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What's your wardrobe worth?

January 18, 2023

When it comes to calculating the value of your wardrobe for insurance purposes would you know how?

The average Canadian household spent $3,344 on clothing and accessories in 2019, according to the most recent data from Statistics Canada.

When it comes to insuring your home and its contents, wardrobes are often overlooked. Some experts estimate the standard amount of coverage for possessions — including clothing — is 50 to 70 percent of the insurance you have on your home.

If you’re a clothes horse or dabble in designer clothing, this may not be enough insurance so it’s important to assess exactly how much your clothing is worth when insuring your home’s contents.

According to research by Marks and Spencer in 2021, the average woman has 110 items in her wardrobe and the average man has 83 pieces of clothing.

27 pairs of shoes

Meanwhile, various studies done over the years estimate the average woman has 17 to 27 pairs of shoes.

In reality, many of us probably don’t know how much money is “hanging” in our closets or tucked away in drawers, but it’s likely more than you think. If you had to replace all those items all at once, the cost would be overwhelming.

If you don’t know, below are some tips to help you determine the value of your wardrobe.

1) Take inventory - The best way to start is to make a list of all the clothing you own. Begin by splitting it into categories. List all suits, dresses, tops, jackets, coats and so on that you own. Then, note how many of each category you have.

2) Find/keep receipts - Since you need to work out how much each item costs, use any receipts you have particularly for expensive items. From now on, it’s a good idea to start keeping and storing your receipts safely online to have as proof. This will make things much easier if you have to make a claim.

3) Work out the average cost - For any items that you don’t have receipts for, you’ll need to work out an average cost and multiply this by the number of this type of clothing in your wardrobe. (i.e., 10 dresses)

4) Don’t forget accessories and shoes -Accessories can wrack up some serious costs. Bags, belts, and shoes should all be included in the value of your wardrobe, particularly if they’re designer. Wouldn’t want to forget those Jimmy Choos!

5) Research any vintage items Whether it’s timeless couture or more retro vintage wear, you’ll you still need to know what they’d cost to replace. Online auctions and vintage sites can help.

6) Take photographs - Take photographs, pulling out any key items to shoot separately and store these online. They’ll be a useful record of what you own and what condition the clothes are in, which might help if you need to make a claim.

7) Don’t forget your luggage. These items cost money too, especially if you buy designer brands

You’ll likely be shocked at how much money you have invested in clothes when you go through this process. So, there’s another added benefit: you may decide to sell some, donate items or scale back on your clothing budget.

When it comes to your possessions, clothing is only part of the equation. That is why the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recommends doing an entire home inventory. Such an inventory of your belongings makes it easier to file a claim should something happen.

5 Tips for Making a Home Inventory

Print a copy of IBC's Personal Property Inventory Checklist or download an Excel sheet to track your possessions room by room. When taking stock of your contents, consider the following.

  1. Keep the bills, receipts, warranties and instruction manuals for your more valuable possessions – these can serve as proof of ownership.
  2. Store your records and receipts in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or a secure online option.
  3. Review your home inventory every year and when you make new purchases. The value of your possessions will increase the more you acquire.
  4. Take photographs or video footage of all of your valuable possessions.
  5. Store records of credit cards, taxes, government and other important household documents in an off-site location.

If you are unsure if your policy offers enough coverage speak to your broker. In addition, it’s important to know the difference between the estimated cash value and the actual replacement cost of your items.

Understand the type of coverage you have. If it’s replacement cost coverage and you lose everything in a fire, for example, you’ll receive the amount of money needed to replace your home and/or contents up to your policy’s limit. On the other hand, if it’s cash value coverage, you’ll only receive the current market value of your belongings.


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