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Including Contents in Property Appraisals

We all know the importance of obtaining a current replacement cost appraisal for your property, but what about appraising contents? Should contents be included in your property appraisal, and if so, when?


At Normac, we conduct appraisals to determine a building’s replacement cost in the event of a total loss. This includes the cost of materials, labour and professional fees, bylaw and building code revisions, demolition and removal expenses, taxes, and inflation. We call this the Total Insurable Value (TIV) and it is used for placing property insurance. You can read about TIV in more detail by clicking here.


There are certain property types that also require a valuation of their contents. In this blog post, we will look at the importance of considering contents in property insurance, the types of properties that commonly request this inclusion, examples of their contents, and the significance of asset lists.

Industrial Kitchen

Property Types:

The decision to include contents often depends on the type and use of property. When it comes to residential properties, contents like gym equipment or common room furnishings may be automatically included in an appraisal depending on provincial requirements, condominium bylaws, or client requests.



Normac’s standard approach to commercial properties is a buildings-only approach.  However, it is common practice to include contents in an insurance appraisal for properties such as those listed below, given their significant value and importance.  If you wish to have contents considered in the appraisal valuation, please inform us at the outset of the appraisal process

Picture of a hotel lobby
Hotel Lobby

Typical Content Types:

Let’s take a look at some commercial property types and examples of the contents that would most likely be included for each property.  



Hotels, Resorts, and Motels: These lodging facilities may include items such as furniture, bedding, linens, kitchen appliances, electronics, commercial kitchen and laundering equipment, banquet furniture and equipment, gym and spa equipment, reception equipment and furniture, etc.



Restaurants, Bars, and Food and Beverage Facilities: Food establishments may include commercial grade kitchen appliances, tables, chairs,  speciality equipment like the wine cooler or pizza oven, glassware, dishware and cutlery, cookware, and more.  



Educational Institutions: Appraisals contents in schools, colleges, and universities may include classroom furniture, computer labs, musical instruments, and other instructional equipment.


Medical Facilities: Hospitals and clinics often include medical equipment, patient furniture, and other specialized items like x-ray and ultrasound machines.  


Religious Buildings: Churches, temples, and other religious structures might consider including items like, furniture, seating, and sound systems.


Non-profit, Government, or Long-term Care Housing: These properties may have unique contents requirements, including specialized furnishings such as adjustable/adaptable beds and mobility aids.


Exclusions: There are a number of items that would not be included as part of the contents appraisal and that includes personal belongings of individuals living or working in the property or perishable items. Additionally, artwork, antiques, or religious artifacts would not be included as it can be challenging to estimate original costs, they tend to appreciate at a different rate over time than standard contents, and often, they are simply not replaceable.


It is our recommendation and in your best interest that for these assets, you keep these items listed separately and have a professional specializing in artwork, antiques, and religious artifacts provide valuations for these items regularly.  

Picture of a classroom

The Need for an Asset List:

Creating a comprehensive asset list is a critical step when including contents in an appraisal. Often, when appraising a hotel or similar organization, an Asset Manager is able to provide an asset list, also commonly referred to as a Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E) list.


A good asset list should include:



  • At minimum, a detailed description of all items, including the purchase date, purchase price, model, serial numbers, quantity, and current condition.
  • Clear photos of the items, particularly for high-value or unique items.
  • Maintenance and servicing records, if applicable.
  • Documentation of any recent upgrades or renovations.


If an asset list is not available, our team at Normac can still help. Our inventory process involves multiple appraisers spending time on-site, meticulously counting and organizing items by room by room. We then apply values to each item or calculate a total amount for miscellaneous items. Conducting an inventory can significantly increase the scope of the appraisal. Having an up-to-date asset list can save you time and money on the appraisal.


Do You Need Contents Included in Your Property Appraisal?

When determining the appropriate amount of property insurance needed for commercial properties, it is important to recognize that contents can play a critical role alongside insuring the building and structure. This is especially true if these contents are vital for operating your business.



At Normac, we understand the complexities of assessing contents, and we are committed to working with you to develop the best plan for identifying and determining replacement costs for your contents. Whether you own a hotel, a school, a medical facility, or any other property type, we are here to ensure you have comprehensive insurance coverage. Don’t leave your contents to chance – let Normac’s expertise guide you in safeguarding your investments.

Normac provides three-year appraisal programs with complimentary updates. 
Our industry-leading reports are prepared by replacement cost experts.

Learn more about Our Expert Team
Read more about Insurance Appraisals