Home Content Insurance
Your best bet if you really want to know how much home content insurance to buy is to 'inventory' each room. This can be a lot of work if you do it in detail - but you will be incredibly surprised! Also, it's invaluable to have that inventory for later, if you ever have to put in a claim.
But back to buying: How do you know how much home content insurance to buy? Here's a quick way to estimate: If you have a family of 4, a 'middle class' income, with two adults and two kids of school age, you should be assuming at least $200,000 for your personal belongings. That's an average of $50,000 per person.
Here's a personal war story: In 1978, our home burned to the ground. We lost everything. The author was 17. So, while I had some disposable income I was by no means well-to-do and neither were my parents. We were regular, middle class folk. When my Mother and I finished the inventory of my room (based on memory - which, post trauma is not accurate), the contents added up to $30,000. That was in 1978. So, $50,000 per person today is potentially a low estimate, depending on your family income. Consider it a minimum.
When you do a home inventory please take note of any extremely valuable jewellery or other goods. You will often need a special "floater" or "endorsement" for jewellery, antiques, collectibles and such. Otherwise, your policy will likely limit the amount that you will be reimbursed if these items are stolen or damaged.
Not willing to write it all down? Okay, do a rough estimate for purposes of buying home insurance and then walk through the house and videotape each room in detail. This is not for cinematic value, but so that you know what's in your house - so film everything! Inside closets - the works. Just be sure that the tape is stored securely - and preferably away from your home! A safety deposit box at a bank is best if you can afford it. But even at a friend's or relative's house in a water proof / fire proof container of some kind will give you some added protection. If you ever have to go through the claims process this videotape will provide you with some valuable documentation of your loss.
Read more general information about Home Insurance Policy, Condo Insurance and Renters Insurance. Read specifics about Structural Home Insurance, Home Content Insurance, Home liability insurance, Additional Liability Coverage, Title Insurance, Flood and Earthquake Insurance, and Living Expenses Home Insurance. Don't miss the sections about Home Insurance Savings, Types of Home Insurance Policies, What Home Insurance Covers and Level of Home Insurance for definite information you should know before you buy.