Whether you’ve hit up a recent sale, received an expensive gift, or already have some valuable belongings at home, it’s important to determine if those items need additional insurance coverage should something ever happen to them. Knowing these investments are protected can bring you important peace of mind. Follow this guide for understanding and navigating your options and finding the right insurance coverage for you.
WHAT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED A VALUABLE ITEM?
When you purchase a homeowners, condo, or renters insurance policy, the insurance carrier may ask you if you have any valuable personal belongings inside your home. “Valuable” refers to an item that’s expensive, rare, or collectable. Examples of these items may include:
- Fine jewelry, like an engagement ring or wedding band
- Fine china and silverware
- Musical instruments
- Electronics, like a TV
- Medical devices
- Coin or stamp collections
DO YOU NEED EXTRA INSURANCE FOR VALUABLE ITEMS?
Most standard home insurance policies will cover some valuable items, though they will have coverage limitations or may contain certain stipulations about which valuable items are and aren’t covered. So, it’s important to review your policy with your insurance agent to ensure your items are properly covered.
For example, the average cost of an engagement ring in 2023 is around $6,000. However, your policy may only cover $1,000 worth of jewelry. If your ring is worth more than that, it likely wouldn’t be fully covered if lost or stolen.
Or, say you have a variety of collectables that total $5,000—but most policies only cover collectibles up to $2,000. Adding extra insurance would ensure your collection is covered at its full value.
If you have items whose value exceeds the current liability coverage on your existing policy, you should consider extra insurance.
TIPS ON HOW TO INSURE VALUABLE ITEMS
It’s important to get the right type of insurance and the right amount of personal property coverage for your expensive and valuable items. Here are some tips: Check what your policy currently covers. Review your current homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy to see what the policy covers and what coverage limits are for any valuables. Typically, each policy will have different coverage limits for damage vs. theft, so understand what losses are covered under yours. If you need help, talk to your insurance agent.
MAKE A HOME INVENTORY
Next, make a list of all the valuable items for which you’d like to secure additional coverage. This could include jewelry, artwork, silver, vintage items, heirlooms, or other items with a high value.
GET YOUR ITEMS APPRAISED
Once you know what items you want insured, you need to know how much they are worth. If you aren’t sure, consider getting them appraised by a professional as this will help determine if your policy’s current coverage limits are enough or if extra coverage is needed. You should have a clear understanding of each individual item’s value and the total combined value of the items you’re seeking to insure.
Also know that some carriers require an appraisal or receipt to prove the value of your item. Because some valuable items appreciate over time, you may want to get appraisals every few years to ensure their value is accurate and your coverage is sufficient.
ADD IT TO YOUR POLICY
Again, while your existing policy may include some coverage for valuable items, the coverage is often limited and comes with additional stipulations. Talk to your insurance agent to learn about what options are available to you. The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following two options for consideration:
- Increase the limit of the liability: If your current coverage limits are low, you may be able to increase them. By increasing limits, you’ll get more coverage for your valuables in the event of disaster, theft, or other incident. For example, you may be able to increase your coverage for jewelry from $1,000 to $5,000.
- Purchase a floater policy: A Personal Article Floater (PAF) is personal property protection designed to cover specific items. These can be purchased separately or attached to an existing homeowners policy. You can list the particular items of value you want covered and choose the coverage limit you need. A PAF can be a good choice if the value of a single item exceeds policy limits of your homeowners policy, or when you have a significant number of valuable items to insure. These policies can be customized to your needs and protect against a wider range of risks.
HOW MUCH DOES EXTRA INSURANCE COST?
The cost of adding extra insurance coverage to your policy depends on factors like the value of your items and the extent to which you want them covered. It will also vary based on where you live and your insurance carrier. Your insurance agent can help you determine how much will be added to your insurance premium, and whether adjusting your deductible can impact your premium.
HOW DOES EXTRA INSURANCE WORK?
This depends on the type of extra insurance you get (increasing liability or a PAF). Most policies will run the gamut in terms of coverage, including if items are lost, damaged, or stolen. PAF policies are typically much more comprehensive than traditional policies and they may cover more situations. Your insurance agent will be able to outline the options and scenarios for you.