How to Make Sure Your Clothes are Insured

Imagine you have no clothes…

OK, I’ll put that another way. Imagine you have no clothes…apart from the ones you are wearing! That is, no clothes, no shoes and even no handbags or manbags. You have to go out today and buy a complete new wardrobe for you and your family.

How much you you have to spend on replacing everything – and how would you afford it?

For some, it won’t be just a question for the imagination. A serious fire or flood are just two incidents that could make such a question reality.

Most peoples wardrobe is something that gradually evolves over time. Quite often you won’t give a second thought to how much you have spent on clothes and accessories over a number of years. If you have children, it might be more of a “front of the mind” thought as the cost of shoes and other “must haves” are usually bought more frequently.

If you have a job that has a certain dress code, you may have items that are just for work. If you are suddenly without these, you still have to go to work and it might raise a few eyebrows in the office if you turn up in your star wars onesie explaining that its all you have until payday. Assuming you are insured, it may take a little while for even an emergency interim payment to come through, so it may be the credit card as the only immediate option.

You are probably not insured for the replacement cost of your clothes and shoes

Assuming you are insured, do you know how your insurance company will settle a claim for clothes? Do you know how much you should insure your clothes and shoes for? While I am not stopping you from immediately going through your drawers with a fine tooth comb and listing every last sock and belt, it probably would be a bit time consuming and not that productive. However, it shouldn’t take to long to just quickly go through the main items and quickly list a replacement cost and then total it up. You may be surprised at the result, a total of a few thousand pounds can quickly be reached. If you have designer clothes then the total can get much higher. If you do a sport or a leisure activity, the average cost of clothes required for it are usually much higher than your everyday clobber.

Once you have a figure, you can then turn your attention to just how your insurance company treats clothes and shoes in the event of a claim. Almost always they will be covered, but, even if you have a “New for Old” policy, they will be often only covered for their “second hand” value. This means you will get either the cost of replacement LESS AN AMOUNT FOR WEAR AND TEAR or an estimated second hand cost. To make this clearer, here’s a simple exercise for you to do right now. Go to your wardrobe and pick out an item of clothing that you feel you spent a fair amount on, preferably something with a known label. Now go on to Ebay and type into the search box the make, style and size of the item you have chosen. Make sure you click the “used” button and you may have to do a bit of digging in order to find the same or similar item. Now look at the price on Ebay and compare it with what you remember paying for it. I’ll bet there is a bit of a difference. A slight quirk is that usually bags are considered as “contents” rather than “clothes” and as such you may find that you will get the full replacement cost in the event of a claim.

So what can you do to make sure you are covered properly?

Firstly, get the figures right. Make sure you know just how much replacing everything would cost. Then talk to your insurance company and tell them what it is you expect from the policy. If it turns out that they are not able to give you the cover you want, then its time to look at the more specialist type policies that are available. A lot of companies will offer a higher degree of cover than that which is available from their standard products if you ask, and there are a number of “High Net Worth” policies which will allow you to have greater degrees of cover, especially if you have designer or vintage clothes or shoes.

One last point. Your claim doesn’t necessarily have to be for a replacement for the item damaged. It may be that the cost of cleaning or repair is a more cost effective option for both you and the insurance company, so before you write anything off completely, check to see if that is a viable option.

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