With the holiday season just behind us and Valentine’s Day on the horizon, you may have new jewelry or other high-value items in your home that aren’t covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. Make sure you are taking the right steps to protect your valuables with these tips.
1 – Review Your Insurance Coverage
Your homeowners insurance policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts, so you may need to purchase additional coverage. If the cost of replacing your high-value items exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. Check your policy to see what is covered, or better yet, contact your insurance advisor to schedule an annual review to identify any gaps in coverage.
2 – Identify High-Value Items
The items you will need to cover with scheduled personal property coverage will depend on the coverage that is currently available on your homeowners policy. Once you have reviewed your coverage with your insurance agent, you’ll have a better idea of what items need additional coverage. Here are a few examples of items that might need additional coverage:
- Collections (coins, stamps, baseball cards, etc.)
- High-value tech equipment such as cameras, televisions, sound systems, etc.
The key here is to make sure your insurance agent knows if you own any of these items and knows what their value is. From there, your agent will be able to advise accordingly when it comes to purchasing additional coverage. Generally speaking, any item worth more than $1,000 to $2,000 should have additional coverage.
Something else to consider when identifying your high value items: “Is the value of the item mainly sentimental?” and “Is the item irreplaceable?” If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But talk with your insurance agent about these items before making that decision.
3 – “Schedule” Your High-Value Items
Once you have identified the high-value items, you can “schedule” those items by purchasing scheduled personal property coverage. Additional coverage, beyond the amount provided by your standard homeowners policy, is also known as a floater or endorsement. Your insurance agent can work with you to schedule the items you have determined need additional coverage. Here are a few things to keep in mind about this additional coverage:
- Consider your deductible amounts. The amount of your deductible impacts your policy premium. Any time you make a change to your policy, it is a good idea to look at your deductibles and see if any adjustments need to be made.
- Have an expert appraise the items you will be insuring. If you don’t know the value of the items you are ensuring, or if your insurance company requires it, you will need an expert appraisal. Each item should be listed with a description and the appraised value on paper. In some cases, a bill of sale for recently-acquired items may be accepted by your insurance company in place of an appraisal.
- Depending on your insurance company, there may be a limit on the value you can insure even under scheduled personal property coverage. If you have items that are above this limit, they will need to be insured under a different policy. Your insurance agent can make sure you have the right coverage for your needs as long as they are aware of the high-value items that you own.
4 – Keep Thorough Documentation
Should you ever have to file a claim on one of your high-value items, here are some things you can do to make the claims process go more smoothly:
- Keep copies of store receipts for purchases of high-value items.
- Take pictures of all high-value items. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from. In addition, a picture serves as a clear and permanent record that shows exactly what the item is and what kind of condition it is in.
- Keep copies of appraisals, photos of high-value items, and purchase receipts in your safe or in a safe deposit box. To avoid faded paper receipts and appraisals, and to save space, scan all documentation and store on a cloud-based service.
5 – Store Items Securely
When not in use, it is important that your jewelry and other high-value items are kept in a secure place. A safe in your home or a safe deposit box are the best options. While the right insurance policy for these items will ensure they are replaced if they are lost or stolen, we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.
For additional information and assistance in protecting your high-value items, please contact your Leavitt Group insurance advisor.