Insuring Your Valuables

Most homeowner policies provide very limited coverage for high-valued items. The reason? Valuables, such as jewelry, may be easily lost or destroyed and vulnerable to theft. If you only own a modest amount of jewelry (say just a few hundred dollars), perhaps the limited coverage provided by a basic policy is adequate. However, when high values are involved, consider buying special insurance coverage. A few options are available such as buying supplemental insurance that is attached to your home insurance policy or purchasing a separate jewelry policy.

Discussing what is needed and expected from separate coverage is very important. 
  • Does the coverage consider values that increase over time? 
  • Does it cover mysterious disappearance (when you know the property is gone, but can't pinpoint when and how the property was lost) and other causes of loss?
  • Does it just cover fire and theft? 

Discussing the coverage also helps you understand the steps you must take to make sure that you keep the maximum coverage in force and whether the coverage you receive is worth the additional price.

A standard homeowners policy offers a limit equal to half of the amount reserved for the residence (ex. Your home is covered for $150,000, so your contents and furnishings are covered for $75,000). While this is generous coverage, it doesn't extend to all types of property nor for all causes of loss. Certain types of property, because of its high value and liquidity, is far more vulnerable to loss...either easily destroyed, easily stolen or both. So, to compensate for this difference, insurers use coverage restrictions.

Theft Coverage Limitations
When property is lost due to theft, coverage under a standard homeowner policy is severely limited (generally $1,000 - $2,500) for the following types of property:

  • jewelry, watches, furs, and gemstones
  • dinnerware, serving sets, trophies and similar property made of or plated with silver, gold, platinum or pewter
  • firearms, accessories and related property

Other Coverage Limitations
Several categories of property are subject to very modest limits ($200 - $2,500) of coverage, regardless of the cause of loss (theft, fire, accidental breakage, etc). Specifically:

  • money, bank notes, coins, medals, gold, silver and platinum (other than jewelry or dinnerware)
  • securities, accounts, deeds, tickets, stamps, manuscripts, passports and similar property
  • watercraft and related property including their trailers
  • trailers not used with watercraft
  • business property located in your residence
  • business property located away from your residence
  • certain types of electronic property (CD players, DVD players, TVs, radios, computers and related accessories) which is lost or damaged while in a car or is located away from your home and used for business.

Handling The Limited Coverage Situation
Insurance companies are happy to provide more coverage, if they are paid for their exposure. Specifically, limited coverage can be handled using the following methods:

  • Increased Contents Coverage Endorsement - this form is only appropriate for property saddled with limited coverage for theft losses. This form is attached to a basic policy and it increases the theft insurance limit (i.e. for jewelry from $1,500 to $5,000).
  • Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement - this form is used for increasing coverage for property that has protection reduced for all sources of loss. The property is removed from the basic policy's limits and is covered exclusively by the endorsement. Each item of property has to be listed and assigned a particular insurance limit.
  • Inland Marine Property Floater - this method works like the personal property endorsement, except that it is a separate policy. This alternative is more appropriate for persons owning substantial amounts of high-valued property. In order to qualify for such coverage, you may need to meet special circumstances such as having a residential alarm system or make use of vault storage.

Another Advantage Of Special Handling
In order to arrange coverage under a schedule or an inland marine policy, the property must be properly valued. This often involves appraising the property. It's very helpful to have an expert source establish the current value of jewelry, furs or other valuable possessions. In fact, such property should be appraised every two or three years since their values often increase over time.

Jewelry

Behind every piece of jewelry is a story - a memory we want to protect.

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Antiques

Ancient times to Victorian, furniture to lamps- You deserve top value.

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Fine Arts

Pictures and paintings, rare books and manuscripts, marbles, bronzes and porcelains

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Cameras

Cameras, equipment, projection and lighting

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Coin Collections

Currency, securities, medals and metals

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Stamp Collections

Rare, appreciating, marketability and utility value

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Musical Instruments

Pianos, wind, string, percussion and electronic

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