Home is where the heart is. Make sure it stays that way.

Home is where the heart is. Make sure it stays that way.

Keeping your home a happy one also means having proper and adequate insurance. This can be divided into two areas of cover. Building insurance and home contents insurance.

Building Insurance covers your home from structural damage caused by fire, storms and a burst geyser, which is mandatory to have if you’ve got a home loan. Yet surprisingly, many homeowners take building insurance for granted and fail to update the policy to make sure their home is insured for replacement value at current costs.

So you insure your house for its market value, but you also need to remember that replacement costs will differ according to things like finishes, design and the location. To make sure your property is adequately covered, it’s advisable to enlist an independent property valuation expert who will take into account all the variables relating to your property.

It’s also important to note that building insurance generally does not cover any damage caused by a lack of maintenance or neglect. Examples include blocked drains, damp, a roof or a wall collapse. However, if the roof or a wall is damaged in a ‘definable event’ such as a storm, you should be able to claim, as is the case with a sudden leak caused by a storm. Also notify your insurer immediately, or your claim could be rejected if left for too long.

Home Contents Insurance covers all the possessions in your home, such as furniture and appliances, which will typically be insured against theft, loss, damage, fire and flooding. Fixed items like carpets and taps aren’t generally covered.

When calculating the amount to insure your home contents, always use replacement values and not market values as this could result in a shortfall. Don’t assume that if you have a policy you’re fully covered. If the items you claim for are worth more than what you insured them for at the time of a claim, your insurer will only pay a part of the claim, less the excess. Also, don’t spend money insuring last year’s tech. Remove items like cell phones and laptops in particular, which tend to lose value quickly.

To keep your home a place of happiness, make sure you review both your building insurance policy and your home contents policy every six months to offset the risk of being either under- or over-insured.