Whether you own or rent, it’s important to carry personal property coverage for your belongings. Most standard homeowners, renters, and condo-owners insurance policies provide this important insurance, but periodic coverage reviews are essential to ensure you are adequately protected. As 2018 kicks into high gear, take time now to review your possessions and make any necessary changes or upgrades to your coverage.
What is Contents Coverage?
Personal property insurance – also known as ‘contents coverage’ – compensates you when the things you own are damaged or lost due to a covered event. Basically, if it’s not a built-in part of your home, it’s probably covered. Imagine replacing everything you’ve acquired all at once after a fire or other devastating event. The costs would be enormous without contents coverage.
Generally, homeowner’s insurance policies list personal property details in Coverage C. Usually, the default coverage limits are set at 50 percent of the total structural coverage limits found in Coverage A. However, you may be able to increase these limits if they are too low to meet your needs. If you rent or own a condo, your insurer may instead let you choose your own limits, but it is important to get it right. That’s one reason why we suggest creating a home inventory to capture your actual personal property coverage needs.
A home inventory is an itemized list of all the things you own, from your dishes and cookware to your furniture, electronics, and apparel. If you already have a home inventory, it may be time to update it – particularly if you have added several new items since you last reviewed it. If you do not have a home inventory, there are several apps that can help you get started and then safely store your information in the cloud.
First, choose a room in your house to begin with, being sure to open every drawer and cabinet in the process. Start listing each item, working room-by-room until you have inventoried the entire house. Then, make a list of all the items you keep stored in your garage, storage building, car, and away from your home. Next, sort the items into categories for easy reference. Finally, validate your inventory with pictures, video, serial numbers, and purchase receipts when possible.
The claims process typically goes much smoother with a home inventory, since you can easily list each of your losses. Without it, many people find it difficult to recall of the items that were stolen, damaged or destroyed.
Once the damages are assessed, the insurance company typically issues a check for the actual cash value of your items minus your deductible. Keep in mind that actual cash valuation accounts for depreciation. If you instead want reimbursement for the full replacement value of new belongings, you will need to talk with an agent here at Patriot Insurance about adding a replacement value endorsement to your policy.
Also, the general coverage limit for your personal property may be enough to cover most of your belongings, but not all of them. That’s because personal property coverage typically includes additional limits for certain types of expensive items, such as cash, watercraft, firearms, or precious metals. In other words, you may need to schedule additional coverage for the $3,000 wedding rings that are only insured at $1,500 by your policy.
For more information about how you can improve your personal property insurance for 2018, contact our office today.