Building a better Contents Calculator

Here at Urban Jungle, we are always looking to put the needs of our customers first.

To help you out we’ve designed a contents calculator that we think should make it easier to get your contents value right without forgetting many of the items that people often overlook, leading to a potentially dangerous underestimate.

When you buy home contents insurance you are often expected to give the total value of your possessions. Whilst this may seem like a trivial exercise, it’s actually really important or you can end up getting badly stung if you have to make a claim due to parts of your policy like the averages clause.

On starting work in the insurance industry, I was shocked by the averages clause as it can cause you to receive a reduced payout if you have underestimated the value of your contents.

To use an example to illustrate this, say you insure all of your home contents for a total value of £20,000 but you actually have a total value of £25,000 worth of contents. In the event of a flood that damages £10,000 of your contents, you make a claim for £10,000. However, if there is an averages clause in the contract (it’s a very common policy feature) the insurer will say that you were underinsured as the total value of your cover was only 80% of the total value of your contents. This means that they would only pay out 80% of the amount claimed for, in this case £8000. This would leave you £2000 out of pocket!

In order to avoid this sort of stress for our customers, our CEO was keen on making a feature that would help them out and I volunteered my services to work on developing a contents calculator as one of my 20% projects.

You can read more on why it’s important here.

When we looked at other contents calculators on the market, we found that many of them weren’t up to scratch and were letting consumers down. The main problems that we identified were:

  • Many calculators were difficult to use on mobile and had hard to navigate UI in general.
  • There were often too many options, with a lot of redundant information or questions.
  • Lots of current calculators do not include policy items that are important to remember in order to avoid an underestimate. For example, you should account for costs that could be incurred if you need to get alternative accommodation for a period if your property becomes uninhabitable, and, if you are a renter, you should include the value of any of your landlord’s property (things like sofas, beds and even flooring) that has been used to furnish your home as this falls under tenant’s liability.
  • Many calculators also failed to prompt the user to consider any purchases they were planning on making over the coming year.

When developing our calculator, I tried to deal with these issues:

  • We found it’s easiest to go through your things room by room, so our contents calculator starts with a quick room survey so that we can structure the calculator to suit your home and make it as relevant as possible for you, the user.
  • We use free text for input instead of the dropdown menus that are used by many other sites as these are usually very cumbersome to use on mobile.
  • We also included all of the policy blindspots that customers often miss, potentially leading to an underestimate of their contents value.
  • Like the rest of our site, the calculator is designed to be responsive to the device you are using it on, so it should look great on your smartphone and you can work out the value of your contents at a time that works for you.

You can check out our contents calculator here.

Hopefully you’ll find our calculator really useful and it will help you get your contents value spot on. We’re always looking for feedback, so if it doesn’t work for you, or you have some ideas to make it better, leave a comment here, or drop us a note at support@myurbanjungle.zendesk.com

About Urban Jungle

Urban Jungle is an insurtech startup, aiming to making home insurance much better for young renters and sharers, using technology.

Our website already has loads of useful features and advice on being a renter, like the contents calculator, and you can expect to see more soon.

To find out more, or get a quote for your home insurance, visit us at https://myurbanjungle.com