How to lodge a contents insurance claim without a receipt

Personal Finance Writer · 16 September 2021
You’ve shopped around, found a contents insurance policy and paid your premium. But what happens if you need to make a claim and you don’t have receipts to prove the value of the items damaged or stolen? We explain what happens and what your insurer may require.

It’s surprisingly easy to accumulate possessions. It’s not so easy to hold onto all the paperwork we may need to make a claim on insurance. Here’s how to lodge a claim even if you don’t have receipts.

Are receipts required for insurance claims?

Whether or not an insurer requires receipts or proof of purchase when you are making a claim depends on the insurer, and the terms and conditions of the policy. But generally speaking, when it comes to making a claim, you need to be able to prove two things to your insurance company:

  • that you owned the item
  • evidence of what it was worth.

Giving your insurer receipts could help you tick both boxes. So, it could be a wise idea to keep receipts in a safe place, or to take and store a photograph of them, soon after you buy an item covered by your insurance policy. But think about all the items you own relative to how many receipts you could track down. Chances are, there are plenty of possessions under your roof where the matching receipt has long since sailed out of your life. In this case, there are a few options you could explore.

Can you make an insurance claim without receipts?

Yes, you can still make an insurance claim. However, if you are making an insurance claim and you don’t have receipts, it’s likely that your insurer will ask you about other ways they might establish proof of ownership and value of the item that was damaged, lost or stolen. What they require could vary between insurers and policies, so the golden rule with any insurance cover is to check the fine print of the policy documents to know the rules that apply to your particular policy. Receipts are often considered strong evidence, and taking a photo of a receipt on a smartphone could help in case you lose the paper version. But it’s a big ask for us to take photos of receipts for every item we own. There are other types of evidence you may be able to provide to show your insurer that you owned an item, and at least provide a guide to its value.

Other ways to help prove ownership and value to an insurer if you don’t have receipts:

  • credit card statements
  • serial numbers of the item
  • owner’s manuals
  • accessories or spare parts
  • guarantee or warranty certificates
  • photos or videos of your item
  • product packaging.

Source: BudgetDirect, Suncorp, AAMI

Suncorp notes that evidence of ownership can also call for a bit of judgement by the claims assessor.  Suncorp gives the example: An assessor can see a bare TV stand surrounded by dangling cords where the big screen used to sit, it can be reasonable evidence that your TV has been stolen. However, without evidence of the make and model, you may only be compensated for a basic set rather than a top of the range TV with all the bells and whistles. With some policies, it may also be OK to provide statements from people who have seen the item in your possession. Check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The rules could be slightly different, too, if the claim relates to something that’s been damaged, lost or stolen while away from home (why may be covered by portable contents insurance).

Making a claim for high value items without a receipt

High value items such as jewellery or artworks may need to be noted separately in your home contents policy. These items may also require more detail when it comes to making a claim on insurance – especially if you don’t have a receipt. Again, the key is to read the policy document before you need to make a claim. As an example, insurance provider AAMI, for jewellery valued above $1,000, requires proof of purchase that identifies the item plus a full description of the piece in writing from either the jeweller who sold it to you, or from a professional valuer. A close-up photograph might also help, the provider states.

Managing a claim without receipts comes down to knowing what sort of other evidence will be accepted by your insurer, and aiming to keep as many records as possible – especially if you have individual items that are particularly valuable.

Compare home and contents insurance policy features

If you’re comparing home and contents insurance policies, the comparison table below displays some of the policies currently available on Canstar’s database for an Australian aged under 50, seeking cover in NSW or ACT for a cost to replace building and contents of below $550,000. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical) and features links direct to the providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s home insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies.

Cover image source: Madua/

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