Contents valuations – All you need to know | Frequently asked questions

A contents valuation involves assessing the worth of personal possessions and belongings within a house or flat, encompassing items like furniture, electronics, jewelry, clothing, and other valuable assets. Its significance lies in ensuring accurate insurance coverage, aiding in financial planning, and providing essential documentation in case of loss, theft, or damage. 

A proper valuation enables homeowners or property occupants to secure adequate insurance, make informed decisions about safeguarding assets, and maintain a comprehensive inventory of their belongings for estate management or unforeseen circumstances, offering peace of mind and financial security.


Before ordering a contents valuation, review your insurance policy carefully. Different insurers categorise contents differently and apply varying requirements and rules to each category. For instance, some insurers might not cover laptops and cellphones, which they categorise as ‘personal valuables’ and not ‘household contents’, offering limited coverage for such items. Others exclude contents kept in wooden or thatched buildings.

Below are some of the frequently asked questions we receive regarding contents valuations.

Should you have questions, email us at and let’s explore the best approach for your unique situation.

Contents Valuations: What you need to know

Why do I need a contents valuation?

Contents valuation is important for various reasons:

Insurance Purposes.

Contents insurance valuation helps in determining the value of possessions within a home or a flat. In the event of theft, damage, or loss due to unforeseen circumstances like fire, flood, or natural disasters, a contents valuation assists in assessing the worth of items for insurance claims.

Contents valuation ensures that you have adequate insurance coverage for your belongings. Without an accurate valuation, you might either underinsure (risking insufficient coverage in case of loss) or overinsure (paying higher premiums for coverage you don’t need).

Inheritance or will purposes.

In this case a contents valuation provides a comprehensive view of personal assets, aiding in fair distribution among heirs or beneficiaries.

Divorce or Legal Proceedings

During divorce proceedings or legal disputes, a contents valuation helps in fairly dividing assets between parties.

Selling or Renting Property.

For landlords or homeowners looking to sell or rent out their property, a contents valuation can help determine an appropriate price by accounting for the value of the items included.

Asset Management.

It assists in maintaining an inventory of possessions, facilitating better management and organization of assets.

Overall, obtaining a contents valuation provides a clear understanding of the value of one's belongings, aiding in financial planning, risk management, and decision-making in various life situations.

How much cover do I need for my home contents?

Understanding the adequate coverage for your home contents is important. Studies reveal that nearly a third of South African households are significantly underinsured, often by up to 30%. It is crucial to regularly assess the value of your home and its contents, factoring in the expenses required for repairs or complete replacements.

Imagine your policy provides coverage up to R200,000, but the costs for repair or replacement escalate to R400,000. This scenario results in being underinsured by 50%, leaving a substantial R200,000 gap as an out-of-pocket expense, significantly undermining the intended coverage of your insurance.

If, for instance, you experience a loss of R100,000, the compensation you'd receive would only amount to R50,000, even though your insurance sum is R200,000. This discrepancy occurs due to the underinsurance of 50%.

Therefore, it's crucial to carefully consider your desired level of coverage before taking out a policy. This will then inform your decision about whether you need a professional contents valuation and how often to update it. Don't risk underinsurance. Contact us today for a personalized assessment of your coverage needs and a discussion about valuation options.

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What is the survey procedure for household & office contents?
  • The surveyor will work their way through every room, documenting and photographing every item.
  • The surveyor will require a valuation certificate for all jewellery, paintings, artwork, antiques, collections and other valuables.
    Important: Any high-value items not presented to the surveyor or for which no certificate of value is made available, might not be covered by the insurer.
  • Jewellery and other valuable assets must always be handled exclusively by the client.
  • Daily-use items such as clothing, bed linen, crockery and cutlery are valued by applying an average percentage; any high-value items in this respect must be pointed out to the surveyor.
  • As we respect our clients’ privacy, the surveyor will not open any cupboards or drawers or unpack any containers.
  • The surveyor will ask the client to provide an estimated value for all the curtains in your building.
  • The surveyor will also photograph the exterior of your building.
  • Once the survey is completed, all photographs and documents will be kept in an electronic safe and will not be made available to any third party without the client’s written consent.
  • To ensure that the valuation is accurate, we may consult with the client again after the survey to agree on a value for unique items for which we were unable to source prices.

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How long does a contents survey take?

The duration of the actual survey depends on the scope of assets to be recorded but usually takes about 2 - 3 hours for an average household. On average, the survey report is completed within 10 -15 working days from the survey date.

Read more: Contents Valuations - How it’s done

How often should I update my contents valuation?

While the South African law doesn't explicitly mandate regular contents valuations, we recommend reviewing and reassessing your belongings every 3 years or whenever significant changes occur, such as acquiring or losing expensive items.

You should also keep in mind that the majority, if not most, insurance companies will automatically increase the sum insured under your household contents on the anniversary date of your plan. In addition to this, if you check your insurance policy carefully, you may find it states that the automatically increased insurance sum does not eliminate your duty to make sure that the new, increased sum insured represents the correct replacement value of your insured assets at all times. This claim means that although you will pay a greater sum next year, it may not be enough to cover your losses of your movable belongings in case of an incident.

Does Mirfin value jewellery, art, antiques, and collections?

While most household and office contents can be replaced “off the shelf” and are easily valued, some assets, like jewellery, artwork, Persian carpets, and collections are unique and irreplaceable. In these cases, the surveyor’s task is to provide proof of ownership by capturing valuables and collectibles on the survey report, either with a client-agreed value or with a “zero” value until the client submits the desired insurance value.

The client may obtain an expert opinion from a jeweller, antiques dealer, auctioneer etc. however, in most cases the true value of unique assets can only be determined through willing-seller-willing-buyer transactions such as at public auctions.

Beware: Some service providers claim to be specialists in valuing of all types of valuables and collectibles because the client has no way of knowing that they merely guessed the value. The fact is that not even a seasoned auctioneer is able to predict what value an item will attain on auction.

Before valuing high-value items like jewelry, we strongly recommend reviewing your insurance policy carefully. Insurance practices vary, and some companies may not cover expensive jewelry or other 'personal valuables' such as laptops, wearable devices, and cellphones.

Read more: Contents Valuations - How it’s done

Will my garden and outbuildings be valuated?

During your contents insurance valuation, our surveyor can assess these areas to ensure comprehensive coverage. This includes permanent fixtures like sheds, greenhouses, and gazebos, as well as valuable items stored within them, like garden tools, furniture, and equipment.

However, prior to asking us to assess your exterior movable belongings, we recommend that you check with your insurance company, whether their contents insurance covers items kept outside the main home.

You may find that your insurance company excludes coverage for household contents kept in certain types of buildings, such as wooden or thatched structures. Therefore, we strongly recommend reviewing your insurance policy before ordering a contents valuation.

Does Mirfin value machinery & equipment for insurance purposes?

The replacement cost assessment of specialised equipment and industrial machinery requires detailed input from the client and/or the relevant equipment vendors. Therefore, Mirfin’s role in determining the replacement value for these assets will be of a secondary nature.

Read more: Contents Valuation: Moveable Asset Registry

What is Mirfin’s “Low-Price Guarantee”?

We pledge to beat any price for the same service offering. However, in the event of a reduced fee, Mirfin’s professional liability will be adjusted to that of its direct competitor.
But why put yourself personally at risk for the sake of saving the body corporate a few hundred rand?

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Why choose Mirfin for your property valuation?

Best price guarantee

We will beat any price for the same service offering.

20 years

We are industry pioneers and industry leaders for over 20 years.

600 000 + clients

We’re a South African nationwide property valuation services provider for homeowners, property managers, insurers, brokers & attorneys.

One-click quotations

No time for filling in forms? Just click the button for an instant quote and share it with your clients.

98% service coverage

Our surveyors are situated in the densely populated areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London and Mossel Bay.

17% extra discount

Save on average 17% in premiums for your insurance broker with Mirfin’s property insurance valuation report .

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Contents Valuations: Moveable Asset Registry (Part 1)

Contents valuations Moveable asset registry (Part 1)_min

If you ask any homeowner to estimate the current value of their home contents, the chances are that they will underestimate the total value by more than 50%.
The reasons for this are two-fold:

  • One tends to underestimate the number of assets amassed over the years.
  • The cost of replacing an asset obtained 10 years ago has most likely quadrupled.

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