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Is valuable personal property coverage worth it?

Protect your high-value belongings and ensure replacement value.

You may assume that all the items in your home are covered by the personal property portion of your homeowners or renters policy. And for most people that might be true. But you may be underinsured if you have high-value items, such as artwork, jewelry or antiques.

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What is valuable personal property coverage?

Valuable personal property coverage allows you to schedule individual high-value belongings with their appraised value so you can be sure they’re covered. Separating coverage for your high-value items from your other property ensures their repair or replacement if they become damaged, lost or stolen.

How does valuable personal property coverage work?

Because coverage of your high-value items is considered an add-on, you must first have a homeowners policy in place. The personal property coverage from that policy will determine which items you schedule, based on their value.

For example, if your personal property coverage only covers items up to $2,000, then every item you own that’s worth more than $2,000 should be scheduled for valuable personal property coverage. To get as close to the full replacement value on your items as possible:

  • Use a current appraisal for each item. You’ll need an appraisal to schedule the value of your items, but for items that appreciate or change in value due to market fluctuations, it’s important to have the most up-to-date value. It’s recommended that you reappraise your high-value items every five years.
  • Keep your documentation safe. Part of scheduling an item is providing proof of ownership. You should keep proof, a photograph of the item, your appraisal and any cleaning, repair, or maintenance documentation in a fire-proof safe or safety deposit box.
  • Use a full description of each item. Make sure to fully describe each item in detail. For example, your jewelry descriptions should include the cut, carat weight and clarity of the gems as well as the purity level of the gold or precious metal.
  • Add coverage when you get new property. Call your insurance agent to make sure new high-value purchases are covered as soon as possible.

Is valuable personal property coverage worth it?

Your need for valuable personal property coverage will depend on what your homeowner’s policy already covers. If the items in your home are worth less than what’s already covered you may not need extra coverage.

But if you have a diamond wedding ring or family heirloom pieces, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what they’re worth. Keep these tips in mind to help you determine if a valuable personal property policy is right for you:

  • You won’t pay a deductible. These policies typically have no deductible, though you can choose to increase the deductible in order to bring down the cost of your premium.
  • You could get separate coverage. Separating your high-value belongings allows you to add coverage that isn’t in your homeowners insurance or tenant or renters policy. For example, some insurers offer mysterious disappearance coverage for jewelry, so if your ring falls off while swimming or you lose a gem while shopping, you can have it replaced.
  • Blanket coverage might be cheaper. A blanket plan sets a limit on your collection of items overall rather than per item. So if your homeowners insurance covers up to $5000 for jewelry per incident, you could purchase an additional $10,000 blanket policy and you’d be covered up to $15,000 for jewelry per incident.
  • You could save with discounts. To offset the increase in premiums, ask for available discounts. For example, some carriers will lower the cost of your valuable personal property policy if you keep some of your items in a security deposit box or in a safe, or if you have an upscale security system.
  • Bundle your policies to save. Scheduling your high-value items can sometimes bring down the cost of your overall homeowners or renters policy, especially if you bundle the policies with an auto policy.

What’s not covered by valuable personal property coverage?

With a valuable personal property policy, your coverage is only as good as you make it. If you don’t keep up on your appraisals, you could end up getting less in replacement costs than your items are worth. And if you don’t add in earthquake coverage and your items are damaged in an earthquake, your policy won’t pay for the repair.

Bottom line

Valuable personal property coverage isn’t for everyone. But taking inventory of your high-value items may help you realize the limitations of your homeowners policy. To make sure you have the best policy for you, compare your home policy options.

Frequently asked questions

How is my jewelry covered if it’s lost or damaged outside my home?

Your belongings are typically covered no matter where they are when they get damaged, even if they’re out of the country. But be sure to check on the limits of your policy.

What kind of items are usually covered by valuable personal property insurance?

You’ll need to read the details of your policy. Still, many policies will cover you if you use reasonable force to defend your property or other people. For example, if someone breaks into your home and you injure them using reasonable force to protect your house, you’d be covered under your personal liability if there was a lawsuit filed against you.

The value of the item is more important than the type of item. For example, the value of sports memorabilia can vary wildly. So while you may not need coverage for your entire collection, you should schedule items that are worth more. But if you’re taking inventory to determine whether this coverage is for you, consider the following high-value items:

  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • Electronics
  • Firearms
  • Furs
  • Golf clubs or other high-end sports equipment
  • Heirloom silverware
  • Jewelry
  • Musical instruments
  • Rare or collectible items
  • Wine collections

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