A standard homeowner's or renter's policy will cover many of these items, but only to a limited extent and under certain circumstances, such as loss due to fire or theft. If your homeowner's policy doesn't provide adequate protection, it's possible to amend your policy to increase the cap on a reimbursement or extend your coverage to include additional causes of loss. If you can't negotiate the coverage you need within the confines of your homeowner's insurance, consider purchasing a separate, specialized or scheduled policy for the following items:
Jewelry: It's pretty likely that the standard cap on your homeowner's insurance will not accommodate the value of most expensive jewelry. An easy option is to increase the liability limit for these items by paying a slightly higher premium but this still may exclude many accidental causes of loss. A good standalone or supplemental policy offer protection from the "mysterious disappearance" of precious jewelry, as well as stones that fall out of their settings, among other things.
Artwork: If you own one or two high-quality pieces of art, it's a good idea to have them appraised regularly and covered under a fine art "floater" on your homeowner's insurance. But if you are a collector or if your art is frequently moved around to different venues, a standalone policy is highly recommended. Art insurance specialists can help you accurately value your collection, and a specialized policy will guarantee coverage in a wider variety of circumstances.
Bikes: If you own a state-of-the-art bicycle, it's definitely a good idea to check into specialized coverage that will garner you the highest reimbursement in the event your bike is lost, damaged, or stolen. Policies for serious cyclists may offer coverage for rental bikes, theft away from home, and even event fee reimbursement.
Identity: Identity theft insurance (sometimes called identity fraud insurance) is now commonly available as an endorsement to a standard homeowner's policy or a standalone product. According to the Insurance Information Institute, "Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to crime victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports." This means it may help pay for everything from stamps to legal fees should your information be stolen. An identity theft policy does not reimburse you for money stolen via identity theft; however, it just helps you to pick up the pieces.
Instruments: If you're a casual player who uses your instrument at home, your homeowner's insurance may be enough to cover you if your instrument is stolen or damaged in a fire. But if you regularly travel with your instrument or own an especially expensive antique, chances are a homeowner's policy will not protect your instrument against the most likely causes of loss or damage. Musical instrument and gear policies are relatively inexpensive and will give you much more peace of mind.
Computers: Knocking a cup of coffee onto your laptop might ruin your day, but it doesn't have to become a nightmare. At the very least, be sure your homeowner's policy covers the replacement value (not the actual cash value) of your desktop or laptop. If you choose to go with a standalone policy, you can get coverage for all kinds of accidents, plus hard drive crashes, LCD issues and even WIFI failure.
The sky's the limit: No insurance company starts out with a standard vocal chord coverage policy so if there's something that is especially valuable to you, talk to your agent to see if it's possible to get more comprehensive coverage. Remember, if you choose to schedule valuable items under your homeowner's insurance rather than purchase specialized coverage, it's up to you to keep track of their value and regularly update your policy.
Questions? Call or contact Wilson, Timmons & Wallerstein Insurance, Inc. today.