22 April 2020

Reviewing Your Home Insurance Cover - Part 1: Your wardrobe

By Sam Purssey
If you’re not a key worker, then it’s more than likely you’re spending all your time at home.

Some of us may still be working, some may be trying to find ways to entertain the children, and some may be on furlough trying to find tasks to keep us occupied.  Whilst confined to your four walls, it’s a perfect opportunity to make sure your insurance cover is adequate.

An element of our cover that is often forgotten about and can ultimately be the most valuable in our homes, is what lies within our wardrobes. Gone are the days when clothing was a necessity; the fashion industry is booming, and clothes are more of a luxury now.

If you were to buy a new item of jewellery for £1,000 you would add this to your insurance policy straight away.  What if you just splashed out on a new designer coat? Or a new pair of shoes?  Perhaps you’ve bought a lovely new bag, hat or a pair of trainers and decided you may start collecting them. Over time this collection will accumulate and, before you know it, you’re underinsured.

Clothing and shoes are becoming collectors’ items and, depending on the label, they may even be going up in value. If you have several items of designer clothing or vintage clothing/pieces, these could have price tags in the thousands and a standard home insurance policy may no longer be suitable.

Here are 8 things to think about when calculating the total cost of your clothing and reviewing your insurance:

Why do I need to insure my clothing?

Your clothes may be damaged by fire, flood, escape of water, smoke damage, accidental damage or theft.  Burglars are becoming more aware of the value of clothes and collectors’ items and some may specifically target items in your wardrobe. If you need to make a claim, when your insurance company sends you the final settlement you want to make sure that you’re happy this will be enough to replace everything.

What section of my policy do clothes fall under?

Your clothing generally falls under the ‘Contents’ section of your policy.  You should make sure that your total contents sum insured is adequate to cover everything in your home including what is in your wardrobes or your dressing room, even luggage in your loft.  If you are not sure, please contact us.

A better way of insuring collections

If you have a collection of hats, shoes or handbags that are not worn or used, please contact us as cover may be best suited under the ‘Fine Art’ section of the policy.

What items should I consider when I am calculating my clothing?

Please remember to include clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories, ties, hats, underwear, sports clothing (like golf wear and ski apparel), swimsuits and other holiday clothes, sunglasses, glasses, luggage and even make-up and skin care products.  Don’t forgot about items that have been gifted to you.  It’s important to review your cover around birthdays, special occasions or the holidays.

What cover should my policy have for my clothing?

Your policy should cover you ‘New for Old’. This means that, in the event of a claim, you are covered for the new replacement value of your clothing. It’s important to keep up to date with the replacement costs, not just what you paid for them at the time. Additionally, depending on what type of policy you have, you may have a limit on the value of a single item. This can sometimes start from £500 and therefore may not be adequate for special occasion dresses or suits.

Make sure you check with your partner and think about your children

A new TV may be chosen together, but more often than not, our other halves have no idea of the cost of the new handbag or suit we just bought.  If you are the one who generally deals with arranging insurance cover, make sure to talk to your other half about the value of the items in their wardrobe and don’t forget to include your children’s clothing as well. Our Aston Lark Client Director recently reviewed her husband’s wardrobe and was shocked to find this well exceeded £10,000 – she wasn’t aware how much he was spending on his golf clothes! This meant they had been dangerously underinsured. It’s easily done.

What is the average cost of clothing and what should I be insuring my clothes for?

There is no set amount as it depends on the individual. Think about where you shop, what you buy or collect, and how often. We recommend reviewing your wardrobe and making a list of any of the more expensive items and allow for your everyday clothes.  We all hope the unimaginable won’t happen, but if it does, having a list and also taking photographs of your wardrobe will help speed the claims process along, and will not leave you disappointed in the event of a claim.

Are my clothes covered while I’m on holiday?

Unless you have a ‘Worldwide All Risks’ policy, then no.  You may have cover under your Travel insurance policy, but this is generally very limited and may not be adequate if you are taking some of your special occasion clothes or an expensive handbag. Please contact us to discuss how to insure your clothing when going on holiday.


Other articles in this series

Part 2: Your garden

Part 3: Your attic & garage

Part 4: Your fitness & gym equipment

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