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Renters answer: What are your most prized possessions?

By George Hadgelias

Getting approval on your dream rental property is only the first step in creating a home. Making the property actually feel and look like home takes a little time and effort – and it’s the personal touches that make a difference.

It’s those treasured possessions that carry your personal or family history, or the items you’ve worked hard to get and have invested in, that give each room of your rental property that warm and lived-in feeling.

But what are the things that renters truly value in their home?

We asked real renters which items they would never trust to the removalist – and consulted Youi on the best way to protect each item.

Family jewellery

“My most valued possessions are my jewellery. I’ve got a beautiful pair of 18 karat gold knot earrings that Dad bought for me when I graduated university – he passed away a few years ago so they’re especially important. I’ve also got a diamond and aquamarine dress ring that Dad bought Mum that she’s passed to me. Plus I have my gold baby bangle. I’d save those before anything else” – Jane from Melbourne.

Items of jewellery are often precious not only in terms of monetary value but for sentimental reasons, too. But not all jewellery is automatically covered by contents insurance, like unset gemstones, gold or silver bullion or coins.

“Read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) so you know exactly what’s covered, and which of your jewellery items you need to list in order to get cover for,” Youi Home Insurance Manager Chris Hope advises. “At Youi, any items worth more than $15,000 must be listed in order to be covered, but all other jewellery can be grouped into a jewellery sum insured.”

Grandmother’s piano

“My grandmother was a brilliant pianist and she taught me to play the piano when I was little. She had a grand piano that is very old and a bit battered now but when she died about ten years ago, she left it to me. When I sold my house and moved into a rental property closer to the city last year the piano came with me. I hired a specialist piano removalist to move the piano to its new home and I was pretty relieved when it arrived intact! – Helen from Sydney

Some insurers will also cover you for the safe transportation of precious items, like a piano. However, when it comes to recouping the value of a sentimental item from your insurer, remember it has to be valued objectively.

“Insurance is there to repair or replace lost or damaged items, but cannot cover sentimental value,” Chris notes. “When thinking about how much to cover an item for, you need to think about what it would cost to replace the item today.”


“The most important thing I have is my Apple laptop – my whole life is on there! I work in construction and I use my laptop to keep track of all my work. If I lost that or it was stolen or destroyed, I’d be lost” – Stan from Melbourne.

Contents insurance can protect your livelihood with up to $5,000 to cover for your business items if they are lost or damaged as the result of an insured event. So if you back up the information on your laptop, then insurance should help cover the cost of a replacement laptop so you can get back to business as usual.

Photo albums

“You can’t replace photos – they may not have a lot of financial value but they’re my most precious possession. Photos of my family, of me when I was growing up with my parents and sisters and photos of my daughter- those photos are irreplaceable and show our journey together throughout our lives” – Gabby from Melbourne.

Sadly, while insurance can cover many other possessions, photos are simply not recoverable.

“Insurance can help repair or replace lost or damaged personal items, but will not be able to replace photos, so make sure you take extra care of these,” Chris says. “Think about scanning old photos and saving them on your computer as a backup.”

Passport and documents

“In an emergency I’d save my little black folder that contains all my medical information, my passport, my European citizenship documents and some other important papers. If I have those documents, I figure I have everything I need to be able to get what I need” – Eleni from Sydney

Some do offer insurance for the recovery of vital documents like passports or birth certificates.

However, the best advice either way is to always keep multiple copies of the documents in different places, with a digital scan or photograph on your computer. This will make the path to replacing them much easier.

Gaming PC and hi-fi system

“I’m a mad gamer and I love my music too so I’ve spent a fair amount of money on my gaming PC and a top of the range hi-fi system. I’ve easily spent about $7,000 so far. I’d be gutted if I lost my equipment because it’s been built-up over a few years.” – Nick from Adelaide

Youi’s advice?

“Check with your insurer whether any of those high value electronic items need to be listed separately, but otherwise, just make sure you’ve allowed for their value along with all your other belongings in your contents sum insured,” Chris explains.

CLICK HERE for more information.

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