It only takes an instant for life as you know it to change. If the place you call home is destroyed, damaged, or burglarized, it’s not just the outside that counts; it’s the things you have on the inside that matter, too. That’s why most renter’s, homeowner’s, and condo-owner’s insurance policies include personal property coverage, which compensates you if your belongings are damaged, lost, or stolen due to a covered event. As we kick off a new year here at Integrity Insurance, now is the time to add up just how much personal property coverage you might need if you ever experience a loss.
Adding Up Your Coverage Needs
A home inventory is a reference point that simplifies the process of filing a claim. It also tells you just how much coverage you really need, which is oftentimes more than what a typical insurance policy includes.
There are a couple of important things to understand when adding up the value of your belongings. First, note whether your insurance policy covers personal belongings based on actual cash value or replacement value. Most standard policies include actual cash value coverage, which only compensates you for the depreciated value of your losses. We here at Integrity Insurance, recommend adding a replacement value endorsement to your policy to ensure you are reimbursed for the cost of replacing your items with new ones.
The other thing to know when valuing your belongings is that typical personal property coverage includes smaller caps on coverage for specific categories of items like furs, firearms, and precious metals. In other words, you need to add up the total value of your possessions as a whole, as well as the value of your special coverage categories. If your policy limits fall short of your needs, an agent here at Integrity Insurance can help you schedule additional coverage where needed.
Creating a Home Inventory
To start, the Insurance Information Institute recommends finding an app or a cloud-based storage solution so you can access your list of belongings from anywhere at any time. Take it step by step, choosing a room in the house and opening every drawer and cabinet. Write down all the things in that room before moving onto the next. Keep working through the house before moving onto the garage and any other storage areas you may have.
Next, substantiate your inventory with evidence of ownership. You might take pictures of your items or the receipts from their purchase. You could also perform a video walk-through of your home or write down the serial numbers of expensive items. When it comes to filing claims, the more data you have to validate your inventory, the better.
Finally, calculate the value of your belongings as a whole and categorically. This will tell you if your total coverage limit is meeting your needs. It can also tell you if the special coverage limits fall short of your actual needs.
Understanding Your Policy
Personal property coverage is typically found under Coverage C of a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Typically, the default coverage limit is set at 50 percent of the structural coverage limit in Coverage A. Your independent agent here at Integrity Insurance is happy to answer any questions you may have about your policy and help you discover ways of improving and upgrading your policy for the year ahead.