You should never rely on guesses when it comes to insurance coverage. For many people, personal property coverage needs frequently change – especially as new ‘toys’ are added to the household during birthdays and the holiday season. To track these changes and maintain accurate coverage levels, we recommend creating a home inventory and updating it regularly. To kick off 2018, we here at Imes Insurance are recommending a thorough review of your personal belongings so you can make important updates or upgrades to your personal property insurance coverage.
Take Inventory of Your Home
Chances are you bought or received several shiny new things during the holiday season. From TVs and computers to new clothes and jewelry, the easiest way to make sure these items are protected is by adding them to your home inventory and comparing their value to your personal property coverage limits. If you already have a home inventory filed away, now is the time to update it and perhaps even digitalize it for safe storage in the cloud. If you do not have a home inventory, follow these simple tips to get started:
- Download an app. The Insurance Information Institute recommends apps for home inventory organization and safe storage. There are several options available, although you can also use traditional pen and paper or a spreadsheet as well. Just be sure to keep your list of belongings in a safe place away from your home.
- Take it room-by-room. Listing all of your possessions can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a room in your home, and begin listing every item in it. Be sure to open every cabinet and drawer so as not to miss anything. Then, continue through the house until all belongings are listed.
- Remember the garage and storage building. It’s easy to overlook the things you do not see or use very often, but your personal property insurance likely extends to all the things you own – not just those inside the four walls of your home.
- Validate your list. You may need to prove that you owned a particular type of item after filing a claim, so we recommend taking pictures of your belongings and any receipts you have for their purchase. You should also record serial numbers for high-value items like computers and TVs.
Are You Fully Covered?
Take a look at the personal property coverage in your condo-owner’s, renter’s, or homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have a standard homeowner’s policy, this can be found under Coverage C. You may have been allowed to choose your own personal property coverage limit when you purchased your policy, or in the case of homeowner’s coverage, your policy may include default coverage equal to 50 percent of your total structural coverage (Coverage A). However, many of the companies we represent include as much as 80% of Coverage A as a default amount.
Either way, you should review your total coverage, as well as special coverage limits, to ensure your policy continues to meet your needs. Special coverage limits are caps on coverage for certain types of items, such as jewelry. For example, your insurance company may limit your coverage for all jewelry to no more than $1,500. If the value of your jewelry exceeds that limit, you may need to speak with an agent here at Imes Insurance about scheduling additional coverage for those items.
You should also consider how much you would actually receive in the event of a loss. With standard coverage, insurance companies typically reimburse policy-holders only for the depreciated value (actual cash value) of the damaged, stolen, or destroyed items. When you also account for your deductible, that can mean significant out-of-pocket costs for a claim. On the other hand, you could add a replacement value endorsement to your policy to ensure you are compensated for the full replacement cost of your belongings, which could mean a difference of thousands of dollars.
For more information about the ways Imes Insurance can help you upgrade and improve your personal belongings coverage for 2018, contact our office today. We look forward to serving you.