What do holidays, special occasions, and inheritances often have in common? If you guessed the acquisition of a new possession, then you’d be right. While excited about your new big-screen, appliance, jewelry, antique, art, or other valuable item, you need to be mindful that acquiring such also increases the monetary value of your home contents. Your homeowner’s insurance should be updated to adjust for additions that add significant value. Here are four steps that can help you ensure your most valuable items are covered:
Go through your home periodically and take note of the most valuable items, as these are the items you want to ensure are insured 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 they are commonly targeted by thieves.
Home Inventory Appraisal
Some items are more difficult than others to give a 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 very useful in estate planning.
Home Inventory Documentation
Any item on your home inventory list should be visually documented with a camera or video camera. 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. You may store the photos or tape in a safe deposit box and/or upload them to an online photo storage site like Flicker or Photobucket.
Many homeowners have no idea what’s covered by their homeowner’s insurance until disaster strikes and they’re trying to submit a claim. Don’t leave yourself in the dark and compound emotional loss with financial loss. You may very well find yourself trying to replace expensive items out of your own pocket.
Make sure that you carefully examine your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you don’t suddenly discover a loss isn’t covered. You should pay close attention to any category that contains exclusions or limits losses to a specific dollar amount. 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. You should make sure that the coverage is suffice to compensate you should you suffer a theft or disaster-related loss. If you note any discrepancies or have any questions or concerns, then you should schedule a policy review with your insurance agent.