While most women know the importance of having homeowners and motor vehicle insurance, they often forget that the items they wear or carry with them every day can also be damaged, lost or stolen.

Many women work very hard to earn money to purchase  items such as handbags, clothing, jewellery and electronic devices can and it makes sense to ensure these items are insured and can be repaired or replaced in the event of loss, theft or damage.

The three things women most often forget to insure are explored in detail below.

1. Wardrobe

Sandton City’s recent launch of its new R185-million Diamond Walk – which includes international brands such as Prada, Billionaire Italian Couture, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Gucci – highlights the growing trend of international clothing brands expanding to South Africa. Local consumers no longer have to travel overseas to purchase these exclusive items, making them easier to acquire than before. However, they remain expensive purchases and failing to insure these unique items can set you back financially.

The regular assessments we conduct on our client’s possessions show that about 90% of women – particularly in the high end market – underestimate the cost of their wardrobes by as much as 50% on average.

While most home insurance policies allow clothing to be claimed for in the event of theft or damage at home, there is generally a limit to the replacement value, with most insurers likely to reduce the amount they pay to reflect the level of cover taken out. It is crucial for any woman that has a wardrobe bulging with dresses, designer jeans and spare handbags, to make sure that these are adequately covered in her policy.

2. Jewellery

Besides a house or car, the most expensive possession a woman will own is often her jewellery. One of the biggest mistakes we see when it comes to insuring jewellery is failing to conduct proper and regular valuations for their jewellery items. Fluctuations in the value of the rand and commodity prices mean that jewellery can be insured for the incorrect amount if the value of the items are not updated regularly (at least annually).

For example, a diamond ring purchased in 2006 at a value of R65 000 could easily be worth R120 000 now due to the rising price of precious metals and stones. If the item was only insured for R65 000 the insurance policy will only pay out this amount in the event of the claim because it was not insured for the entire replacement value.

Women must also bear in mind that it is never advisable to carry valuable jewellery they are not wearing at the time in their handbag – a common practice among women when changing a watch or jewellery to suit their new outfit. Most insurance policies will stipulate that jewellery over a certain value must be stored in a safe when not worn.

3. Handbags

The most expensive handbag in the world, which entered the Guinness World Records, is the Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse worth $3.8 million (approximately R49 million) and features 4517 diamonds on its body. While most of us cannot afford this extravagant purse, it highlights the cost that a handbag alone can reach these days.

Handbag brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Michael Kors and Prada are becoming increasingly popular among women and it is vital these treasured items are insured for their correct replacement value.

Insurance for a woman’s handbag and its contents is a must – it is a relatively cheap addition but is always worth the additional cost. Not only the handbag, but the contents of a handbag can easily run into the thousands once you consider replacing the bag itself plus keys, make-up, I-Pad, cell phone and wallet. It is also advisable to determine whether your policy covers your handbag and its contents in the event of theft outside of the home.

By Christelle Fourie, Managing Director
MUA Insurance Acceptances