What do holidays, special occasions, and inheritances have in common? If you guessed the acquisition of a new possession, then you’d be right. Before the excitement about your new TV, appliance, jewelry, antique, art, or other valuable item wears off, remember that acquiring new items also increases the monetary value of your home’s contents. Your homeowner’s insurance should be updated to adjust for additions that add significant value. Here are four simple steps for making sure your most valuable items are covered:
Step 1: Take a home inventory.
Go through your home periodically and take note of the most valuable items, as these are the items you’ll want to insure against damage or loss from events like theft or fire. For most, these items usually consist of electronics, jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, appliances, and rare items. If an item would be hard or impossible for you to replace, then it should be included. Also keep in mind that standard policies usually limit firearm coverage since thieves commonly target them.
Step 2: Get an appraisal.
Some items are more difficult than others to assign value, especially antique or sentimental items. A professional appraisal can be very helpful in finding out the true value of an item. It’s also useful for purposes of estate planning.
Step 3: Document your belongings.
Any item on your home inventory list should be visually documented with photo or video. This will speed up the claim process. Make sure the shots are clear and show the details of the item. It’s also a good idea to get a wide shot of each wall in every room of your home. Upload your photo and video files to an online photo storage site like Google Photos, or store hard copies in a safe deposit box.
Step 4: Review your coverage.
Many homeowners don’t know what’s covered by their homeowner’s insurance until disaster strikes and it’s time to submit a claim. You could find yourself trying to replace expensive items out of your own pocket. Don’t leave yourself in the dark and compound emotional loss with financial loss.
You’ve already done an inventory and appraisal. Now, it’s time to compare the value of the items on your inventory list to your existing coverage. Make sure the coverage is sufficient to compensate you should you suffer a theft or disaster-related loss. Pay close attention to any category that contains exclusions or limits losses to a specific dollar amount.
If you note any discrepancies or have any questions or concerns, schedule a policy review with your insurance agent — remember, we’re here to help!