Protecting Your Most Treasured Possessions

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By Victoria Ostrosky

Victoria Photo

Stephen pulled the leftovers from the refrigerator where his wife Julie had stored them after their meal with her parents a few nights earlier. As he sat down at the table, he began leafing through the small pile of mail that had accumulated over the last few days.

Sandwiched between two pieces of junk mail was his homeowners insurance renewal information. As he opened the envelope his mind began to wander. His in-laws had asked him just the other day if Julie’s engagement and wedding rings were insured. He said, of course they were! Which made him wonder if they actually were. He had spent a tidy sum on them.  His new Declarations Page was showing he had plenty of contents coverage, so he figured he was good. Just to be on the safe side, though, Stephen made a mental note to contact his agent in the morning and ask. When he called, Stephen found out some interesting things about contents, coverage and collections.

On most homeowners policies there are what’s called ‘special limits of liability’ for certain items of personal property. For example, the typical limit for loss by theft of jewelry, guns, furs, money, precious and semi-precious stones, is $1,000. That’s not for each piece – that’s in total. So, if your home gets broken into, and the thieves make off with your Rolex and your wife’s entire jewelry collection of necklaces and rings and bracelets, you’ll get some sad news from the insurance adjuster. A solution for some is a broadened endorsement you can add to your homeowners’ policy which increases these limits to $2,500 or even $5,000.

However, for customers with larger collections of jewelry, fine art or guns, for example, there is the option of scheduling. Some advantages of scheduling your collection on a separate Personal Articles Floater (PAF), is that you’ll have worldwide coverage, coverage for mysterious disappearance, coverage for property in transit, and for some carriers, when it’s on display. Another good benefit is that it doesn’t deplete the personal property coverage of covered perils on your homeowners policy. Scheduled items with value over a certain limit, for example, $5,000, will need either an appraisal or a paid receipt if it’s a recent purchase, along with a complete description and photo of each item in the collection, such as each piece of jewelry or art, firearms, stamps, or musical instruments.

A third option is a blanket policy that is just like it sounds. You purchase a set amount, such as $100,000, that covers every item in a specific collection like jewelry, for example, with usually a limit for any one item at $10,000. You also have the option of a combination of scheduled and blanket items on the same PAF, depending on the carrier.

Stephen, after discussing the value of Julie’s rings with his agent, took out a PAF for not just her rings, but his watch, and several pieces of original artwork. Now he could tell his in-laws that Julie’s rings were protected, and it would be a true statement.

You invested a lot in your valuable private collections. Make sure you have the right coverage to protect each piece. Talk to your agent today to find out the best option for you. Victoria Ostrosky is an agent/CSR with Isurance Zone in Santa Rosa Beach and Miramar Beach.