Every piece of clothing I own was carefully selected and is cherished and cared for like a work of art. My closet is full of coats, hats, little black dresses and, most of all, shoes.

Since I work in insurance, something had been bothering me for a while now: if something were to happen to my apartment and I lost all my belongings, would my insurer (also my employer!) cover everything? And, more importantly, how much would I receive to rebuild my wardrobe? Would it be enough?

Thankfully, I didn’t have to look very far for answers. My colleagues who works at National Bank Insurance Auto | Home, just a few feet away, kindly agreed to answer my questions.

Step 1 | Assess the value of your wardrobe

The first thing they told me: I needed to assess the monetary value of my clothes. It sounds simple enough, but in reality, this was a scary prospect. Who really wants to know how much they’ve spent on clothing?

If I were more organized, I would already have a file listing each item of clothing, date of purchase, the store (in case I needed to return it), price and photo. My father, who is retired and has a lot of time on his hands, did this with his DVDs and wine. But that’s just not me (the retired and free time part), and the task took me several days to complete.

But you gotta do what you gotta do! You never know what might happen. While I was at it, I decided to do a complete inventory of everything in my apartment: furniture, kitchen and bathroom contents (you wouldn’t believe the number of products I own...).

Step 2 | Organize your clothes and accessories into broad categories

I had heard about it and apparently it’s true—there are limitations and exclusions in most insurance contracts. This means there is a maximum amount that can be claimed for certain kinds of personal property.

I took the list I had created and organized my belongings into categories, paying particular attention to the following:


This last category made me realize the importance of understanding the terms of my renter’s insurance. It seems like I collect everything!

Does fifty pairs of shoes count as a collection? Thankfully, I can keep my shoe obsession to myself since a collection, for insurance purposes, is defined as a group of objects of a similar nature that were collected through a desire to accumulate them (not wear them).

Although I sometimes treat my closet like a museum, I still wear every single item I own, which means that although my shoe “collection” is a collection to me, it’s not considered a collection to the insurance company.

I also learned that there are no limits on clothing. Even if I exceed the maximum amount allowed for a specific category, the insurance company can help me find a solution.

Step 3 | Gather your courage and call your insurer

Once I had completed all the homework my colleagues had given me, it was time to grab the bull by the horns and call my insurance company—also my employer, don’t forget!

After admitting to my spending habits and assessing the value of my entire wardrobe, I felt a new sense of freedom. Not only would my entire wardrobe be replaced in case of disaster, but the agent on the phone assured me that I’d be covered for the original value of all my items!

Step 4 | Enjoy your newfound peace of mind

At the end of the day, I tell myself I can’t be the only shopaholic out there... For peace of mind, you just have to call your insurance company.

In fact, since I always have Carrie Bradshaw’s famous line from Sex and the City in my head—“I like my money right where I can see it hanging in my closet!”—I’m going to head out right now to my favourite clothing store downtown for a guilt-free shopping spree! ;)