coats, shoes & boots, vacuum, children games & toys, sewing machine, towels and washcloths
Children toys, furniture, tv and other electronics, wall art or decorative items
Lawnmower, snowblower, bicycles
Cell phones, collectibles
Take time in determining the full value of your personal items within the household, a couple of very important tips:
Update regularly. Not necessarily every year, that would be very time-consuming. Any major purchases should be added to your total to ensure an accurate measure.
Compare your total to the insurance limit under your homeowner, tenant or condo policy. If your policy limit falls short of your total calculated please inquire with your agent to purchase additional coverage and increase accordingly.
Paper lists of items get lost, keep a digital copy (along with perhaps a video of each room), and an extra copy offsite with a family member or friend in the event you suffer a fire and your list is destroyed.
Speak with an Erie Mutual representative if you have any questions or concerns about your policy contents coverage, we gladly will keep a list of your contents in an electronic file for you as well. Please do not wait until you are too late to realize you lack adequate insurance coverage, get adding those items today!!
Article Written by Darcy Johnson
Erie Mutual Insurance Manager – Sales, Marketing & Business Development
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