You may think that a homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for all your valuables, but policies may provide limited or no coverage for certain items — including generally expensive items — that are damaged or stolen.
For example, many homeowners policies generally have a $1,000 or $1,500 coverage amount for jewelry if the loss is due to theft. Such limits are in place to help keep homeowners policies affordable. However, if jewelry valued at $2,000 is stolen from your home and you have a $1,000 policy limit, you can only receive $1,000 from your insurer to replace the missing items.
That is when an insurance endorsement (sometimes called a rider) can provide increased coverage for your possessions. For an additional premium, this coverage can help protect you from the loss of high-end valuables such as jewelry, furs, antiques, artwork and collectibles.
Here are five tips that may help you decide whether you need valuable items coverage.
1. Read Your Insurance Policy
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your carrier. This document includes the limits of how much you will be compensated when certain valuable items are damaged or stolen. Note that certain items may not be covered, so be sure to carefully review your policy to determine whether you have insurance that meets your needs. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent.
2. Have Your Valuables Appraised
You may have possessions that are worth more than you think. To help you decide whether you need additional coverage, it may be helpful to have them appraised. An appraisal can help you determine if your homeowners insurance policy covers the full value of your property, as some items may not be covered.
The value of some items, such as collectibles or jewelry, may be difficult to determine without professional assistance. It may be necessary to have your valuables reappraised periodically. If they increase in value, you may need additional coverage.
3. Create a Home Inventory
You may not be able to make a decision about whether to buy additional coverage until you know exactly what you own. You may want to take stock of your possessions by creating an inventory. Do not forget to check your garage, basement or attic for stored valuables, such as antiques and coin collections.
Be sure to list all items of value and include copies of receipts or appraisals when possible. This may help you if you ever need to file a claim with your insurance carrier.
4. Check Your Neighborhood’s Crime Rate
If you live in a community where the crime rate is high, you may have a greater need for additional coverage to protect your valuables. Police departments may track crime statistics and share this information with the public. You can consider asking your police department about home burglary trends in your neighborhood. Also consider installing a security alarm system. An alarm system may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount.
5. Take Stock of Your Electronic Equipment
In our increasingly high-tech world, people use their electronic equipment to perform their jobs and maintain social connections. In recent years, many new gadgets and devices have been developed that may enhance our lives. If you keep high-end computers and other electronics in your home, you may want to make sure your homeowners policy will cover their loss.
Safeguard Your Personal Valuables
Your need to insure valuable items is something you may want to discuss with your agent whenever you buy a homeowners policy. If you purchase additional coverage for high-cost items, it is a good idea to understand its limits and exclusions.