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Whether you own your home or you’re renting, personal property insurance provides crucial financial protection for all your most treasured possessions. But to be fully protected, you’ll want to keep an inventory of what you own and how much it’s worth.
Personal property insurance, also known as contents insurance, covers the cost of repairing or replacing your possessions when they are stolen or damaged due to an insured event. It’s usually included in your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
It covers everything from furniture and appliances to clothing, jewelry and your TV, offering financial protection if any of your items are damaged due to fire, storms, theft and a wide range of other risks.
There are two types of policies available:
Personal property insurance is designed to cover damage to or loss of the contents of your home. This can include:
Exclusions will vary between insurers, so it’s a good idea to check your policy to find out exactly how you’re covered. Common home insurance exclusions include:
Yes, contents insurance can provide cover for your personal valuables, including items such as jewelry, smartphones, computers, cameras and more. However, it’s important to be aware of any limits that apply to coverage. For example, your laptop may be worth $3,000, but your insurer may only pay a maximum benefit of $1,500 for any one item.
Most policies will include off-premises coverage, which covers your belongings outside of the home — like if your phone is stolen from your car. But it may have a lower limit, and not all policies cover off-premises losses the same way, so it’s a good idea to check with your insurer.
If you need to put some or all of your contents into a storage facility for a few months or longer, the good news is that many policies will provide coverage for your possessions while in storage. This means you’ll be protected if your belongings suffer loss or damage due to any insured event.
But terms and conditions will likely apply. For example, your stuff may need to be stowed in a lockable and fully enclosed storage unit that is located in a commercial storage facility and accessible only by you.
If you need to put stuff into storage so you can renovate, downsize or just find some extra space at home, contact your insurer to find out whether they’ll cover you.
When comparing policies, keep an eye out for the following features:
The right level of coverage depends on a few important factors:
It’s a good idea to go inventory your possessions before purchasing a policy — and update your inventory regularly. It can help you work out exactly how much coverage you need, and will make things easier if you need to file a claim.
Go through your house one room at a time and take pictures of all the important belongings you need to insure, writing down how much each would cost to replace. For example, in a living room this list might include your furniture, TV, stereo, DVD player and gaming consoles, coffee table, lamps and artwork. You can also save any receipts or warranties with your inventory.
Home inventory apps like Sortly and Magic Home Inventory can help make the process run smoothly.
To get the best deal on your insurance policy:
If you need to make a claim on your home insurance policy, you’ll generally need to:
Personal property insurance can help make sure that you’re financially protected if your belongings are damaged or stolen, and it’s usually included in other insurance policies. If you’re ready to find a policy that fits your needs, compare homeowners insurance or renters insurance polices to find the right one.
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