In recent years, the value of possessions in your home has likely increased as consumer culture and the need to have ‘the best’ comes to the fore. Add to this the significant amount of personal possessions you are likely to accumulate over the years – jewellery, trinkets, vases and the like and you’d be surprised to learn just how much value there is likely to be in your home.
If the worst were to happen and you lost most or all of your possessions, would you be in a financial position to replace them? Sadly, for many people, the answer would be no, due primarily to the fact that many people do not have adequate home contents insurance to cover the cost of replacing items lost due to fire, flood, or theft.
The recent freak storms which lashed across the north of England brought torrential rain to many parts of the region. The city of Hull alone saw in excess of 16000 houses affected by the weather and many people were forced to leave their homes and possessions behind as widespread flooding caused untold damage across the city. The damage has been so bad that experts predict it could be up to eighteen months before some families are allowed to return to their homes.
The charity organisation, Oxfam has warned that the poorest people are most likely to suffer most in the aftermath, pointing out that poorer people are significantly less likely to have household insurance cover. As a result, many families could well be left with nothing and with no means of replacing their losses, while those who do have insurance face an average claim of £30,000. The total amount of insurance claims is expected to reach £1.5billion.
Yet many people still believe home insurance to be a luxury product despite its relatively low cost. Some homeowners believe that home contents cover is included in the cost of their buildings cover, while some tenants believe their landlord or local council covers home contents as part of their rental agreement for their property. However neither scenario is true, as buildings insurance only covers the structure of a property while a landlord or local council is only responsible for the upkeep of the building. In both cases, individual possessions are the responsibility of the householder, and thus is it important to ensure possessions are suitably covered.
Home contents insurance is available through most major banks and building societies, as well as specialist insurance firms, and arranging a home contents insurance policy should be a high priority on the list of any homeowner or tenant who doesn’t already possess home contents cover. Of those that do have cover, it’s a good idea to review the level of cover afforded by the policy and amend as necessary to ensure a good level of protection in the event of a claim.