Personal Property Coverage
Deductible May Apply
Alice Yao | Updated August 21st, 2020
Personal property coverage is a very important component of a property insurance policy because it offers protection for the things that are endearing to us. Though it may not replace the emotional bond of loss items, personal property coverage can provide relief in the form of financial restitution.
In this article, we will go over the coverage in these topics:
- What are covered under personal property coverage?
- How much personal property coverage do I have?
- Do I have enough coverage for my belongings?
- What if I need more coverage for high value items?
- What are excluded in personal property coverage?
What are covered under personal property coverage?
Exactly like its name, this coverage provides financial protection for all of your personal belongings. Here is a list of the most common examples:
- Indoor and outdoor furniture
- Kitchen appliances
- Lawn care equipment
Note that built-in appliances and other things that are attached to the wall or other structures in your home may be considered part of dwelling, and they are included as part of the dwelling coverage in your homeowners policy.
Coverages for theft away from home
If you are traveling out of town or just out for dinner with friends, your personal things are also covered against theft under this coverage.
Keep in mind that your insurance company may require filing of a police report in order to document the theft of your personal property.
How much personal property coverage do I have?
On most standard homeowners policies, the coverage amount for personal property insurance is calculated at a percentage of the dwelling coverage. In our experience, most policies insure this coverage between 50% and 70% of the dwelling coverage amount as a standard.
Many insurance companies keep personal property coverage at a fixed percentage of the dwelling coverage because they have already factored that percentage and dollar amount into its base coverage premium. Some companies provide flexible options to choose the coverage from a range of 40% to 75%.
Here are some examples of the coverage options relative to dwelling coverage amount:
Because personal property coverage is based on a percentage of the dwelling coverage, it is important to make sure your dwelling coverage is adequate in your homeowners policy.
A good way to check whether you have sufficient dwelling coverage is to approach it from the replacement cost estimate.
More information: Home Replacement Cost.
Do I have enough coverage for my belongings?
To answer this question, we recommend creating a simple spreadsheet to track all of your personal items. This spreadsheet does not need to be comprehensive, just a few basic information such as the type of personal items and their combined value.
Here is a basic example of such list:
|*insert type||*insert value|
In our experience, we find that taking pictures with our smart phone is a great supplement to the spreadsheet. Pictures offer a great visual to easily identifying your items and labeling them with name and value.
After taking pictures of your room, you can use a basic graphic program such as Microsoft Paint to add name and estimated value next to each of your personal property. Above image is an example using our stock footage to illustrate how items were labeled using a graphic program.
This method of storing information will not only make it easy to identify the value of your personal property, but could also serve as a reminder to where your things were placed when you move to a new place.
What if I need more coverage for high value items?
Most insurance companies have a set coverage limit for high-value items in personal property coverages, things such as:
- Jewelry and fur
- Silverware and other tableware of high value
- Artwork, antiques, and other collectibles
- Recording or storage media
- Expensive tools
- Riding lawn mower
The most common example is jewelries. In most standard homeowners policy, the theft coverage for jewelries is limited to $5,000 and often capped at $1,000 per single item.
In order to adequately cover your jewelries and other valuables, you can choose to add a scheduled personal property endorsement on to your homeowners policy. An endorsement is an add-on coverage to your homeowners policy to include additional protection for specified items.
The scheduled personal property endorsement allows you to itemize your valuables individually and insure them at their recent appraised value. This added endorsement allows higher coverage, so you are not limited to the standard coverages of your homeowners insurance.
If you have these high-value possessions, we strongly recommend talking to your insurance agent about scheduling and adding them as an endorsement to your property insurance.
More information: Scheduled Personal Property Coverage.
What are excluded in personal property coverage?
Personal property coverage falls under the same exclusions as your property insurance policy. The most common exclusions are:
- Wear and tear
- Insect and vermin infestations
- Intentional damage
- Nuclear damage
- Act of war
- Acts of government
Beyond these exclusions, your insurance company may have specific exclusions for personal property coverage. Some of the common ones that we come across are:
- Motorized vehicles that are powered or assisted by a motor or engine.
- Property of tenants not related to the homeowner.
- Property rented to others and not located on the insured premises.
- Satellite dish antennas and their systems.
- Money, bank notes, coins, etc.
Many situations are unique and every insurance company has its own guidelines. We always recommend talking to your insurance agent to discuss your coverages in detail. Working with an insurance agent is the best way to make sure you are properly covered.
By Alice Yao |