When taking out home contents insurance, you might take the time to assess your valuables and work out how much it would cost to replace them all. It can be quite a surprise that all the items in our wardrobe alone could be more valuable than anything else in the home
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If you do not have home contents insurance in place then your electronic items, jewellery and other valuables, as well as potentially thousands of pounds’ worth of clothes are not protected if the worst happened to them. Your wardrobe might be the most valuable possession in your home because the cost of replacing all of the items – especially if you own a lot of shoes – could be really expensive.
On the other hand, quite worryingly, if you do have home contents insurance in place, it might not provide you with cover on your wardrobe so if any of your items were stolen from your home or were destroyed in a fire or flood, you might not be able to claim money to replace them.
When buying home insurance check that your clothes will be insured on the policy, and ideally look to get new for old cover as opposed to paying for indemnity cover. Some new for old cover policies will exclude clothing from the list of items you can make a claim on, and this is because insurers often see clothing as having a shorter life span than your typically insured items like sofas, televisions and jewellery. So, again, double check that the cover includes clothing items.
If you get indemnity cover then it’s likely that your clothes will be insured, but you will merely be compensated for the damage. So your older items will have depreciated in value and thus you will only get a small amount back compared to what you paid for them.
If you decide to get home insurance that does not cover items in your wardrobe then first calculate the value of your clothes and assess how much it would cost you to replace it yourself. If you think you will be comfortable with that then paying slightly extra on your home insurance to have your clothes protected may not feel like a priority.
Insurance for clothes: what is covered?
Not all clothes come under the same category when it comes to insurance, and they do not all have the same value, so therefore insurers will take different views on certain items in your wardrobe.
It’s important to determine the cost of all your items before taking out insurance because this will let you know how much cover you will need and give you clues as to how much you should be willing to pay on your monthly premiums and excess.
Your average home contents insurance policy might cover all of your possessions, with a limit on the value of single articles which is usually somewhere between £500 and £1,500. However, you might have clothing that costs considerably more and will therefore need to be listed separately (see ‘insuring high value clothes’ below).
As discussed previously, clothing is usually insured on an indemnity cover basis, so even if all of your items fall under the limit of the cover you will not necessarily receive the full amount to replace them – in fact it will be highly unlikely that you do.
For example, if your clothes are damaged in a flood or fire at home, the insurance company would assess the claim by looking at how old the clothes were. They would make a deduction on your payout based on the natural wear and tear of the clothes, so the money you get will not be enough to replace it on a like for like basis, let alone on a new for old basis.
If you really want to insure your clothes, then you should consider getting new for old cover. Not many insurers will provide new for old cover on clothes but compare the insurance market using our free online tools and you could find the right level of home insurance for you.
Clothes are considered to have a naturally short life span so insurers do not feel comfortable giving you enough money to get a brand new pair of jeans when the ones that got damaged were five years old.
However, some items in your wardrobe will almost certainly be covered under new for old policies such as bags. The insurer will class them as contents, rather than clothing, but if they are valued higher than the insurance is prepared to cover you for then you will need to list it separately if you still want it insured.
Either way, it’s important you make a list of all the items in your wardrobe and how much they cost to find the best home insurance for you.
Insuring high value clothes
Once you have added up the value of all your clothes, you might find that there are a couple of items that are bringing up the entire value beyond what the insurer can cover. This could be an expensive pair of shoes or leather jacket, or a dress or suit for special occasions.
If your insurance policy will cover you only on items valued up to, say, £1,000 and you have a dress worth £2,000 you should list this separately. You would have to pay a little extra on top of your premiums to get this insured and it will have its own excess fee that you would need to pay in the event you make a claim.
Otherwise, you could take out specialist home insurance for high value items. This is usually aimed at high net worth individuals so the insurance policy is tailored to people with several expensive items. As you might expect, the premiums are likely to be much more expensive than your standard home contents insurance policy.
Before insuring any high value items, decide what the risk is and if you could afford to replace it yourself if it was damaged. If not, then it will probably be worth the extra peace of mind to have it covered by insurance.
Make an insurance claim on clothes
Once you have bought home insurance and you now know that your clothes and wardrobe are insured, take photos of all of your items so that you have a record of what they looked like in good condition.
Should these clothes one day get damaged or stolen, you can show the insurer pictures of the items, which might reduce the chance of the insurer deducting too much off the value due to natural wear and tear.
If you can, try to keep the receipts of any new items you buy so you also have a reference to provide the insurer.