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Home contents insurance 101: What you need to know

Whether you’re a home owner or renting, contents insurance is something you need to consider.

Although we often don’t think of the cost of replacing our possessions, the truth is it can be a very expensive exercise. However, these costs can be avoided with the right insurance in place. Let’s take a closer look at what you can come to expect when it comes to your home contents insurance.

What does my home contents insurance cover?

Home contents insurance covers you financially if your possessions require repair or replacement following certain insured incidents. There are varying levels of cover that you can choose from and the premium you pay will increase the more cover you have.

More basic cover will protect you against incidents such as fire or theft. For an increased premium, other policies will also cover against accidental damage or loss and have a higher limit that you can claim up to. The level of cover you choose will depend on your circumstances. For individuals who are renting and have few expensive items, basic cover might be enough while others may want the peace of mind of a wider range of cover.

An additional thing to consider when choosing the right policy for you is if you want items to be covered when you are away from home, such as your laptop, mobile phone, or bike. Not all policies provide this cover so make sure you check the product disclosure statement to understand exactly what you’ll be covered if you ever need to make a claim.

One of the most important things to be aware of is not to underinsure. It is recommended to go room to room and add up the replacement value of your contents and take time to consider the monetary value of individual items. You might be surprised at how much it comes to.

If you have special items, such as expensive artwork or vintage jewellery, make sure you let your insurer know as these may need to be added on to the policy separately.

What do I do at claim time?

If you need to make a claim on your contents insurance, do it immediately and provide as many details as possible. Hang on to any evidence to support your claim, such as police reports, as this can be handed on to your insurer. One of the most important things to remember is to be honest with your insurer. Don’t be tempted to exaggerate or leave out details on your claim as this can have serious consequences in the future.

To avoid problems at claim time, remember to hold on to receipts for more expensive items as proof of purchase. If you don’t have receipts, take photographs of pricier possessions, such as jewellery and electronic items, so you have evidence down the track following incidents such as theft.

Remember that not all contents insurance policies are created equal so don’t automatically sign up to the cheapest policy you can find as you might find you don’t have the best cover in place. Check what the various inclusion and exclusions are on the policy. The best thing to do is find a policy that is within your budget that provides the best coverage for your items.

For more information about Contents Insurance you can read details on our website, or contact CGU today.