A 1/3 of Bermuda residents risking their belongings

Posted by on Nov 24, 2011 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

The Argus Group today releases findings from new research[1] that shows a third (32 per cent) of Bermuda residents are without home contents insurance, leaving them financially vulnerable in these already challenging economic times. Renters, who made up one third of those interviewed, are significantly more likely than homeowners to be without this form of protection with over half (56 per cent) choosing to take the risk of not insuring their belongings.

The research commissioned exclusively by the Argus Group also raised concerns that even those with home contents insurance may not have sufficient cover to protect themselves, with less than half of residents (48 per cent) able to place a total value on their belongings. This can become an issue if the insurer recognises a policyholder is severely underinsured, they
will assess the level of underinsurance as a percentage and take this percentage off of the claim payment.

Contents insurance protects the policyholder against a wide range of perils including theft, fire, hurricane, burst pipes and flooding to name a few, which could easily destroy or cause substantial loss to everything an individual has worked hard to accumulate.

John Doherty, Executive Vice President of Property & Casualty, the Argus Group, says: “We understand that given the financial challenges presented by the current economy,
people are looking to minimise their overheads as much as possible and may think of insurance premiums as an unnecessary expenditure. I would however urge people to take a long-term perspective and consider whether, if the worst happened, they have enough money to replace their belongings.


“As our research shows, most people are unable to say how much their belongings are actually worth. From our experience in setting up home contents insurance policies, we know that our clients are often surprised by the value of their physical assets once they make some calculations and realise how quickly the total can run into thousands of dollars. We estimate that the average professional’s wardrobe is worth in the region of $10,000. If you add that to the cost of replacing your TV, furniture, appliances, laptop, BlackBerry, personal stereo, jewellery and other high-value items, you are looking at an amount that most people could not afford to cover with their salary or even savings. Home contents insurance offers peace of mind, knowing that you can make a claim to replace your belongings should the worst happen.”

For the purposes of setting up home contents insurance, individuals should consider whether their insurer works on a ‘new for old’ basis and, if so, work out the cost of purchasing each item brand new at the time of insuring it. It is important to take into account inflation and new purchases when you renew your policy to avoid underinsurance, this can be achieved simply by calling or emailing your insurer.

For rare or unusual items, it is a good idea to provide your insurer with a photograph and any details of unique features or markings. If you have inherited heirlooms or purchased antiques or collector’s items, a useful resource for working out how to value them is www.millersantiquesguide.com or you can consult a specialist dealer. For items worth more than $1,000 protected on an ‘All Risk’ basis your insurer is likely to require a certified valuation.

Home contents insurance policies usually include ‘Public Liability’ coverage, which responds if you become legally liable for damages to a third party, examples of this could be a visitor to your home is injured as a result of tripping over a worn rug or for no reason your dog bites a guest and the guest decides to sue you for damages.

Home contents insurance pays for damage to, or loss of, an individual’s personal possessions (any belongings that are not permanently attached to the structure of the home
and therefore not covered by buildings insurance) while they are located within that individual’s home. Some policies may also provide restricted cover for personal possessions temporarily taken away from the home by the policyholder, accidental damage to certain items or possessions kept in outbuildings or in the garden.

Contents insurance is often sold as part of a package alongside buildings insurance but can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy, which is ideal for those who don’t own the property they live in and therefore aren’t the building insurance policyholder for that home.

For more information about home contents insurance, the Argus Customer Service Centre can be contacted on 298-0888.

[1]               ’2011 Argus Property &
Casualty (P&C) Survey’ conducted October 7 -17, 2011, with 400 members of
the general population of Bermuda by Total Research Associates.

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