Take stock as the new year starts

A3_Issue02The advent of a new year often brings with it several financial “chores” for homeowners, including a review of their household (short term) insurance to make sure they are fully covered in the event of a burglary or other mishap.

“And it really is best to get this done as soon as possible,“ says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts, so that you will have peace of mind that you are not over-insured and paying too much, or underinsured and set to lose out on any claim you have to make.”

However, he acknowledges that it can be tricky to evaluate one’s possessions. “You may find, for example, that items from your childhood that you treasure are not actually that valuable in material terms. On the other hand, though, a battered lounge suite may carry a higher value than you think, because you need to insure it at replacement cost.”

In any event, says Gray, the easiest way to get the job done is to compile a proper and careful inventory, room by room and item by item. This will remind you about items that require special mention or certification for insurance purposes, such as jewellery, artworks and oriental rugs.

It is a good idea to photograph these, and at the same time to take down the serial numbers and other details of all the electronic equipment, including cellphones, cameras, laptops, ipods, decoders, DVD players, music centres and TVs that you want to insure.

When compiling your inventory, he notes, you will need to note the original cost of each item and as far as possible, the current replacement value. A useful tip is to scan advertising supplements to get an idea of the current cost of small and large appliances, furniture that corresponds with your own, and items such as light fittings.

“Unique items such as custom-made jewellery or your wine collection may pose a problem but the best course of action in that case is to take the purchase price as a base and adjust the figure for inflation, or even better, to have the items professionally appraised.”

Once you have completed your inventory, Gray says, you should check with your insurance company to see if you need to adjust your insurance cover. “And finally, you should make sure you have a copy of your inventory, photos and equipment details in a safe place away from your home because this information can go a long way towards speeding up the claim process if your possessions are stolen or destroyed.”

Of course one of your largest assets is your home itself – and you need to make sure that this is also adequately insured – the last thing you want to worry about in the event of a disaster or damage is being underinsured. Determining the value of your home is often difficult for those that aren’t in the real estate business, but fortunately we’re here to help. Our team as happy to provide you with a free, no obligation valuation of the current value of your home at any time. Simply click here to request one of our area experts to contact you.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Errors and omission excepted. (E&OE)