Whether it’s a collection of miniature thimbles or your grandmother’s pearl necklace, your collectables or valuables are priceless to you. Because they are so important, you may take for granted that your homeowners policy will adequately cover your valuable items for loss, but it’s important to realize there may be a limitation as to how much coverage you have for these “priceless” items.
Jewelry, silverware, fine arts, furs, coins, stamp collections, firearms, and musical instruments to name a few, may have limited coverage, if any, under your homeowners policy. It is also possible to have coverage on items such as those listed above, but have restrictions on how much would be paid based on what type of loss you’ve incurred, especially when it comes to theft losses. The loss of any of these items may also be subject to your homeowners policy deductible.
For example, an unendorsed, standard homeowners policy may limit the maximum amount you’ll receive for a theft loss of your jewelry. You may think you have coverage, but you could actually lose thousands of dollars because you are significantly underinsured and a deductible was applied to the loss.
So how do you make sure that you are adequately covered for your important collectible or valuable possessions?
- Take an inventory of your possessions. Refer to our previous blog posts for more on how to complete a Household Inventory.
- You may need to obtain an appraisal from a qualified professional. Have your appraisals updated on a periodic basis as the value of items such as gold, silverware, etc. may vary greatly over time. Requirements for appraisals usually vary by company based on value and the type of item being insured. One important reason for appraisals is that it may expedite the claims process as the file handler will more efficiently be able to ascertain the value of your items.
- When working with your independent insurance agent to insure your home, be sure to review your important collectibles, jewelry, etc. with your agent. When the agent is informed, he or she can discuss items with you that may have coverage restrictions.
- Your agent may suggest that you “schedule” your items on an inland marine floater for an additional premium charge. One benefit to scheduling your items is you may eliminate or reduce the deductible.
While many of your collectible or valuable personal possessions are irreplaceable to you, don’t find yourself without coverage should they be stolen, lost, or damaged. Ask questions, take notes, and talk to your independent agent to assure your coverage has enough value for your valuables.
I like the ideas of taking a personal inventory of your possessions as well as obtaining an appraisal to assess what your valuables are worth. My neighbor a few houses down was robbed last weekend, so I’ve been looking into ways to protect myself in case the same thing happens to me. I will start keeping a personal record and reach out to a professional for an appraisal as soon as I can.