SCHEDULING YOUR VALUABLES
We all understand the importance of insurance for our homes, but does the policy you have include enough coverage for your contents or have limited coverage for some of those contents? All property insurance policies, whether home, condominium or tenants, will have some coverage for contents, but is the limit included on the policy sufficient for your need?
Some higher valued home policies will offer reduced contents options to offset premiums. Condominium and apartment dwellers are asked to estimate the value of their contents for insurance purposes. It may be tempting to place a lower value on your contents in order to save money on insurance premiums, but in the event of a loss, is it worth it? In addition, some contents are subject to ‘special limits’, due to their nature, example: Items that are easily lost or stolen, such as jewellery, collectibles, numismatic or philatelic property are typically included in those items. Characteristically, the maximum an insurance company for jewellery is between $6,000 and $10,000 for an insured claim. Bicycles, watercraft and other sporting equipment, may also be subject to limited coverage on your policy. Simply increasing your contents limits won’t help for these types of items.
So how do you protect your assets and ensure that you have the right coverage? Talk to your insurance provider about the limits on your policy and confirm what is included in your contents coverage. You may need to consider scheduling items of value to ensure you have enough coverage to replace or repair those higher valued items. Scheduling items of value will offer added protection and may reduce or eliminate deductibles. In addition, some carriers will offer additional coverage for newly acquired items of a similar nature to ensure no gaps in coverage if you choose to purchase an additional piece while you are away on holiday or on the spur of the moment purchase.
Therefore, it may be time to re-examine your personal contents. Have you recently inherited pearls from your mother or a pocket watch from your grandfather? Perhaps you are the lucky recipient of a gift of something small but very valuable, such as an engagement ring, family ring or necklace. What about that instrument you have had since you were a child? Perhaps you recently invested in that dream set of golf clubs. Maybe there is a vase that has been tucked away in a cupboard or a sculpture that you picked up for a song years ago at an auction, or a family portrait that hangs on the wall that no one has thought twice about for some time. How do you determine the worth of any of these items?
Jewellery should be appraised by a qualified gemologist. The jeweller you purchased an item from may have an appraiser on staff or make a recommendation of one. The piece of art purchased at the gallery may have a qualified appraiser or guide you to one. Your insurer may also offer recommendations of an appraiser near your home. An appraisal for insurance purposes should include the name of the owner of the item, a detailed description of the item, including a photo, the value and the name and credentials of the appraiser. The popularity of an artist or changes in the market values of precious metals and gems will cause values for art and jewellery to fluctuate over time; thus it is recommended that appraisals be re-done every few years to ensure the items are insured to a current and correct value.
Costs to schedule items may vary based on the number of items to be scheduled and their value, whether they are stored in a safe or vault when not in use; additionally if your home has a monitored alarm system. Some insurance companies offer the option of blanket insurance for jewellery or art, allowing you to select a limit on the insured value without having to itemize the list of pieces; a benefit for those who changeover pieces at times, however there may be a limited insured amount for any one piece.
It is important to speak with your insurance provider on the limits of contents coverage of your policy, how best to protect our assets and discuss options that are best suited for your needs.