- Home/Property Insurance

Contents Insurance

Contents insurance is included in standard homeowners’, condominium owners’ and tenants’ policies. It covers most personal possessions such as furniture, clothing, shoes, electronics, appliances, toys and computer equipment. Policy holders are covered for loss or damage of items due to theft, vandalism, fire, smoke and lightning, wind, damage caused by aircraft and vehicles, falling objects, malfunction of household systems and equipment such as plumbing, furnaces or air conditioning. To be covered for flooding or earthquakes you will need to take out additional coverage for these events.

Contents insurance generally provides some coverage for items that are temporarily out of the house, but you may also want to consider additional floater policies to provide further protection to items such as golf clubs, camera equipment and bicycles. Contents insurance limits the amount of coverage per item, so you should consider taking out additional coverage through endorsements for particularly valuable items, such as jewellery, collectibles, fine art, antiques, camera equipment and electronics.

If your possessions are destroyed in a fire or other disaster, the insurance company will require you to provide documentation of your losses. The more proof you have, the easier it is to establish your claim. It is a good idea to make an inventory of your possessions, room by room, including the manufacturer, brand name, serial number, date and place of purchase, and update this inventory regularly. You can make a video of the inside of your home and take pictures of open drawers, open closets and special items. Keep receipts, appraisals and warranty cards. Keep the inventory, home contents video and photographs off-site. Do not throw away badly damaged items until an adjuster has seen them.

Be aware that different insurance policies will reimburse different types of items in varying ways. “Extended replacement coverage” will pay for items according to what they cost today, although some items may still be subject to depreciation. “Actual cash value” will cover you for the cost of replacement minus depreciation.

Premiums and coverage will vary between different insurance companies. You can usually lower your premiums by agreeing to higher deductibles. Other ways you may be able to lower your premiums are by installing an alarm system, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems and deadbolt locks.

When choosing contents insurance as part of your homeowners’ or tenants’ policy, make sure that the coverage is adequate for your needs, your special items are specifically scheduled and that you are satisfied with the type of coverage, whether extended replacement or actual cash value.