Riana Wiese. Supplied
The winter months require extra layers of clothing, such as woollen scarves, thermal socks, and thick coats and jackets, many of which are expensive. For those in corporate professions, tailored clothing can be very costly, too. What would happen if you were burgled, or there was a fire or a flood in your home and your entire wardrobe was destroyed?

* Do you have the right insurance to weather the storm? Although clothing is included in your contents insurance and must be factored in as part of the overall cover, do you really know what it would cost to replace your entire winter wardrobe? You probably have a better idea of what it would cost to replace your flat-screen TV.

Go into most stores these days, even those known for cheaper prices, and you can expect to pay a small fortune on garments such as winter coats, leather jackets, woollen jerseys and boots. Depending on your taste, your winter outfit could cost the same as a weekend away for two, or even be more expensive than a flat-screen TV.

* Consider your entire clothing collection. Most people don’t only have one winter coat: they probably have at least a warm woollen coat and raincoat. However, many people have more than that, as they often add a new coat or jacket every winter to build up a collection.

As a result, some winter wear may be several years old. Don’t forget that replacing it will cost much more today, and that’s the amount for which you have to insure it. With everything going up in price in these tough economic times, the cost of clothing will only continue to rise, particularly as a lot of it is imported. Even replacing a pair of jeans you bought six months ago will likely cost much more today.

* If everything in your closet were lost, what would it cost you to rebuild your wardrobe? Imagine having to buy everything from scratch. You need to think about what it would really cost.

Let’s take a professional look, for example. For women, beyond undergarments there would be warm tights, a skirt or trouser suit with a shirt, maybe a vest underneath for extra warmth, a cardigan for that little extra layer and a thick coat to top it off. Add shoes and a pretty necklace with matching earrings - and of course a splash of perfume, from the bottle carried around in a handbag all day. Men will have a similar situation with suit attire, perhaps including an expensive belt or a beloved tie, as well as some accessories such as a watch or cuff-links. Shoes are a serious consideration too - from your slippers to your designer leather boots, replacement can really add up.

* Some valuable items may need to be specified. While you wouldn’t normally specify that you have lots of scarves and gloves in your wardrobe, or that you have 10 tops in the same cut but different colours, and three pairs of boots from Italy, there are some items that can - and should - be specified.

Perhaps you bought a designer accessory on your last trip overseas or inherited something pricey. If you have any particularly expensive items, you should specify them. Also, when it comes to a handbag, just replacing the bag won’t cover the contents inside.

Make sure any make-up, designer sunglasses or brand-new wallet are factored into the overall replacement value as well.

Riana Wiese is an adviser at PSG Insure Meesterplan.

PERSONAL FINANCE