People don’t hesitate to invest in homeowner’s, auto, and life insurance— some things are simply too important to risk. Unfortunately, individuals don’t always give the same consideration to other valuables, such as coin collections, fine china, or jewelry. Some assume their homeowner’s insurance will cover all their valuables. However, every policy has limits, and following a loss due to theft or damage is the worst time to discover coverage gaps.
A multi-layered approach offers the best protection for prized possessions. Some strategies include:
Identify and Insure High-Value Belongings
Some purchases have obvious high worth, such as art or wine collections. However, people tend to take many of their everyday belongings for granted or assume they aren’t high-end. For example, technology is ubiquitous in daily life and may not seem insurance worthy. However, smart TVs, tablets, laptops, and smartphones can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. Personal property policies can fall woefully short of an individual’s coverage needs. Identifying all high-value items and insuring them accordingly can help replace the loss. Examples include assets that have appreciated in value, are worth more than $1000, exceed existing coverage limits, or would come at a considerable cost out-of-pocket to replace.
Appraise and Reappraise Often
Valuable possessions are rarely a set-it-and-forget-it asset. Collectibles increase in value over time, and failing to appraise them regularly can cause insurmountable coverage gaps if lost, damaged, or stolen. Specialized appraisers can provide an accurate value for the items and a certificate to validate their worth. Once individuals have this information, they can adjust their insurance policies accordingly. Reappraising valuable possessions every three to five years can prevent financial disaster following a loss and offer peace of mind.
Keep a Thorough Inventory
Identifying high-value items is a good starting point for determining coverage needs. However, a detailed record is essential to ensure that insurance payouts following a claim reflect the true value. For example, taking out a policy for jewelry up to a certain monetary threshold doesn’t guarantee the full amount following a loss. Precious gemstones can range widely depending on the cut, clarity, color, and carat size. A comprehensive inventory should provide in-depth descriptions of the valuables, purchase dates, costs, serial numbers (if relevant), etc. Inventories should also include photographs, video footage, receipts, and appraisal certificates. Protecting the inventory is also essential, such as storing a USB copy, receipts, and certificates in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box at the bank.
Protecting valuable possessions can be stressful and overwhelming. However, underinsuring cherished heirlooms or collections that took years to build can prove disastrous. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to help form a comprehensive plan to protect your valuables and put your mind at ease.