Cost of Replacing Valuables
Your treasured personal possessions are a big part of what makes your house a home, so it makes sense to look after them. Contents Insurance is an important part of that, because it covers you if your household items are damaged, stolen or accidentally broken. You can buy Contents Insurance separately to your Home Insurance, but combining the two into a single Home and Insurance policy can often save you money – especially if you buy online.
To get the Contents cover that's right for your circumstances, you need to have a good idea of the total value of what's in your house - whitegoods, appliances, furniture, electronics, jewellery, art work, clothing and other personal belongings. It's easy to underestimate this, and many homeowners do. As of 2010, the average value of household contents in Australia was $61,0001.
Know your replacement costs
What happens if your precious possessions are damaged by fire or a severe storm, or stolen during a break-in? How much would you be out of pocket if they were uninsured and you had to replace them? Knowing their replacement value helps you when you're shopping for suitable Contents Insurance. If you're not too sure what it might cost to replace your household possessions, look at some Replacement Value Calculators to get a better idea.
If you ever have to make a claim for lost, stolen or damaged items, there's a good chance you'll need to show proof of possession (and value). That's why it's always sensible to hang onto your purchase receipts, and take photographs of the items in your home. Keep copies of these records on file somewhere outside the home, so they won't be destroyed in the event of a fire or other disaster.
Check your policy carefully
Contents Insurance policies (and their terms and conditions) can vary greatly from one insurer to the next, so make sure you understand what you're getting for your money. Check both the standard Policy Benefits and also see what's available in the Optional Benefits department. Read the Product Disclosure Statement so you're fully aware of the limitations and exemptions that apply to different aspects of your cover. Make as many Home and Contents Insurance Comparisons as you feel you need in order to make an informed decision about choosing the Contents Insurance that suits you best. Look for things like a Money back Guarantee, a 24-hour Claims Hotline and a quick and easy online quote system.
Burglary in Australia
It's a horrible feeling to come home from work and find your home ransacked, and valuable items missing. Home theft is more than just a crime; it's a violation of the sanctity and security of your living space - and it can seriously affect your feelings of personal safety, sometimes even years after the event2. In Australia, burglary is a problem that can't be ignored. The most popular targets for thieves are cash, laptops, jewellery, cameras, mobile phones, purses and wallets, identification documents (including credit cards), TVs, video gaming equipment, watches and power tools3. Many thefts are an opportunist response to an empty-looking house with an open window or unlocked door – and scarily, some even occur while the homeowner is still inside and unaware of the intruder.
Reduce your risk of home theft
A number of steps can be taken to reduce the risk of a break-in and theft of your belongings:
- Put your car in the garage rather than parking it on the street to make it harder for car thieves to steal it
- Lock your fence gates, windows and doors – including the door to your shed. A thief with free access to your shed can find just the right tool to assist them in breaking into your home.
- Cure yourself of the habit of leaving a spare key hidden somewhere outside ‘where nobody would ever find it'. Thieves know all about keys hidden under mats, perched on sills, positioned behind garden gnomes, stuffed beneath potted plants and slipped under decorative rocks.
- It's tempting to tell people on social media about the huge flat-screen TV or expensive camera you just bought, but resist the urge. Don't spread the word about your upcoming holiday plans, either - or you might just return to a burgled house.
- Thieves love hiding places, so trim all that out-of-control foliage in your garden – especially near your home's windows.
- Draw the blinds on windows that are viewable to the public, and try to keep valuable items like laptops away from any windows visible from the street.
- Dogs, timed (or motion-activated) lights, video surveillance and security systems are other options to consider as thief deterrents.
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