How to insure valuable items

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It is especially important for those who keep valuable items in their home to safeguard belongings from theft and damage. Buying property insurance is a good first step, but it’s important not to assume that home insurance will cover all high-value items.

Standard home and renters insurance policies offer limited coverage for expensive items, leaving the insured without adequate protection. Fortunately, most insurance companies offer ways to raise coverage limits to protect valuables.

What valuable items might be in your home

When purchasing a home insurance policy, insurance carriers will ask if valuable personal belongings are kept in the home. The term “valuables” refers to an item that is expensive, rare or collectible. Insurance companies consider many items valuable, including:

  • Fine jewelry
  • Watches
  • Art
  • Furs
  • Fine china and silverware
  • Coins
  • Stamp collections
  • Firearms
  • Sporting equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Cameras
  • Electronics
  • Medical devices

Tips for insuring your valuable items

Valuable items, like a wedding ring or antique collection, are likely prized possessions, and it’s important to get the right type of insurance and the right amount of coverage to protect them. Here are some tips for insuring valuables:

Check what your policy covers

Whether it’s homeowners or renters insurance, check to see what the policy covers and what coverage limits are for valuables. Note that most insurance policies have different coverage limits for damage and theft. Find out if the policy includes all perils or named perils coverage for personal property to determine what losses are covered under your policy.

Get your items appraised

If unsure how much valuable items are worth, consider getting them appraised by a professional. An appraisal will help determine if an insurance policy’s coverage limits offer enough protection or if extra coverage is needed. Because some valuable items appreciate over time, it’s a good idea to get appraisals every few years to ensure their value is accurate and the coverage is sufficient.

Make a home inventory

Every homeowner should have a home inventory of their personal belongings with a separate section for valuables. A home inventory is essentially a catalog of everything in the home and should include an image and description of each valuable item, plus the original value, date of purchase, place of purchase and the receipt if possible. Having a home inventory comes in handy when filing a personal property claim.

Upgrade to replacement cost coverage

Most home and renters insurance policies reimburse damaged or stolen personal property at their actual cash value (ACV). With ACV, payouts for the damaged or stolen item include depreciation. Upgrading to a replacement cost value (RCV) policy helps ensure a payout for the item’s original cost without depreciation. RCV policies are more expensive than ACV policies, but the claim payout is higher.

Purchase an endorsement

One good way to insure jewelry or other valuable items is to purchase a scheduled personal property endorsement. This add-on policy is available from most insurance companies, and it allows for an increase to the personal property coverage limit for specific items, like a fine art collection or firearm. Purchasing an endorsement will raise the premium but result in a higher payout after a covered loss.

Consider a buyer’s protection plan

When purchasing new valuable items, consider purchasing a buyer’s protection plan from the merchant. Popular with jewelry and electronics companies, a buyer’s protection plan offers coverage on top of what a standard home or renters insurance already includes. There is usually a monthly or annual fee, but it may cost less than buying an add-on policy.

How homeowners insurance covers valuables differently than renters insurance

Homeowners insurance and renters insurance both offer coverage for valuables, but the coverage limits vary. Typically, home insurance policies offer more coverage for valuable items than renters insurance policies.

Home insurance policies also include more options for valuables add-on coverage. It is important to determine coverage needs with either type of policy and purchase additional coverage if extra protection is needed for valuable personal belongings.

Homeowners insurance Renters insurance
Higher valuables coverage limits Lower valuables coverage limits
Covers items anywhere in the house Covers items anywhere in the building
More options for add-on coverages Few or no options for add-on coverages
More expensive premiums Less expensive premiums

Frequently asked questions

What is the best home insurance company?

There are dozens of home insurance companies on the market, and they each have strengths and weaknesses. The best home insurance company for each person depends on unique coverage needs and budget. Some of the home insurance companies we recommend are Amica, Allstate and USAA. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare rates or speak with a licensed insurance professional before purchasing insurance.

How do I create a home inventory?

To create a home inventory of your personal belongings, the Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests working room-by-room and writing down a list of all personal belongings. It should include things like furniture, electronics, valuables, appliances, clothing, sporting equipment and office equipment. Photograph each item and include a short description, date of purchase, place of purchase, serial number and original value. Any available receipts should be included with the inventory. It’s also a good idea to keep a digital and hard copy of the home inventory file in a safe place outside of the home.

Is jewelry covered under homeowners insurance?

Yes, jewelry is typically covered under homeowners insurance. However, every home insurance company treats valuables coverage differently. According to the III, many home insurance companies only include $1,500 in jewelry coverage with standard policies. For renters insurance, the limit could be even lower. It’s a good idea for the insured to determine what their specific policy includes and look into scheduled personal property coverage or other endorsements if more coverage is needed.