I got a call one day at the office from a guy looking to buy renter’s insurance. He was going to school and needed coverage for his belongings. Also, the school wanted him to carry a policy while he lived on campus.
One of the main questions I ask someone is “If a fire were to burn everything that you own, how much would it cost to replace it all?” He said to me, “Hold on a second, let me take a look.” After what seemed like a few seconds he said, “I think $10,000 should about do it.” A little stunned on how quickly he answered me, I asked how he came up with that number. He said, “I just looked around the room. Everything I own is here.”
His response made me reflect for a moment. I own a medium size home, and between my wife, kids, and me we have a lot of stuff. For example, my wife has a bunch of Coach Bags, it’s an addiction she tells me. I have a lot of tools, it’s a necessity I declare. My kids have a ton of toys, it’s a problem if you ask us. It would be a daunting task to try to calculate everything. I thought how much do I have in clothes and shoes?
You will never see me wearing designer jeans. I always buy my clothes on sale. My job requires that I wear a shirt and tie, but even those items I buy from an outlet store or when the local Big Box retailer has a super sale.
I figure I probably have around $2,500 worth of clothing and shoes. With this in mind, I conducted a minor investigation into what I own.
After looking in my closet and dresser, I made a list of the type of clothes I have. Then I hopped on a few different websites like Amazon.com to get a general idea of the average cost. If I had kept my original receipts, this exercise would have been a lot easier.
I opened Google Docs to create a spreadsheet to “crunch” the numbers. Much to my surprise my estimate was woefully inaccurate. Here is a breakdown of what I found:
|Item||Cost||How many per pack||Owned||Total|
|Socks – White||$10.00||10 pairs||1||$10.00|
|Long Sleeve Shirts||$15.00||each||4||$60.00|
|Dress Socks||$51.00||12 pairs||1||$51.00|
|Thermal Pants & Shirt||$30.00||each||2||$60.00|
|Brown Leather Jacket||$130.00||each||1||$130.00|
|EMS Winter Jacket||$270.00||each||1||$270.00|
|London Fog Mens Coat||$200.00||each||1||$200.00|
|Steel Toe Workboots||$125.00||each||1||$125.00|
Can you picture the look of shock on my face after seeing that I have over $5,600 in clothing and shoes? I can’t imagine much people who wear designer clothes spend on their clothes. For example you can easily pay over $200 for a pair of upscale jeans on buckle.com.
So what do you have in your closet or dresser draw? Try this experiment yourself and see just how much you own.
Before, I mentioned keeping receipts and here is why that is important. First, it establishes the fact that you own the item and there is documentation of its value. If you don’t have a receipt, it’s possible that you can take photographs or a video of what you own.
The more time and detail you dedicate to documenting what you own, the more this will serve you if you have a loss.
If you have a loss, the first thing you are going to be asked to provide is a list of what you lost. Even if you lost everything the insurance company is not going to cut you a check for policy limit. Therefore, to an insurance company, documentation stands as a justification of what you lost.
So the significance of our story today is this:
- You probably don’t realize how much you really own
- Keep detailed documentation of what you own. In future blog posts I’m going to do a review of some apps that allow you to keep track of your stuff.