Insuring Your Valuables

The Basics

Standard homeowners, condominium or renters insurance policies include a limited amount of coverage for jewelry and other valuable items. However, many policies limit the dollar amount of coverage for the theft or loss due to a covered peril on such items. To properly protect certain types of valuables, additional coverage is available through a policy endorsement or a floater.

Most Homeowners Insurance policies have stringent limits on coverage of valuables, which also may not cover loss through theft, accident or natural disaster:

  • As little as $1,000 for jewelry
  • Up to $2,000 for firearms
  • Up to $2,500 for silverware

Items that may require additional coverage can include:

  • Jewelry
  • Silverware
  • Heirlooms (furniture, paintings, etc.)
  • Rugs
  • Musical instruments
  • Fine Art
  • Antique china, crystal, decorative items
  • Designer appliances
  • Furs
  • Vintage wine
  • Collectibles (stamps, coins, glassware, etc.)
  • Firearms
  • Computers

Newly Acquired Property

If you are in possession of a newly acquired valuable item, you must notify your agent so that it can be added to your policy. You need not notify your agent the moment you buy a valuable item, however, avoid delay because automatic coverage lasts for a limited time! Many policies insure up to 25% of total scheduled insurance for up to 30 days from the date of purchase, and for fine arts you may have 90 days to notify your agent.

To make updates to your home inventory and make sure your item is properly covered, consider the following tips:

  • Take detailed photos or video to document the item(s)
  • Photograph valuables against a white background
  • Take photos of any serial numbers
  • Place a common household item next to valuables as a size reference

To properly itemize your valuable possessions, also keep records of the following:

  • Item description
  • Date purchased
  • Quantity
  • Current value
  • Purchase price
  • Retailer’s location

Minimize Your Risks

Consider these precautions to minimize the risk of theft, damage (click here for our article on how to properly care for your fine jewelry), and loss:

  • Always keep doors and windows locked to your home and car
  • Replace door locks periodically
  • When out of town, make your home appear lived in:
    • Place a hold on mail/newspaper at the post office
    • Ask someone to mow grass or shovel snow
    • Place lights on a timer in the evening
  • Put valuable items (jewelry, electronics, collectibles) in your carry-on instead of your checked luggage while traveling
  • If you must bring jewelry with you when outside of the home, keep it in a secure place
  • Store valuable items out of sight when you invite guests into your home

Coverage Options

Learn about the ways you can insure your valuable items. Endorsements are extensions, or add-ons, of your current Homeowners Policy that can increase the policy’s provisions. Floaters are separate policies specifically for the valuable items themselves, in addition to your other various personal policies. A floater may be necessary for extremely expensive items or complex collections or valuables that may require more extensive or detailed coverage. Your insurance agent will help you decide which is best:

Endorsements

Endorsements are additions to your homeowners, condominium or renters insurance policy that change or add to the policy’s provisions. The endorsement can cover property otherwise excluded from a basic homeowners insurance policy, extend the number of perils included, or increase the amount paid for a covered loss. The items of value are “scheduled” on a list that includes a brief description and the item’s dollar value.

To determine each item’s value, an appraisal or sales receipt is typically required. This will help ensure that, in the event of a covered loss, the amount of insurance is enough to cover the repair, replacement or cash payment of the item.  Items scheduled are typically not subject to the policy deductible.

Floaters

A separate personal articles floater policy may be used to schedule your valuable property that is subject to special limits under basic homeowners coverage.

Once you have an endorsement or floater, it is important to periodically review your policy’s coverage limits to minimize the likelihood of being underinsured due to outdated appraisals and inadequate limits of insurance.

The Cost of Coverage

The cost of coverage varies upon the item, but typically the fee is nominal. Our personal lines team of professionals can provide you with more information about coverage and an estimate for the cost of scheduling an item. Contact us below with any questions.