Building Contents Insurance: Make That List

Building Contents Insurance: Make That List
  • Opening Intro -

    When shopping for homeowners insurance you will insure the value of your home in addition to what is inside.

    The "inside" represents your building content or the personal items you bought including furniture, computer equipment, clothing, televisions and gadgets.


Compiling a record of what you own is important as that information can come in very handy should you ever need to file a claim with your insurer.

Get Started

With pen and pad in hand, move from room to room and write down everything you own. Be relentless: include large and small pieces of furniture, a prized rug, books, CDs, lamps, chairs and more. Be descriptive!

For instance, instead of writing, “wing chair” you might describe it as a “Queen Anne Wing Chair.” Do the same with your other furniture as those details can make a difference when your claim is settled.

Assemble Your Receipts

You knew there was a reason why you saved your receipts, right? Well, that information can come in handy especially if you are seeking better compensation for certain items.

Let’s go back to the Queen Anne Wing Chair. Your insurer may think that it is worth no more than $350 new, but you have proof that you spent $1,200 on this custom piece. You won’t recoup your entire loss, but you will get back far more because you have the receipt to back up your claim. Do this with everything that you own, if possible.

What’s My Line?

How much is your building contents worth? You can know this by assigning a fair market value to every item on your list. That information is not always easy to obtain and can be quite subjective.

Yet, market value can be determined by looking up prices on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon and other websites. You probably will not be able to nail down an exact value, but you may come quite close. Put that number down and do the same for the rest. When you tally everything up, you will want to revisit your insurance policy to see if you have sufficient coverage. If not, it is time for an insurance policy upgrade!

Special Collections

We have looked at those items found in every home, but what about that special silverware collection you inherited from your Great Aunt Susan? Maybe the stamp collection you assembled 40 years ago as a child has value too.

Assigning true market value for special collections can be tricky. This is where a professional appraisal comes in, an individual who will look over what you have and assign a value in writing. For a fee, of course. That valuation is worth it as it will allow you to claim what an item is really worth instead of settling on an amount that comes in far lower.

Insurance Considerations

Keep record of your home content with your other important papers. A fireproof strong box will do or a safe deposit box at your bank might also be used. Along with your detailed information, photographs will back up your claims. For more expensive items, an appraisal may be necessary.

See Also — Flood Damage and Home Repairs



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Categories: Insurance

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".