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Home contents insurance

Home contents insurance covers you against loss or damage to all the stuff in your home that is not a permanent part of the building. It would usually also include personal liability insurance.

What should I insure under home contents?

Home contents generally refers to everything you own that isn’t a part of the building. If you had to pick up your home and shake it, everything that would fall out would be your home contents. Things like cars and animals, however, aren’t covered under home contents.

What does home contents insurance cover?

Home contents insurance usually covers everything in your house against theft, fire, malicious damage and Mother Nature (things like floods, hail, windstorms and lightning). Very often accidental damage might be limited or excluded and you would also need to specify the specific items you would want covered outside of your home. The cover differs from insurer to insurer so it’s best to read your policy wording.

How do I value my home contents?

Work through your home one room at a time and make a list of the most valuable things first. And don’t forget about valuables in the garage or things like the automatic pool cleaner. Then determine what it would cost to replace these items as new (their replacement value).

Once you have found the replacement value of the higher-value items, add those values up so that you have a separate amount for each room. As a rule of thumb, the smaller items in that room should be valued at 20-30% of the higher-value items. Once you have done that it might be a good idea to add a further buffer for small things you might buy during the year, say R50,000.

How regularly should I update my contents sum insured?

Every time you make a big purchase or major upgrade you should update your insured value with your insurer. Alternatively, it is recommended that you should at least consider upping the value with inflation each year – the price of replacing your things will go up as inflation does.

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