It is never a pleasant experience when you have to report a claim on your homeowners insurance, but it hurts even more when the items lost are of special value to you. We all have items that we cherish and would want replaced in the event of a loss. For example:
- You’re just getting home from work after a long tiring day. You pull up to your driveway and notice that your front door has been kicked in. You panic and call the police-you’ve been burglarized. When the police come and you start rummaging through your things, you notice that the thieves took your wife’s entire jewelry box. In it, she had sapphire earrings, a diamond pendant necklace, your Rolex, even your great-grandmothers old wedding ring, made from semi-precious stones….
- He finally popped the question! You’re so excited you are running around showing everyone your beautiful new engagement ring. You drive up to your best friend’s house and run inside, hand extended when you notice that your center stone diamond is missing. You’ve been everywhere today, could you ever find it?..
- It’s the holiday season and your company’s annual party is being held in a fancy banquet hall. You decide to wear your beautiful (and quite expensive) fur coat to the occasion. At the end of the night, you head to the coat check to find that your fur is not there. The attendant points to the sign on the wall that states “not responsible for lost or stolen items”…
- Congratulations on your wedding! As having just got married; you haven’t had a chance to size your ring yet to fit your finger perfectly. No big deal, you could do it when you get back from your Honeymoon, right? While enjoying the salt water and sun of the Caribbean you realize your wedding ring has slid off your finger and is now lost somewhere in the ocean…
These are only a few of the situations that can be heartbreaking when it comes to coverage on your homeowners insurance. You may be under the impression that if any of the above were to happen, your policy would respond under your “contents” coverage. In most cases you may find yourself quite surprised, and very disappointed.
Most standard homeowner policies have a maximum limit of $1,000 for theft of jewelry, watches, furs and semi precious stones. With a standard homeowner’s policy, only one of the above scenarios would have any coverage at all, and that is the loss by theft. The items in the jewelry box might be limited to a value of $1,000 (in most companies) and subject to your deductible. In the other 3 situations, you may walk away empty-handed, with nothing to show for your loss.
There is a way to protect your valuables by doing what is known as “scheduling”. When you “schedule” your personal items, you describe each individual item on the policy by its appraised value. A detailed appraisal is needed to show the descriptions and values of each item. Many jewelry stores will appraise your jewelry for a minimal fee, or free if it is the store in which the item was purchased. Once your item is listed on your policy, your items are covered for “all risks”, instead of just loss by theft and are no longer subject to your deductible. “All Risk coverage” means that the company will extend coverage to your scheduled items for their individual appraised values, not limited to theft. Other covered losses under the homeowner’s policy will cover your jewelry/furs with no cap, but the burden of proof lies with you to prove you owned it and the item’s value as well. This can be quite difficult if you no longer have a receipt or some other proof of possession. Scheduling these items virtually eliminates the burden of proof in the event that the item is destroyed, because the company will have an appraisal for that item on file.
Unfortunately nothing could ever replace the sentimental value of your precious treasures, but by adding this inexpensive coverage you could at least receive the monetary value of your lost or stolen items.