Contents Insurance, I’m posing a question

A few weeks ago we were broken in to. Just in to our garage. I have a LOT of stuff in there as I am storing things I didn’t unpacked when we moved here while we build our new house.

The buggers took some stuff. Not important-can’t-live-without stuff, but still it was OUR stuff.

We’ve been trying to claim some of it on our contents insurance. We’ve always paid it and when we were broken in to I made my husband ring and double it, because I was frightened they’d come back.

Anyway, in the midst of trying to make some claims we’ve been having dramas with the insurance company (as you do).

It’s all about the receipts. They won’t pay anything without a receipt. I get it, I really do, but at the same time I’m annoyed.

I mean, how many of you keep receipts for EVERYTHING? And what if it was a gift? Well, there is no receipt there.

What if they took clothes, shoes, lamps, whatever… I don’t think we’d all have the receipts for everything!

Lucky the big ticket item we’re trying to claim has a receipt, but some other stuff doesn’t.

My question to you is (and to the insurance companies), if you get broken in to and you don’t have a receipt, then what will you do?

What if you’ve had that tv for 5 years and there is no receipt?

I have heard of people taking photos of each room in their house and printing them off with a date stamp on it.

Do you do this? Because I am seriously thinking about doing this.

I pay my insurance and would like to think that if I came home one day and my house was cleaned out that I’d be able to put a claim in and everything would be ok.

What do you do? I’d love to hear!


  • Deanne

    Unless it was an electrical appliance I probably haven’t kept the receipt, beside the fact that the receipts all fade over time anyway.
    I could perhaps use my blog photos of evidence of how my house looks, but will now have to think carefully about this, we have never had to claim for robbery just stuff like broken windows etc which is house and not contents. Does this work for fire too?- if your house burnt down your receipts probably did too!

    • Katrina (author)

      You’re right! Fire! I think I need to ring my insurance company again and get it straight. It would be awful if you needed to claim $150k and they only gave you $50K.

  • Belinda

    Hi Katrina, the advice i got from my insurance company is to take a photo of every room in your house. Even open the cupboards and take a photo of the inside. Take a couple of hours to go around your home and garage and note down make, model, serial numbers and cost to replace the big ticket items and save this information somewhere other than your house. In the event of a claim you will glad you took the time to do it.

    • Katrina (author)

      I am putting this job on the top of my to do list!

  • Jess

    We were broken into a couple of months after our wedding WHILE WE SLEPT! They took me handbags & both cars. A bit of stuff was taken from our garage too & the insurance people said get a letter from who gave the gift (in this case it was an engagement present from my parents) & they will CONSIDER it. We are still waiting 6 months on for one cent of compensation for my handbag & contents plus the stuff in our garage. They chase you if your premiums are late but aren’t in a hurry to pay you out!!

    • Katrina (author)

      OMG horrendous! I really hope it works out for you!

  • Karyn

    Oh , I will be phoning my insurance company this morning to find out . I have never heard of this. I have only every kept receipts of items while in warranty. Sounds like a good idea to photograph everything ( actually that sounds like a “great ” idea , I would probably see how much stuff I actually have & have a Purge !! ).
    Thanks for sharing this info , I think a lot of us wouldnt know this.
    I hope it all works out for you Katrina.
    Karyn x

    • Katrina (author)

      I’m sure it will too, it’s just made me wake up a little!

  • Michelle

    Wow ok I had no idea! We’ve claimed a couple of times on accidental cover for two smashed iPhones screens and a cracked Mac Book Air screen (someone who is not me sat on it!) and never had to show receipts.

    I would be interested to know what they would say if you as a fire and no longer had receipts.

  • Kathleen Bysouth

    OoOooo good blog post Katrina. Loving everyone’s comments too. But will insurance companies accept photos as evidence? I only keep the receipts if the item is under warranty. And they fade after a while anyway. The idea of taking copies of all my receipts to keep as a record for insurance companies drains me. I’d be drowning on paper work!!

    • Katrina (author)

      It’s all a little confusing, but I think if you take photos and add serial numbers you should be ok. Someone also suggested videoing the room.

  • Sarah B

    Oh gosh, this is a bit of a worry! As others have said, who keeps receipts for clothes and when you do, they fade! I have electrical receipts and those from fancy purchases but that’s it. I really should ask my insurer.

  • What Sarah Did Next

    I can so relate to this!! We were broken into about 6 months ago – while I was out doing the school pick up, two thieves broke in by smashing the window of my office. What they DIDN’T know was that my 23 y.o son was upstairs asleep, he’d been working nights and had set his alarm so he didn’t sleep too long. We think it must have gone off while they were here – as they only grabbed our PS3 (just the actual unit, not the cables or handsets) before running out the door.

    Insurance company wanted a receipt for the PS3. We’d had it for well over a year so naturally, I didn’t have one. Then they asked if we had the box it came in. Who keeps the boxes for things like that?? You’d need an extra house to store it all. In the end after MANY emails back and forth, they finally accepted a photograph of the instruction manual that came with it, along with the cables and handsets, as proof that we had indeed purchased a PS3. *sigh*

    Insurance companies sure as hell don’t tell you this stuff when trying to sign you up to one of their policies!!

    • Katrina (author)

      That’s not fun Sarah! I never keep boxes to anything!!! I can’t stand clutter and I am ruthless with everything!

  • Chris R

    Wow this post has got me thinking. I have receipts for big things but not everyday stuff and not for clothes. Photos are a good idea, might have to have a look at the fine print on our policy and see what it says.
    Good luck with your claim Katrina.

  • Michelle Hayward

    This is what we did eons ago but it requires a massive update – we made an inventory! Yes, it took a very long time. I actually wrote down every item. Or typed it actually, on a spreadsheet. Doing this about 8 years ago I had less. But still so much! Then I took photos. I listed EVERY CD and DVD, and GAME, and ELECTRICAL APPLIANCE and BOOK we owned. Oh boy! Then I sent copies to trusted family members to keep in case my laptop or house was on fire and I lost the lot. A friend uses a bank to store her stuff in. She has a locked box and all her important docs stored there. I do file A LOT of receipts, and I photocopy them so they don’t fade, but there are many I don’t have. For e.g if I went to Lincraft and spent $50 on craft items, I may keep the receipt for 2 months, but I would eventually throw it out. I don’t have receipts for every piece of clothing I own! And while I am organised there are MANY many things I just don’t have receipts for as I either lost them, or probably threw them out thinking it wouldn’t be needed. They are becoming RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!! A friend’s microwave blew up the other day. She didn’t have the receipt either, but she did have the box and that was date stamped so they did honour that and let her change it over. Who keeps boxes? Most of the time I trash those. Boy is it an expensive lesson to learn. These days they want EVERYTHING listed separately on the policy – our phones were, certain pieces of jewellery that meant a lot, or anything of major value I always “specified” and thankfully I’ve never had a problem BUT I haven’t claimed in many years and I hear it’s all much harder now! Good luck!!

    • Katrina (author)

      Oh you are dedicated!! OMG that would have been a massive job. 🙂

      • Michelle Hayward

        Ha! Yeah it was MASSIVE!!!!! But worth it in the end. Though I’m not sure I could be bothered doing it now. Maybe after I have culled more stuff! 🙂

    • Kim aka Little Red Boots

      Being an ex RAAF wife, we use to do this also with our CDs & DVDs etc. I would put them onto a spreadsheet & do a little update when we would move.
      Some larger items Ive even kept the tag or junkmail page with the item price, I do tend to keep receipts stapled inside the manual for each larger item and its then stored in a locked filing cabinet out in my garage – in case of a fire (in my theory lol)
      These days I keep ALOT of photos locked away in a private album on my fb page – these can be downloaded again later if needed & the upload date is also on each one when Ive added it to the album

      • Michelle Hayward

        Oh I LOVE the idea of having the hidden album on FB. Never thought of that. Definitely worth doing! 🙂 Wish I knew about this BEFORE I packed all my stuff into storage. Darn! Oh well when we unpack 😉 I do the same with receipts stapled to the manual or warranty card or booklet. Then filed in the cabinet as well! The junkmail file is super idea too!

  • Caroline

    Thats awful news! I’ve never been robbed (thankfully) but I could imagine how terrible it would be – and now you’re left to argue about it with your insurance company. I lost my engagement ring recently (amazingly we were able to find the receipt and the actual diamond details). The insurance company did ask for it, but I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t kept the paperwork. I’m one of those people that keep receipts for everything (anal, I know) but you just never know when you’ll need them. Best of luck with your claim, and if they don’t come to the party, I would change insurers! xx

  • RuthBT

    So timely, I am in the midst of an insurance claim for flood damage at the moment – so far so good except when the carpet dude claimed I was trying to get batter carpet than I had. Rang the insurer and told them if they had got to me in a timely manner it would have still be there to look at. Problem solved.

    So, my 2 cents worth on the documentation side. Video. So much quicker than photos and you can talk through it and show serial numbers as you go through things. I also mentioned the date I bought it – for how much and if I could remember the way I paid for it. Also much easier when going through clothes. I then compressed it an uploaded it to a dropbox file – or you could even have it unlisted on YouTube! Finally, I have installed an app on my phone that basically takes photos of receipts and then stores them in my dropbox account. Figure this should all be enough.

    • Katrina (author)

      Thanks so much for this Ruth, you’ve really opened my eyes. Video sounds much easier for me! X

  • Kazzie

    I’m sorry to hear your stuff being nicked off.

    Hubby & I’ve always scanned our paid receipts & photographs onto the computer and on backups as well PLUS on CDs which we give to our families for safekeeping.

  • Miss Gingham

    I’m sorry to hear you were burgled. Even if it was only your garage it’s still upsetting.
    We were robbed in Sydney, a big robbery where they took just about everything of any value and trashed the place as well.
    We had a right old time with the insurance company even though my husband, (a very anal accountant), keeps all receipts, manuals, you name it! I think they (insurance co) just like to make it hard. Having said that, plenty of people try to cheat the system so I guess it’s understandable but gee, you pay your premiums and don’t deserve to be treated like a criminal.
    Look upon this a lesson learnt and get really prepared in case it happens again. Videos are a great idea.
    Hope everything works out ok. xx

    • Katrina (author)

      Oh no! That’s terrible!!!!!! Thanks for letting me know what you did. I need a kick up the bum with this stuff.

  • brismod

    Oh you poor thing. That’s terrible about the robbery. But bloody insurance companies make you run through hoops don’t they? Credit card statements are a good way of tracking your purchases too. I file a few years worth of my statements, as I tend to use my credit card to make a lot of equipment purchases. xx

    • Katrina (author)

      I didn’t think of that – credit card statements. Thanks!

  • Emily

    I’ve never had my house broken into, but I had my wallet stolen from a locked locker while I was playing netball once. You can’t wear your jewellery while playing netball, so the thief scored more than just my cash and credit cards! My engagement ring, three other rings of high sentimental value, expensive earrings and a necklace. We had specifically insured the engagement ring in our contents policy, so got that back, but nothing else. Most of it couldn’t be replaced anyway.

    I’d suggest specifically naming items and values you treasure in your policy. Our policy now includes jeweller descriptions of all of our wedding and engagement presents (and other gifts from hubby over the years), and makes/models etc of our big electrical and household items.

    • Emily

      A few typos in there, but hopefully it makes sense 🙂

    • Katrina (author)

      That’s crap Emily! I have a new to-do list now!

  • Jenny Langmaid

    Ah the can of worms insurance question…firstly katrina sorry to hear about your break-in , not nice! I guess in somplistic terms I know a lot of insurance companies give you the option either replacement value (new for old) or market value …that begs the question who appraises it at the market value…for example a painting we have that we value as invaluable…the dilemma…….each policy and company is slithgly different its all about the fine print…..valuable lesson?!! Good LUck!!

  • Priya

    Sorry to hear you had stuff stolen .To be frank we just kept the receipts of the really big ticket items , s very few receipts but just a few days back we made a rule amongst us that we would photograph every receipt ….. Much easier to store.

  • Jo from Brisbane

    We were broken into in July and they stole our car too. We had hardly any receipts but hubby had kept boxes/manuals for laptop, smartphone, digital photo frame etc which the insurance company accepted. I had some jewellery stolen and had no receipts but since i was away at the time most of my valuable stuff was with me so the jewellery I claimed wasn’t excessive (less than $2k)and they paid out. They even paid $500 for window locks etc. We were with one of the cheaper companies but I can’t fault their claims process. The only problem is they are now refusing to re-insure us. With the car, after 2 weeks they would have paid it out but the police found it on the 13th night. It’s good as new though as it went to Ford for a check and then to the repair shop to have a few scratches fixed.

  • Alicia - Time worn style

    I photograph the interior of my home for business and blogging that I figure I have pretty well got it covered for photographic evidence.
    The inside of wardrobes etc, well thats another story

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