Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Jewelry and Other Valuables?
When purchasing a new home, the focus is generally on protecting your asset with homeowners insurance. But does that mean your valuables – jewelry, fine art, antiques, and family heirlooms – are covered in the event something gets damaged or stolen? The short answer to your question is yes, all your property can be covered under a homeowners policy. However, one of the biggest mistakes consumers can make is assuming all valuables will be covered automatically. You may have to add some items separately to your policy. These items could include your jewelry, a coin collection, fine furs, and more.
But how can you make sure your valuables are covered?
It all comes down to knowing the right questions to ask. When buying a homeowners policy, it’s important to ask is about the limitations and exclusions. This means creating a list and reviewing with your agent. Because, while it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to read and understand an insurance contract, that responsibility can be overwhelming — especially for new or first-time homeowners. That’s why it’s great to have an agent who can explain what each line in the policy actually means.
Let’s talk about your jewelry, for example. There could be a limitation in your policy in terms of what is covered for loss by theft. If your house is robbed and your jewelry is stolen, for example, your policy may only cover the loss for up to $1,500. But what if your jewelry is worth more than that? This is a great example of how an agent can help you navigate the process of ensuring your specific valuables are covered. If I were your agent, I’d advise you to have your jewelry appraised for its full value and then we would add that total value to what we call a floater, or additional coverage above what the base policy covers. That way, you’ve insured your jewelry to its proper value in the event of loss, even in the cases of theft or mysterious disappearance.
What is the difference between theft and mysterious disappearance?
With theft, there is evidence that your valuables were stolen. Perhaps someone broke into your house, robbed your hotel room or held you up at gunpoint — each of these terrible scenarios would fall under theft. With mysterious disappearance, there isn’t always evidence. Imagine you head out for a round of golf and, before teeing up, put your wedding ring in your pocket. At the end of the round, you head back to the clubhouse only to discover your ring was no longer there. It mysteriously disappeared. With the right coverage in your policy, your valuable would still be protected, even in this case.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when buying a homeowners policy?
There are two common mistakes individuals make when it comes to home insurance:
Going it alone. This is one area where it pays to have a professional guide you through the process. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Find an agent and allow plenty of time to sit down and discuss exactly what the homeowners policy does for you.
Overlooking liability coverage. Just as with your auto insurance policy, liability coverage in your homeowners policy exists to protect you and your assets when an injury or personal property damage occurs on your property. Even if you are off your property, your homeowners policy may still cover you in the event of a liability suit. Liability insurance is relatively inexpensive, so you should consider buying it.
Buying your first home can be an exciting and scary time in your life. Understanding how your homeowners policy works and knowing your valuables are protected can help you sleep easier under your new roof.