For years, when a homeowner suffered a property loss that included damaged clothing and other textiles, the items either were written off as a total loss or dropped off at a nearby retail dry cleaner. Today, insurance carriers are realizing the significant indemnity savings of restoration compared to replacement, and specialized service providers offer a viable option for reducing severity while improving customer satisfaction.

As contents has become a large, fast growing claim category, textiles — including garments, window treatments, bedding, shoes, purses, hats, belts, rugs, and stuffed animals — have grown to encompass 23 percent of the number of items in a home, the largest component. (Electronics account for 19 percent; furniture comes in at 18 percent, along with toys, food and miscellaneous household goods; tools and equipment comprise 14 percent; and luxury goods equate to eight percent.) Homeowners’ textiles can be surprisingly valuable; a typical family of four can easily accumulate $25,000 in clothing within a few short years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Americans spent $345 billion on shoes and clothes in 2005. Additionally, heirloom-quality and one-of-a-kind specialty textiles have a high sentimental value for the insured.

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