Insuring your wardrobe

Compare home insurance to cover your clothes

By Anita Shargall Wednesday 14 February 2018

You might be surprised at just how much your clothes are worth, so don't forget to factor them in on your home insurance.

Girls trying on dresses

Have you ever thought properly about the value of your clothes? The average person can easily own a few thousands of pounds' worth of clothing almost without realising it – and the figure could be even higher still for those who love to shop. Rather worryingly, many people have no idea about the value of their wardrobe, and could be seriously under-valuing the real cost of replacing everything stored within it, including shoes, suits, coats, accessories and handbags.

Is my wardrobe already insured?

If you don’t know how much your home contents are insured for, you run the risk of being under-insured. Some home insurance policies simply don’t cover the cost of clothes, for example.

And if your clothes are insured under your home contents policy, the cover might not be on a new-for-old basis. This means that, if your clothes were damaged by a burst water pipe, for example, there would probably be a deduction for wear and tear – significantly reducing the value of any claim.

By contrast, bags are usually classed as “contents” rather than “clothing”, so they will usually be replaced on a new-for-old basis.

Should I get wardrobe insurance?

You might not think your clothes are worth much, or perhaps you don’t think it’s worth getting wardrobe insurance. But if your clothes, shoes and bags were damaged in a fire, a flood or some other unexpected event, being uninsured for these items means you’d have to pay out of pocket to replace them. Fire especially can be damaging to clothes as it can be affected by smoke damage even if not directly singed.

Calculating the cost of your clothes collection

If you’re unsure on whether or not you should get wardrobe insurance, calculating the cost of it could help you decide. You might be shocked at the total value and realise it’s worth getting cover after all.

To calculate the cost of your wardrobe you need to…

The average wardrobe is likely to contain a few thousand pounds' worth of clothing and footwear, and most home insurance policies will offer cover this within contents cover. However, there will be a limit on the cover offered, so calculating the cost of your wardrobe will give you a clear answer on whether you need additional protection.

And when it comes to actually getting wardrobe cover, it's important to give an accurate figure to your home insurer so you can make sure you get the right level of cover for all of your prized possessions. Remember to shop around and compare home insurance to get the best deal.

Things to consider

Pay particular attention to expensive designer goods, such as shoes and handbags, as it's easy to overlook the value of items such as these.

Don’t forget about gifts – just because you didn’t pay for certain items doesn’t mean they aren’t worth money. You might want to look online to source the value of particular things.

When arranging cover for your clothes and shoes, it is vital to spend a little time going through all the items in your wardrobe, including accessories. By systematically working through all of your outfits and footwear and totting up the value, this will ensure the level of clothes cover offered by your policy provides what you need to keep your belongings well protected.

High-value items

Certain items, such as designer goods or vintage pieces, may have a price tag of several thousand pounds, and may need to be insured separately. The key here is to declare any high-value items, such as a costly fur or leather coat, to your home insurer as the clothes cover limit for an individual item may stand at around £1,500. This means that any items exceeding this limit will need to be listed individually on your policy.

Alternatively, if you have a particularly valuable wardrobe, you may want to consider taking out a high net worth insurance policy from a specialist stand-alone insurer for your high-value pieces.

What you need to know when making a claim

We all live in hope that the unimaginable won't happen, but if it does and your clothes and shoes get damaged by fire, flood or some other unexpected event, you will need to make a claim.

When it comes to making a claim on your wardrobe insurance, it will be useful to have the receipts for any high-value items. It would also be beneficial to have photographs of your possessions so you have evidence of what you owned to show the insurer following a loss. This will make the claims process a lot easier.

If you don’t have either of these things, you should make a list of all the items in your wardrobe, as this could help speed the claims process along. It might make sense to do this at the time of buying your insurance, when it’s at the forefront of your mind. These measures will help make a stressful situation as quick, and as free of additional stress, as possible.

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