How to make sure you have the right level of home contents insurance(Image: Getty)

Making sure you have the correct level of home contents insurance is essential. But putting a financial value on

all your worldly goods isn’t an easy task.

One way to do it is to list everything you own, make a note of the price of each item and then tot up the value. But that’s a mammoth task. If you are asked to list everything, concentrate first on the most expensive items you own, and essentials such as clothes, beds, TVs, sofas and white goods.

Most insurers now offer fixed-sum insured cover of, for example, between £30,000 and £50,000. It’s a rough estimate that’s largely based on the number of bedrooms and type of property you own, so you do need to check that the cover provided is sufficient for your needs. And equally, it pays to check that you’re not over-insuring your prized possessions and paying over the odds.

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If you choose a policy that provides fixed-sum insured cover, any particularly valuable items should generally be listed separately. This includes things like artworks and antiques. You should provide a valuation too.

Generally, an insurer will take your word for the overall value of your home contents and only ask for proof of the value (a receipt or certificate of valuation) for particularly valuable items. It varies from insurer to insurer, but high-value items tend to be those with a value more than 30% higher than the sum-insured total.

When buying home contents insurance, among the other things you might want to consider is cover for your personal belongings when they’re taken out of the home. This sort of cover isn’t automatically included, but can be useful when it comes to replacing items that are lost or stolen when you take them away from home with you.

Typically, this includes items such as cameras, ski equipment and golf clubs. You can also buy cover for bikes as an add-on to your policy. You might also want to insure the contents of your garden. Some insurers sell garden furniture and plant cover, but you will need to ask specifically whether this is available.

And don’t forget to consider accidental damage cover. It’s not cheap, but it could come in handy if you have children or are a fan of DIY. If you have pets and want to cover against accidents, check whether pet cover is included though. Some insurers specifically exclude damage caused by unruly pets.

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