Go room by room or group by group
You might be surprised by how much ‘stuff’ you own when making a home inventory. To avoid becoming overwhelmed or forgetting anything, decide how you will compile your inventory. Will you go room by room (bedroom, study, living room, garage...) or group by group (furniture, clothes, books, artwork)? Or, if you are moving or spring cleaning soon, you could record your home inventory as you pack or clean.
To help you remember everything, here are common household items that people forget to insure.
More: Estimate the approximate cost to replace your home contents with the Home Contents Insurance calculator
Make sure you're not underinsured
Underinsurance could result in your home insurance or contents insurance claim not providing adequate cover for your loss.
“Underinsurance is a major problem in Australia, particularly given the prevalence of natural disasters,” Hayes explains. “After a bushfire or flood, a home can become a total loss, whereby the home needs to be completely rebuilt, or majority of the contents need replacing. In this situation, if the household doesn’t have sufficient home and contents insurance coverage to rebuild or replace contents, it makes an already distressing situation much worse.”
You may not realise just how much your home contents are worth until you create a complete home inventory. Your possessions have likely been collected over years and may add up to tens of thousands of dollars. For example, consider how many items of clothing are in your closet; how many pots, pans and utensils are in your kitchen; or how many tools are lying around your garage.
“The thought of listing all your contents can seem overwhelming, but once you work out the value of your contents, you’ll be glad you did it,” says Hayes. “The final amount is usually a lot more than people think.”
To avoid underinsurance, keep your home inventory and insurance up to date. Check your insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement for any coverage limits of specific items (such as watches and jewellery) on your home or contents insurance policy, and chat to your insurer if you need a higher coverage limit.