As a responsible homeowner or renter, you go to great lengths to protect the things that are most important to you. Personal belongings, however, are often overlooked, with many people assuming they have adequate protection from the default coverage in their homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policies. While this may be true, it’s not for everyone. The only way to find out if you have the personal property coverage you need is by taking inventory of your possessions and comparing it to the information in your policy. In this month’s post, we here at Glass Insurance Center will help you start the New Year right with an updated home inventory and the steps you may need to take to improve or upgrade your coverage for the year ahead.
Take Inventory of Your Home
When was the last time you walked through your home and wrote down everything you own? Months? Years? Never? If you don’t have a home inventory or haven’t updated yours in a while, you could be severely underinsured without even knowing it. Not to mention, you might have difficulty recalling all of your belongings if you ever need to file a claim. It may be time-consuming, but the process is simple. It could also save you thousands of dollars if you experience a loss.
To start, decide where you will track your inventory. You can use pen and paper so long as you keep your document stored in a safe place. However, the Insurance Information Institute recommends downloading an app for simplicity and safe-keeping.
Next, start recording your items, one-by-one. We recommend going room to room, checking inside all cabinets and drawers. You should also include the items that are not inside your home, as your personal property insurance will likely cover your belongings against loss anywhere in the world.
Finally, gather documentation to support your inventory. This could be a list of serial numbers, a copy of an appraisal, or even a purchase receipt. You could also take a series of photos or video a walk-through of your home and all the things inside it.
Review Your Coverage
Next comes your insurance review. When you compare your home inventory with your actual coverage, there are several things you will need to check for. To find your coverage, you can scan your renters or condo insurance for Personal Property protection, or look at Coverage C in your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
The first thing you may notice is your coverage limit, which is often set at 50 percent of the total structural limit in Coverage A. However, there are also several smaller limits for ‘special coverage’ categories, which typically include high-value items like jewelry and silverware. If you have a collection of items with a value that exceeds the amount of your special coverage caps, contact an agent here at Glass Insurance Center to find out how we can help you schedule additional coverage specifically for those items.
The second thing you may notice is language regarding the valuation of your belongings. A standard policy only covers the actual cash value of an item or ACV. The ACV is the depreciated value of an item, which is not typically enough to purchase another item brand new. Here at Glass Insurance Center, we know the last thing you would want is to fill your home with second-hand possessions after a major loss. That is why we recommend upgrading your coverage with a replacement value endorsement that pays for the full replacement cost of your damaged or stolen belongings.
The last thing you may notice about your personal property coverage is the deductible. This is the amount you agree to pay out-of-pocket toward the cost of your claim in the event of a covered loss.
For more information about how you can improve your personal property coverage for 2018, contact the team here at Glass Insurance Center today.