Insurance

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If you own your own place, home and contents insurance should be considered to be a mandatory expense - you don't want to be out-of-pocket if you suffer the misfortune of a break-in or an accident such as a fire.

Even if you're just renting, consider taking a contents insurance policy. Contents insurance is good value for money when you work out how much it would cost you to replace all your clothes, CDs, appliances and personal items if they were stolen or destroyed.

What to insure and how much to insure it for

When taking out insurance, work out how much everything you own is worth if you had to replace it and select a level of insurance that will cover you.

Get an insurance policy that provides adequate coverage. If the worst happens and you lose everything, you'll need the money to put your life back together again.

For certain items, including items over a certain value such as computers and cameras, you have to provide the insurance company with a list of product details and values, and copies of the receipts.

If you have lots of CDs or DVDs you want to insure, create a list of them. If they're stolen or lost, you need the list to prove the number and value of the items stolen. Check with the insurance company that these items are covered, as some insurance policies do not cover CDs and DVDs.

Keep the receipts of any valuable items that you have insured. If you have to make a claim, this makes it much easier to prove the items were yours and that you're entitled to claim for their loss.

Keep a copy of your lists and receipts in a safe place, and make sure it won't be lost or destroyed when your valuables are! If you have an email account such as Yahoo or Hotmail, email the lists to yourself so you can remotely store and access back-up copies.

Insurance links

Insurance Council of Australia
What to look for, when buying a home and contents insurance.

MoneySmart - a guide to insurance
Australian Securities and Investments Commission guide to your insurance rights and needs.

APRA General Insurance
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) - regulates Australian insurance companies.