Monday, 4 February 2013

Insuring valuables within your home

It is sometimes the case that some of our most sentimental items are also some of the most costly to replace—especially items like pieces of family heirloom furniture. When such items come into our possession, our next thought is rarely of their loss or damage; we cherish those items, but rarely think of the necessity of protecting them. Certainly, if such a piece has been stolen, it may be impossible to replace, although some compensation may at least set back the effects of the loss for you. However, if such a piece has sustained damage within your home owing to a disaster such as a fire, having coverage for it will facilitate the process of restoring and repairing it. Here is a basic guideline of steps you can take to cover such valuables:

Invest in contents insurance – Not all of your possessions are automatically covered under your homeowner's insurance policy. It is key for you to determine which of your belongings are and are not covered by basic home insurance. This will both prevent you from overspending on coverage (ie buying contents insurance for items that don't require it), and will alert you to vulnerable items that are not covered. Even if you are not prepared to make an investment in contents insurance right away, you should meet with your insurance provider in order to determine what's covered and what's not. This way, if and when theft or damage does occur, you don't receive insult upon injury when you try to claim an uncovered cost.

Keep an inventory – There are several means for keeping an inventory. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your own organizational strategies and pick the method that you are most likely to keep track of and update regularly. For example, you may keep hard copy record of your items. Alternatively, you may store such data electronically on your computer. You may even choose to use a web-based application for cataloging this information. However you choose to do it, be sure you have backups; multiple means of storing the information (ie electronic and hard copies), as well as multiple locations (ie a copy with you in your own home, and a copy with a friend or relative who does not live with you) will minimize the chances of losing that data.

Use multimedia – The more detailed your catalog of items, the more likely you are to make a quick and complete recovery of the value of whatever has been lost or stolen. Recording details about these items in writing is one way to do this. However, an even easier method for achieving the same results is to use a camera. You can either take photographs that you later accompany with notes, or you can use a video camera—this has the added advantage of allowing you to speak your “notes” while the object is being filmed, making for a speedy entry. It also poses the advantage of making an easier job of taking a full three dimensional scan of the item, which will ensure that its visual details are preserved.

File your receipts – One of the easiest record to keep of the value of an item is in the receipt that outlines its original purchase. Receipts are good records because they are hard to dispute: you are not guessing at the items value, rather, it has already been determined by an outside source.

Appraise old items – Items that have been in your possession for several years, or even items that have been in your family for several generations, will not be adequately assessed using original sales receipts because their value will have appreciated significantly from their original time of purchase to the present. Such items, especially things like jewelry and antiques, would benefit most from the assessment of a qualified appraiser. If you are unsure of where to locate an appraiser, you can visit  
For items that improve in value with age, make sure to have current appraisals from certified appraisers. Insurance brokers will base their claim payouts on certified appraisals that you provide. If they are out of date, it may be difficult to adjust for the increased value. To find an appraiser near you, visit to help you locate one anywhere in Canada.