Right now, you might be pledging to get more organized, lose some weight, and reign in your budget for 2018, but the New Year is also a good time to conduct a personal property insurance review – particularly if you racked up on gifts during the holiday season. When it comes to personal belongings, it is important to know which items you have and how much they are worth. Continue reading to learn how you can inventory the items in your home and assure you are covered for the year ahead.
How Much Coverage Do You Need?
Do you know how many pairs of shoes you own? What about the value of your child’s toys? If a fire destroyed your home, how much would it cost to replace all of the contents inside? Whether you own or rent, you need personal property coverage for your belongings. This protection is typically included in most homeowners, renters, and condo-owners policies, but coverage limits can vary and may not always equal your actual needs.
If you have a standard homeowners insurance policy, for example, your default personal property protection (Coverage C) is probably set at 50 percent of your home’s structural limits (Coverage A). If you have a $150,000 home, that would equal $75,000 in personal belongings coverage. However, the actual total value of your furnishings, electronics, bedding, apparel, jewelry, décor, and other belongings could be worth much more. If you happen to rent, there may be no ‘standard’ coverage limits at all. Instead, you may need to determine exactly how much coverage you wish to purchase to meet your needs.
Take or Update Home Inventory
Here at Skeele Insurance Agency, we want you to be as prepared as possible for a potential loss. Insurance should never be a guessing game. Instead, we recommend taking careful inventory of your home and updating it regularly. For many, the New Year is an ideal time to inventory home contents, as expensive items like firearms and jewelry are often received as gifts in the weeks prior. Simply add these items to your existing home inventory, and document them with pictures, purchase receipts, and serial numbers when possible.
If you do not already have a home inventory, getting started can be as simple as downloading a digital app or writing down your items with pen and paper. The Insurance Information Institute recommends listing your items room-by-room or in categories. You should also list items that may not be stored in your home, but are still covered under your personal belongings coverage. Examples include items kept in storage facilities or those you keep with you in your car.
Click here to utilize our Personal Property Inventory Worksheet.
What to Expect from Your Personal Property Coverage
Like other types of personal insurance coverage, claims against your personal property insurance are subject to the deductible you choose. This is the amount you are responsible for paying out-of-pocket toward the total cost of your claim. The remainder of your loss will generally be covered up to the limits within your policy, which include both the total personal property limit and the categorical limits for certain types of items, such as firearms, furs, cash, trailers, watercraft, and precious metals. If the value of your items exceeds the coverage in your policy, an agent here at Skeele Insurance Agency will be happy to help you schedule additional protection to fit your needs.
Upgrading Your Protection
Finally, take time to understand how much you may be reimbursed for a loss. A standard insurance policy covers personal belongings based on their depreciated cash value – not the cost to replace them with new items. That means that instead of receiving $1,000 to replace your three-year-old flat-screen TV, you might only receive $350 to compensate for the value of buying the same TV in used condition.
No one wants to replace a houseful of damaged items with used goods and second-hand furnishings, and that’s why as an agency, we DO include that coverage in all of our quotes and policies. We want to make sure you have the best coverage when the time comes to use it. Just another perk to having a local agent to work with on writing a personalized policy for YOU!
For more information or to request a quote or coverage review, contact an agent at one of our upstate New York locations. We look forward to serving you soon.