A new survey shows that the cost of replacing the contents of the average British home in the event of total loss (such as fire or flood) has risen by almost a quarter in just three years.

The replacement costs stand at around £55,000 according to analysis of Criterion Loss Adjuster’s data by Sainsbury’s home insurance.

The research commissioned by the supermarket bank reveals that homeowners typically believe their home contents are worth just over £31,000, leaving them at risk of being uninsured by around £24,000.

The most expensive single items are carpets and curtains, which are estimated to cost on average £9,000 throughout a house.

This is followed by householders’ clothes and shoes, which amount to around £6,000 to replace; 62 per cent more than three years ago. Televisions, DVD recorders and game consoles cost a further £5,500 to replace; 67 per cent more expensive than in 2009, as householders increasingly invest in modern technology.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance, said: “Our homes contain everything from the necessary fixtures and fittings like carpets and curtains, to our most prized possessions and gadgets, but many of us may not realise their true combined value.

“Our research reveals that the typical value of the entire contents of a home is £55,000 which is a significant sum of money.”

Sainsbury’s home insurance offers the following tips when considering contents insurance: n When working out how much insurance cover is required, try to add it up on a room by room basis and calculate the total cost to replace your belongings n Consider accidental damage cover and make sure it extends to soft furnishings n Think about any expensive items you may have; check your policy limits for each item and specify them on your policy n Check if your policy covers personal possessions when taken away from your home n Flat screen televisions, DVD players, computers or laptops are the kind of ‘high risk items’ that are easy for thieves to take from your home and then sell on. It’s a good idea to mark your name and postcode on them with an invisible ink pen that shows up under ultra-violet light. That way, if they are stolen, you stand a better chance of getting them back if recovered by the police n Familiarise yourself with your insurance policy summary and documents so you don’t find out you’re not covered for something when it’s too late.