Hands down, Christmas is my favorite holiday. The lights….. the yummy smells…..cherished traditions and of course….. the gifts 😉
But I’m pretty confident no one is thinking “Gee- wonder if this gift is covered under my homeowners insurance?” as they’re unwrapping it.
Thankfully, I do.
And that’s the “clause” I’m talking about here. An insurance clause within a policy that can either be your best friend or worst enemy. And most often it’s the latter.
So, here’s a list of some of the most popular gift items, how your homeowners insurance covers it and how to get coverage if a pesky insurance clause comes into play.
1. Jewelry. Who doesn’t like a nice shiny necklace or pair of earrings under the tree? Most ladies LOVE these gifts and let’s face it men- you become the hero pretty quickly don’t you? But here’s the kicker- most homeowners insurance policies have a dollar limitation for jewelry. No exceptions.
The standard amount is $1,000. And you only get coverage if someone steals it from your house. So if you have $5,000 in jewelry and someone breaks into your house and steals it, too bad. If you’re wearing a $10,000 bracelet and are out running errands, look down and it’s gone? Sorry about your luck. I’ve listed a solution below.
2. Guns. Guns have soared in popularity the last few years. And some people have quite a nice collection in their homes. But many of the same provisions that apply to jewelry also applies to guns.
Again, coverage is only available if stolen from your house. Unlike jewelry, the internal limit is a bit higher, around $2,000. But I talk to enough people to realize that guns can quickly add up. Even one nice gun can cost $2,000. What if you have a sizeable collection? Again, solution is below.
3. Electronic devices.The first thing that comes to my mind is my iPad. To say we are tight is an understatement. But it could also extend to smartphones, iPod, kids tablets, the list goes on right?
Electronic devices don’t have a separate sub category like guns and jewelry. In fact the standard homeowners insurance form states, “We cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world.
Pretty generous huh?
However, keep in mind that if you lose your iPad, iPhone, etc., your policy deductible would come into play. Just like it does for any other claim.
And there is also a “neglect” exclusion, which I’ve seen used before. For example, a client spilled a cup of coffee all over his laptop. Claim was denied.
So if all these limitations, exclusions, etc. are bothering you, here’s a few solutions.
- Many household items can be individually listed and insured on an inland marine schedule. For jewelry, an appraisal is all that’s required. It provides all the information to properly insure the item. This goes for jewelry and guns, but also for silverware/goldware, furs, precious stones and watches to name a few.
- For guns, a simple inventory showing make, model, serial number and value is all that’s required.
- For electronic devices, many homeowners insurance companies offer the option to also separately list the item. Truthfully, I would reserve this for the larger priced items myself (think iPad).
- If your homeowners insurance company doesn’t offer the option of insuring electronic devices, then by all means check out the options available via the manufacturer. Depending on what you have and the total value, I’m sure there are specialty insurance policies out there for just electronics.
The benefits of these solutions?
- Having a lower (or even $0) deductible for the scheduled items.
- Keeping the bulk of your personal property coverage reserved for the more important things, such as appliances, furniture and clothing.
- Avoiding arguments at claims time- a time when you’re already stressed and upset.
So my recommendation? Bookmark this post until after the holidays. And when the gifts have been unwrapped and all thank yous exchanged, come back and take a good read. Make your list and check it twice.
Because Christmas magic should last all year long.
Having over 17 years of experience and written the book on homeowners insurance, I am an expert and would love to help you with yours (Ohio residents only). Read my promise to you. Contact me to start the conversation. You can also read more about my book and buy a copy.
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope it’s beautiful, and filled with love. Thank you for your love, support, comments and friendship. 2013 has been amazing and here’s to an even better 2014.