A recent survey by Direct Line Insurance has found that millions of UK homeowners in the UK are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk by not taking out suitable home contents insurance cover and in many cases not bothering to take out any contents insurance cover at all. approximately 25% of homeowners are estimated to have underestimated the value of all of their possessions in their home and as a result now find themselves under insured. The survey titled ‘The Hidden Value of British Homes’ shows £212.9bn worth of possessions in UK homes are at risk. The home insurance provider estimates that almost seven million households remain underinsured.
One of the biggest problems is that homeowners accidentally underestimate the true value of their contents and possessions when taking out a home insurance policy for the first time or at renewal time. It found that roughly a quarter of people who chose home contents insurance were actually under insured by £20,000. This represents an astonishing £138.5bn of risk. It is possible people deliberately took out less contents insurance cover in order to reduce their premium. However the more likely scenario is that homeowners are simply unaware of the true value of their own possessions. They don’t fully understand the actual cost of replacing all of the contents within their own home in the event of a fire or flood. The survey also found that 20% of respondents had no insurance projection for their home contents at all!
The survey also indicated that almost 40% of homeowners had failed to readjust their level of existing contents insurance following the acquisition of new possessions that had been recently inherited. Similarly the survey found that a small portion of policyholders didn’t even understand that they should increase the level of contents insurance they already have, (following the acquisition of new contents). Others simply admitted to not having found the time to ring the insurance company to make the necessary change.
The survey indicates a general apathy by the British public to minimising avoidable risks. It also highlights the fact that as homeowners acquire more and more possessions over time, (such as expensive flat screen TVs, watches, new sofas etc) that these possessions should also be registered with their insurance company and the value of their contents insurance cover increased. Kris Coombes, valuer at Direct Line, said: “It is worrying to see the level of under-insurance in British homes. People are putting treasured possessions at risk… Day to day items, furniture and clothes can really add up, let alone an expensive watch. In addition, items households may have invested in, or inherited heirlooms, can push the contents limit over the amount covered for on their policy… Householders should think about the replacement value of their home’s contents, room by room and item by item, the total will really mount up – and it might be a shock to realise how under-insured homes are”.
Most home owners don’t think about the value of all of their contents were requested and home insurance quote. when being asked to value their own possessions most people think of precious jewellery, their ipod, laptop, TV and other large electrical equipment. The ‘less glamorous’ items which would still need replacing in the event of a major disaster include carpets, curtains, white goods, sofas, wardrobes and other fittings. According to Direct Line, the average British household contains £4,000 worth of furniture, as well as £3,000 worth of electrical items, £2,000 worth of white goods, £1,800 worth of jewellery and almost worth £1,000 of curtains. A further £1,200 worth of items is found in the garage and garden.