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Calculating the value of possessions for renter's insurance

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Has anyone ever calculated the value of their possessions for renters insurance? They tried to tell me the average person owns $20,000 but I just can't imagine that we do. I wanted to make sure though. It sounds like a daunting task! I guess the only way is to inventory everything and decide what it would cost to buy a new one? Any tips or advice would be appreciated!

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

This task really makes me realize we have a lot I wouldn't bother to replace if there was a fire. I also think there is way way too much if it's this hard to calculate a value!

post #3 of 10

Well, from what we know about it, the cost of insurance doesn't vary much based on the value you claim.  So for us, we don't have a ton of stuff and it is almost all secondhand BUT if we had to replace it all, our agent told us to figure the cost for BRAND NEW items.  So, wardrobes for 4 people, furniture, kitchen items, etc would all cost A LOT of money.  Sure, people would probably donate items to us in case of emergency if all of our stuff was destroyed, but I think we'd likely just end up going out and buying all new because it takes so long to scour for nice items on craigslist or secondhand.  We claimed much more than $20,000 when we figured it all out.  It still only cost a few bucks a month for renter's insurance.  Since there wasn't a huge cost difference, we figure it's better to be insured for MORE than less. 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Our insurance also does the value of new opposed to the depreciated value. So far it's looking like it would cost about 10k to replace everything new.  And you're right, it's better to be over insured! Our 2 computers were a huge chunk of that (almost half), but they are the most important thing we own since they are our source of income.

 

Some of the default values on their calculator were cracking me up. They assume everyone has about 6,000 in TV, stereo equipment, dvds, etc. We only own a small binder of dvds, and about half of them are burned dvds- so I don't think it would cost more than a couple hundred dollars to replace. And actually if we had a fire or something.. I doubt I would want to replace them. Which makes me think I should sell/get rid of these.

 

They also had $2,500 in jewelry and watches as an average. lol! I think I would feel so guilty if I had that much in jewelry, when other  people are starving. I have gotten our jewelry down to about 6 pieces and none are precious metals or stones.

 

They also had calculated 1,000 in firearms.. none in our house. Also I think about $5,000 was the default for appliances. We rent so the only appliances are I guess the blender? Does a crockpot count? so maybe $100? lol

 

So part of me felt good knowing we have less than what they consider average, but part of me realized we still have way too much if I wouldn't bother replacing a lot of it if there was a fire.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think we are going to go with 20k just to be safe, plus extra coverage for the work computer.

post #6 of 10

That's an interesting way to look at my stuff.  Would I replace it if I lost it? Hmmmm.  I might have more stuff to declutter.

post #7 of 10

I came to be a minimalist after a fire in which we lost everything.  Err on the side of caution, please.  We are a family of 5 and live in less than 1000 square feet - so not a lot of space to clutter.  But even if you don't have much clothing, pots, pans, towels, etc, it really does add up.  Especially when you think about replacement value, not depreciated value or what you may have paid for it.  I haven't paid more than $5 for a pair of jeans in the last 10 years.  But, when all you own is the jeans on your butt, you can't scrounge the thrift stores and get some in your size.  You head down to your big box store and ante up $20 or more per pair.  And who the heck knew I had 10 pairs of underwear until someone from the insurance company went through all my stuff and counted it.

 

Our inventory hit 26 pages, single spaced and over $80,000.  We still only have one TV.....

post #8 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

I came to be a minimalist after a fire in which we lost everything.  Err on the side of caution, please.  We are a family of 5 and live in less than 1000 square feet - so not a lot of space to clutter.  But even if you don't have much clothing, pots, pans, towels, etc, it really does add up.  Especially when you think about replacement value, not depreciated value or what you may have paid for it.  I haven't paid more than $5 for a pair of jeans in the last 10 years.  But, when all you own is the jeans on your butt, you can't scrounge the thrift stores and get some in your size.  You head down to your big box store and ante up $20 or more per pair.  And who the heck knew I had 10 pairs of underwear until someone from the insurance company went through all my stuff and counted it.

 

Our inventory hit 26 pages, single spaced and over $80,000.  We still only have one TV.....


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post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbk21 View Post

Well, from what we know about it, the cost of insurance doesn't vary much based on the value you claim.  So for us, we don't have a ton of stuff and it is almost all secondhand BUT if we had to replace it all, our agent told us to figure the cost for BRAND NEW items.  So, wardrobes for 4 people, furniture, kitchen items, etc would all cost A LOT of money.  Sure, people would probably donate items to us in case of emergency if all of our stuff was destroyed, but I think we'd likely just end up going out and buying all new because it takes so long to scour for nice items on craigslist or secondhand.  We claimed much more than $20,000 when we figured it all out.  It still only cost a few bucks a month for renter's insurance.  Since there wasn't a huge cost difference, we figure it's better to be insured for MORE than less. 


 

What jbk21 and 34me said. I had an apartment fire several years ago that resulted in a great deal of water damage and many ruined possessions. Most of what we had furniture wise was second hand and wasn't worth much....but when you have to replace it all at once, suddenly the situation seems much different. Our insurance also paid to replace a big stack of library books worth several hundred dollars that were damaged from the sprinklers and several possessions I was borrowing from my grandparents at the time, as well as the Christmas gifts destroyed under the tree. 

 

Since our fire we have increased our renters insurance, had several possessions appraised, and have made an inventory of everything we own. It's a good thing to have not only for insurance purposes but also moving as well. I don't believe you can go wrong with carrying a nice amount of insurance, even if you won't replace everything. You just never know what can happen and if that something does happen, you will be thankful for going to the cost and trouble of insurance and household inventories. 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I really appreciate all your input, it really helped me make a decision.

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