I like to think I’m not materialistic. Most things I have are replaceable and I’m not sentimental about objects. I’m fanatically anti-clutter and love a charity collection bag popping through the letterbox: another excuse to get rid of stuff. But then there are things I really would miss.
Insurer Admiral has surveyed what most of us would save in a fire and, totally unsurprisingly, family photo albums come first. I’ve got photos of my great grandmother and her many children dating from the beginning of the 20th century I’d hate to lose if the house burnt down. But I don’t actually look at them much: a shame, as you can see from the accompanying shot of my grandparents' wedding they are stylistically amusing, if nothing else. I do have great grandma’s sampler, made when she was a child in Thomas Coram’s home for foundlings in Bloomsbury and dating back to 1887, and it’s a beautiful thing to look at on the wall. But it’s not really worth much to anyone outside the family.
The Admiral survey says that 68% of those with home insurance wouldn’t save their most expensive possession in an emergency, which I guess reflects my thoughts. After photos, laptops/tablets were the next most likely to be saved followed by wedding or engagement jewellery, then mobile phones. I’m surprised no-one said documents: I’d make a serious effort to save all my important paperwork including our passports, not because they are that valuable but because they are a pain to replace. It’s all very well them being covered by home insurance but the hassle factor of getting new birth certificates etc is high.
While I think I’ve got few actually valuable items, I am probably under-insured. The Admiral report says that 36% of those surveyed haven’t valued their home contents: I certainly haven’t. Even just replacing my (emphatically non-designer) clothes would cost a huge amount – even my usual combo of jeans/jumper/boots comes to around £200. Then there’s the laptop and desktop as well as four digital radios, a coffee machine and other appliances – as well as all the furniture and soft furnishings. I think I’m covered for only £15,000 on my home insurance: when it comes up for renewal, I might have to increase that a bit. Being underinsured on contents isn’t a good idea: you risk not having any claim met in full. Perhaps it’s time for me to stop being such an old hippy and start thinking about the monetary value of possessions?
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