So you've covered your home with insurance and included some contents coverage for your personal belongings, but is that enough? Having the proper protection on your items that you've collected over the years is part of your homeowners insurance policy.
Your independent insurance agent should be at the forefront when it comes to making sure you have the coverage you need on your home and your personal contents within your home. So get yourself an agent to help out.
What Is Contents Coverage?
Contents coverage in your homeowners policy will provide coverage for your personal belongings up to a certain dollar amount. Depending on the policy and the carrier, your contents coverage is a percentage, usually 50 to 70% of your dwelling amount or amount that your home is covered for.
You may look at this number and think it's too high, but you would be surprised to find that you have more than you think. When's the last time you cleaned out your closets? What about all those kitchen utensils you have and those clothing hangers and socks?
The point is, you have more than you remember and when a total disaster wipes out all that is your belongings, you may realize how much you're missing. Your independent insurance agent is your knight in shining armor when it comes to insuring your belongings.
What Types of Personal Property Are Covered under Contents Insurance?
So what's covered exactly? Your personal property includes a number of items such as:
- Furniture and decor
- Kitchen utensils, dishware, and equipment
- Appliances such as washer, dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, microwave
- Items used to keep the home such as rakes, lawnmower, and at times a golf cart or ATV as long as it's used to keep or take care of the property itself
Now, there are items that are not considered personal property as it applies to contents coverage, and those would be any items that are permanently attached to the home itself because that would likely go under the dwelling coverage. And anything with a motor is usually not included under contents unless it's used to take care of the home in some way, because that would likely go under an auto policy. If you own a boat and it gets damaged by a covered claim, you would need a separate boat policy to get insurance to pay for that and so on and so forth.
You can see why having a trusted adviser like an independent insurance agent to sort through this is helpful and needed. Make sure you're getting the right coverage for the right things so you're not left in the dark when a claim occurs.
Extra, Extra, Read All About It
What about the extras? You know — the bells and whistles for contents coverage. Well, those do exist and can be added to your homeowners insurance policy, making it more robust and even more padded with protection in the event of a claim.
Bells and whistles for contents coverage:
- Additional contents coverage: Most insurance companies have the option for you to increase your contents coverage as you see fit. For instance, you may have more items than the general 50 to 70% allotted to you for contents coverage. In this case, the carrier would allow you and your agent to increase the amount warranted since you have more items that need insuring.
- Miscellaneous disappearance: Think diamond engagement ring. If a diamond engagement ring was lost but not necessarily stolen or damaged, then depending on the carrier, this coverage can be added or even included.
- Accidental damage: Ever spilled your coffee on your laptop? Well, there's coverage for that and it falls under accidental damage. This coverage may at times be included already or is an endorsement added for an additional premium. Either way, it's good to have.
- Legal expenses: This coverage would provide finances to help pay for legal expenses should a lawsuit arise concerning contents. Usually, this will apply when theft is involved in some form or fashion but can be applied in multiple scenarios. A lot of the time it's a coverage that is included, but checking with your independent insurance agent is a good idea.
- Off-premises: Coverage for your personal belongings, while they are off your home's premises, is typically covered up to 10% if a covered claim arises while they're out. However, some carriers may offer higher or allow you to purchase more coverage for contents stored off-premises.
- Scheduled property: This is an endorsement that usually covers those larger priced items such as furs, jewelry, firearms, and so forth. What's good about scheduling some of your personal property is that the deductible will not apply when a claim occurs. The premiums are also very low and usually includes miscellaneous disappearance. Remember that diamond engagement ring?
Is Personal Property Covered While in Transit?
This sometimes can be a gray area, but with the proper coverage and a knowledgeable independent insurance agent, you're home free. So suppose you are getting ready to move to a new home. This home is nice and new and has that farmhouse sink you've always dreamed of, but what about moving all your contents from your current home to your new home? Who's responsible for damage along the way?
How it typically works with coverage for your personal belongings while they are being transported (aka in transit) is that your policy will respond similarly to the off-premises coverage.
Doesn't sound super helpful, does it? Remember that this amount varies from carrier to carrier and some may offer full coverage depending on how they write their policy.
But a better, or maybe the best course of action is to make sure you are hiring an insured moving company that gives you a guarantee in writing that they will repair, replace, or cover any damaged, lost or stolen items that they are hauling. Most moving companies offer something in the form of this and it may be a good course of action to take if you find yourself in this situation.
The best thing you can do when determining if your contents coverage listed on your home policy is in fact enough, is to take inventory. Itemize all your personal belongings. This will include things like the replacement cost or market value of each item as well as receipts if you have them and pictures.
Another thing to be doubly sure about is how your insurance company will pay out your contents coverage. Read the fine print, some carriers will only offer depreciated value, while others may offer full replacement cost. Get yourself a knowledgeable agent who's giving you all the facts when it comes to how your coverage works and options surrounding it.
Who Has the Best Coverage for Your Contents?
Insurance is such a personalized thing. Each carrier has different value propositions and each person and family has a different claim history, home and content values, territories they reside in, and insurance scores they represent. That being said, the best person to get coverage from is your independent insurance agent. The best company is entirely up to your specific scenario. You'll want to be sure you are being advised by an independent insurance agent who only works with A-rated carriers. That will ensure that the carriers they present have the reserves to back up any claims.
Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you. And as your needs change, they'll be there to help you adjust your coverage, up or down, to make sure you're properly protected without overpaying. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.