You’re a diligent and responsible homeowner or renter, always ensuring your insurance policy is current and your payments are made on time. Some items such as appliances and furniture are protected from specific perils, other personal possessions, however, might have limitations to their coverage.
“Homeowners insurance is designed to help protect against unanticipated losses caused by fires, thefts and other disasters, but it doesn’t cover accidental losses like forgetting an expensive piece of jewelry in a hotel room,” said Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims, Bonnie Lee. “Additionally, high value items that are easily stolen or difficult to replace items may be subject to sub-limits, which is the maximum amount an insurer will pay as specified by the policy.”
To avoid falling victim to insufficient coverage, Mercury Insurance recommends taking the following three steps:
- Create and maintain an inventory. First and foremost, always keep an up-to-date inventory of your possessions. Be sure to take photos, provide descriptions, what you paid, and include the purchase date, serial numbers and copies of receipts when possible. Several apps and templates exist that make getting started a little easier, with an added benefit of allowing you to access your information from more than one location. The initial process of building an inventory may take some time to develop, but the end result will prove invaluable in the unfortunate event of an unexpected loss. Remember to add new purchases and gifts to ensure you have an accurate record of what you own.
- Get appraisals. An appraiser will help you determine the value of your hard to replace items. He or she will provide you with a written report, which includes the full description of the item and the procedure used to estimate the item’s current value. Pricing will vary by state and the appraiser’s area of expertise. American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers Association of America and International Society of Appraisers are great resources to find an appraiser who meets your requirements.
- Consult with your agent. Most insurers offer additional personal property insurance to cover expensive and/or irreplaceable belongings. First, confirm with your agent that you don’t need additional items appraised and double-check that your inventory has all of the information that would be required if you needed to file a claim. Then discuss how to amend your policy, if needed. One advantage of being a Mercury customer is you’ll have a local, dedicated agent to answer your questions and help customize your policy. Your agent may recommend raising your limit of liability or purchasing a “floater” policy, which covers losses of any type, including accidental.
Items that may not be fully covered by a standard policy include fine art, rare stamps or coins, wine collections, antiques, expensive jewelry and collectibles. Contact your insurance agent to find out what coverage is provided by your homeowners policy.