How to Estimate the Value of Personal Belongings for Home Insurance

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Home insurers don’t just cover the value of your home; they can also cover the value of your personal property or belongings. The amount covered varies by policy and company, however most companies usually protect your personal belongings for between 40 to 75 percent of your home insurance. For example, if your home is insured for $400,000 and your insurance covers 50% of that for personal property, you would be protected for $200,000 worth of personal belongings. 
While most of the time, the amount covered by the insurance is enough, it’s always a good idea to estimate the actual value of your personal belongings. By doing this, you can determine which coverage percentage is better for you. 

What Counts as Personal Belongings

As a rule of thumb, personal belongings include everything that is not permanently attached to your home. This can include things like:
  • Furniture 
  • Appliances
  • Home Decorations
  • Dishes 
  • Cookware
  • Silverware
  • Linens
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Photographic Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment 
  • Outdoor Equipment
  • Tools 
  • Guns
  • Jewelry
  • Furs 
  • Others

How to Estimate Their Value

The first thing you should know is that this process might take some time. So, try to do this in advance of picking out or renewing an insurance policy so that you can walk into the room with an established knowledge of what your needs are. The more you know, the better that the insurance agent will be able to help you. 
Step 1: Take a picture or video of every room: Trying to remember every single item you own will be near impossible. To get an accurate inventory, you will need to walk into every room of your house and either take a picture or a video. Don’t forget to check places such as closets and drawers; every item counts. 
Step 2: Make it into a list: Now, you will have to convert the digital gallery into a quantifiable list. Take notice of the items that you see in each room and write them down. You can group similar things into a single row so as not to make the list too long. For example, if you have ten pairs of shoes, instead of writing “shoes” ten times, you can have an item column and next to it a quantity column in which you specify the amount. 
Step 3: Research the cost of each item: Chances are the price that you paid for each item is not what they are worth right now. Look for the things you own online and see for how much they’re going for; this is the amount that you will assign to them on your list. If you can’t find the exact same item you own, you can always look for a similar one. Remember that this is an estimate and not an exact inventory.
Step 4: Sum up the costs: The last (and easiest) step is merely adding the costs of every single item on your list. The resulting number will be the estimated value of your personal belongings. 
While this can quickly turn into a long and tiresome project, you can make this easier by breaking it down into smaller pieces. Inventory one room per day instead of trying to tackle this in its entirety. You won’t get burned out this way, and you will have finished before you know it. 
When grouping things for the list, make sure that the items are of similar value. For example, if you’re grouping shoes and most of them are worth $50, but one is worth $1000. Separate the last one into its own category for a more accurate assessment. 

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