The importance of personal property can be measured in both sentimental and monetary values. Items may come into your possession through an inheritance, a gift from a loved one, or from a hobby or sport you love to do. As we close out the holiday season and enter a new year, it is a good time to take stock and determine whether you have valuable items that warrant extra insurance coverage.
Homeowners insurance policies offer limited coverage for expensive items. This could be all you need based on your personal property or it could leave you without adequate protection. Fortunately, there are ways to raise coverage limits to protect your valuables. The steps below can help prepare you for a conversation with your insurance agent to make sure you are fully protected.
What valuable items might be in your home?
When purchasing a home insurance policy, discuss with your agent if valuable personal belongings are kept in the home. The term “valuables” refers to an item that is expensive, rare or collectible. Insurance companies consider many items valuable, including:
- Fine jewelry/watches
- Sporting equipment
- Musical instruments
- Fine china and silverware
- Coin/Stamp collections
These items, like a wedding ring or antique collection, are likely prized possessions, and it’s important to get the right type of insurance and the right amount of coverage to protect them.
Does your policy cover these items?
Once you have determined you have some high value items in your home, check to see what your policy covers and what the coverage limits are. Note that most insurance policies have different coverage limits for damage and theft. You will want to discuss with your agent what perils (causes of loss) are covered for your items.
Get your items appraised.
To insure your items for the correct amount you will want to get them appraised by a professional. An appraisal will help determine if an insurance policy’s coverage limits offer enough protection or if extra coverage is needed. Valuable items can appreciate over time, so it’s a good idea to get appraisals every few years to ensure their value is accurate and the coverage is correct. Most companies will require a copy of the appraisal when insuring high value items.
Make a home inventory.
Every homeowner should have a home inventory of their personal belongings with a separate section for valuables. A home inventory is essentially a catalog of everything in the home and should include an image and description of each valuable item, plus the original value, date of purchase, place of purchase and the receipt if possible. Having a home inventory is extremely beneficial when filing a claim. A good place to start in creating one is to take a video with your phone, then watch the video back as you list the contents on a document that can be saved to the cloud or another safe place.
Purchase supplemental coverage if necessary.
A good way to insure your jewelry or other valuable items is to purchase a scheduled personal property endorsement. This add-on is available from most insurance companies, and it allows for an increase to the personal property coverage limit for specific items, like a fine art collection or sporting equipment. Purchasing an endorsement will raise the premium but result in a higher payout after a covered loss. If your items require even more protection than supplemental coverage can provide, there are many options for stand alone policies as well.