If you have been collecting valuable items such as artwork, electronics, or jewelry, you may be curious about whether your existing property insurance will cover those items in the event of theft, fire, flood, or another disaster.
The general guidelines below refer to the typical homeowner’s insurance policies, which may vary from yours. If you have specific questions about your policy coverage, always contact your insurance agent directly.
Standard homeowners insurance covers personal belongings to a certain extent. However, unless you set up your policy specifically for your collection, you may not have nearly as much insurance coverage as you think. Here are some questions to ask your insurance agent:
- Are there any exclusions in my homeowners policy? Some policies are automatically structured to exclude fine art and other personal belongings. Certain events may also be excluded from some standard policies; it’s always best to check your policy and consult with your agent if you have questions.
- If my collection is covered, what is my per-item coverage limit? In other words, what is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay if one item is damaged or lost?
- What is my coverage limit per category? This is the amount the insurance company will pay for all items lost within a single category. For example, if your entire home entertainment system is lost in a fire, what is the maximum payout your insurance company will offer? The category limit is often just twice the per-item coverage limit, even if there are many items in the category.
- How can I increase coverage for my collection? This is when you need to consider “scheduling items separately.” This means that your valuables are itemized on your insurance policy (at an additional cost) to ensure that the insurance company will give you a fair payout for your belongings if disaster strikes.
- Does my policy offer depreciated value or replacement cost coverage? Replacement cost coverage will provide you with a payment equal to what it would cost to replace a destroyed or stolen item. Depreciated value coverage will only get you the cash value of the item at the time of loss. Replacement cost is superior coverage; it’s also more expensive.
While homeowners can take many steps to prevent house fires or break-ins, some disasters are unpredictable and unstoppable. Here are four simple steps every homeowner should take as a precaution:
- Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you understand your policy and that it offers adequate coverage for your valuable possessions.
- Get your valuables professionally appraised and increase insurance coverage if necessary.
- Organize receipts, certificates of authenticity, and appraisal records for your collection, and keep them in a secure place, such as a fireproof safe or safe deposit box at your bank.
- Document your valuables in a digital, cloud-based home inventory with photographs.
Homeowners are often surprised to learn that getting their damaged electronics repaired can be more affordable than replacing them. You may be shocked to learn that water damage, soot, and pest damage can be repaired by a skilled electronics technician. If you are interested in getting appliances, electronic devices, or even vintage electronics repaired, ERS can help. We work closely with insurance adjusters every day to help people get their possessions back after unfortunate events. Call 866-225-5377[KC2] to speak with an expert at ERS.
Trust our friends at Art Recovery Technologies to restore your artwork after a fire, water damage, or vandalism.