Wardrobe cover - insuring your clothes

Whether you’re into designer or high-street fashion, your clothes can add up to more than you realise. Find out how home insurance could help if you need to replace them all.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 1 February 2022  | 3 mins read
Reviewed by Ryan Fulthorpe

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Do I need clothing insurance?

It’s easy to overlook the cost of our clothes when we’re working out the value of what we need to insure in our homes.

But imagine if you found yourself having to replace everything you wear, from top to toe, if your home suffered a major event like a fire or flood.

The costs could run into thousands but having insurance in place can help you pay for replacements.

Key points

  • Don’t forget about the cost of your clothes when you’re working out the value of your home contents
  • Some home insurance policies will cover your clothes, but there may be a limit on how much you can claim
  • New for old policies will typically pay out more than indemnity policies
  • You can list designer and high-value items separately or take out specialist cover

Is clothing already covered by home insurance?

This will depend on your policy. Not all contents insurance policies will cover your clothes, or they may have a limit on how much you can claim for, so you’ll need to see what’s included.

If you find that clothes are covered on your policy, check what the total amount you can claim for is and whether there’s a single item-limit.

To make sure you’ve got the right amount of cover, work how much it would cost to buy all your clothes now. If you’d like your cover to be increased to match this, contact your insurer.

What does clothing insurance usually cover?

As part of your home contents insurance, it will cover your clothes from damage or loss because of unexpected events like fire, flood, and theft.

However, if you want your clothes to be covered for accidental damage you might have to pay extra. The same will usually apply if you want your clothes to be insured when you take them out of your home.

And be aware that most policies will usually have an excess. This is a fixed amount you’d have to pay if you make a claim. Make sure that you’d be able to afford this comfortably.

What’s not covered?

When you take out a home insurance policy there are a number of exclusions which may affect whether you can claim for your clothes. These include:

  1. Wear and tear

    Typical contents insurance policies won’t cover wear and tear, so if your clothing is damaged because it’s naturally degraded over time or it’s damaged because you’ve not maintained your home properly, it’s unlikely your claim will be successful.

  2. Subletting your home

    If your clothes are damaged or stolen when you’ve sublet your home, you typically won’t be covered unless there’s evidence of a forced entry.

  3. Leaving your home for a long period

    It’s a condition of most policies that you can’t leave your home unattended for more than 30 days. If you do, you might find that any damage or theft of your clothes isn’t covered.

  4. Damage caused by pets

    If your clothes have been damaged by your pet, for example by chewing, scratching, or tearing, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a claim.

  5. Deliberate damage

    If it’s discovered that you or someone in your home has intentionally damaged your clothing, you usually won’t be covered.

Does home insurance cover personal belongings?

For insurance purposes, personal possessions refer to items that you can take out and about with you.

This includes things like:

Home insurance policies will often cover these items for loss, damage, and theft when they’re inside your home, but not always when you take them outside your home.

If you find your policy doesn’t include this cover, you can normally buy it as an add-on so that your belongings will be protected when you leave the house - with some policies this includes taking them abroad.

What does new for old mean?

There are two main types of contents insurance policy: new for old and indemnity (also known as ‘wear and tear’). These work differently when it comes to making a claim.

New for old means that when you make a successful claim, you’ll receive a payout from your insurer to replace your missing or damaged item with a similar new one, no matter what condition it was in before.

With indemnity home insurance your premiums are likely to be cheaper, but the payout amount will reflect the item’s age and current second-hand value. This means you’ll receive less when you claim with this type of insurance.

Most standard contents insurance policies are indemnity policies. This means that when you’re claiming for clothing, insurers will consider its age and likely wear and tear.

What about high-value clothes, like designer items?

Home insurance policies will typically have a single-item limit, this is the maximum amount you can claim for individual items and is often between £500 and £1,500.

If you own expensive items like designer clothes, shoes, and bags, their individual value may be much more than this. Altogether they may add up to an eye-watering amount if you had to replace them all.

Home insurance policies will also have a maximum sum insured, the total value of the contents you can insure, which is typically between £50,000 and £100,000.

So, for any high-value clothes you want to be protected, you have the option of either listing them separately on your policy and paying slightly more to have them covered, or looking into a high net worth policy if you need a much higher sum insured.

Does the value of my wardrobe affect my home insurance premiums?

Whether your wardrobe’s full of designer pieces or high street fashion, you should always factor in the cost of your clothes when choosing home contents insurance.

You’ll need to calculate how much it would cost to replace all your clothes and include this in the value of your contents - known as the sum insured.

Insurers will use this to help calculate your premiums, so the higher your sum insured, the more your premiums are likely to be.

And if you’ve got any particularly expensive items in your wardrobe, you may need to list these separately and pay a bit extra to make sure they’re adequately covered.

How to calculate the value of my wardrobe?

The best way to work out how much your wardrobe is worth is to write a list and separate out the different types of clothing.

For example, look at how many suits you have - if you can’t remember how much you paid or don’t have the receipts, take an estimate at an average cost, taking into account any tailored suits which usually come with a much higher price tag.

Repeat this process for other types of clothes and accessories like dresses, shoes, bags, belts and so on. And if you’ve got vintage items look at how much they’re fetching online to get an idea of their current value.

Try to keep this list safe and update it regularly. You’ll find that even if you don’t have any designer items, your wardrobe will probably be worth far more than you thought.

How do I find out how much my clothes are worth?

Your clothing can be worth far more than you realise, so if you don’t know its value you could find yourself underinsured.

To help you estimate and keep a record of how much your clothes are worth, there are a few simple steps you can take, which include:

  1. Take an inventory

    The best way to start is to make a list of all the clothing you own. Begin by splitting it into categories - for example, suits, dresses, tops, jackets and coats. Then note down how many of each category you have.

  2. Find and keep receipts

    You’ll need to work out how much each item costs, so dig out any receipts, especially for expensive items. It’s a good idea to start keeping and storing your receipts safely online to have as proof, in case you need to make a claim.

  3. Work out the average cost

    For any items you don’t have receipts for, you’ll need to work out an average cost and multiply this by the number of this type of clothing in your wardrobe.

  4. Don’t forget accessories and shoes

    Not only can accessories make an outfit, but they can also wrack up some serious costs. Bags, belts, and shoes should all be included in the value of your wardrobe, particularly if they’re designer.

  5. Do your research on vintage items

    Whether it’s timeless couture or more retro vintage wear, you’ll need to work out what they’d cost to replace. Do this by researching online, looking at how much your items can fetch on auction and vintage sites.

  6. Take photographs

    Open your wardrobe and take photographs, pulling out any key items to snap separately and store these online. They’ll be a useful record of what you own and what condition the clothes are in, which might help with an insurance claim.

How do you claim on your insurance for clothes?

It’s a good idea to be prepared by keeping receipts of any expensive clothing you buy and taking photographs. Store these online if you can, to avoid them getting lost or damaged.

If you need to make a claim, gather up any proof of owning the clothing before you contact your insurer and don’t throw away any damaged items as they may want to see these.

If you made a list of your clothes when you were calculating the value of contents for your policy, it’ll be useful to have this to hand when you contact your insurers.

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