A red holiday ornament with a set of diamond wedding rings resting on top.

Personal Property Coverage Is Vital for Your Valuables

Another holiday season has come and gone, but the expensive gifts you may have received remain to be enjoyed in the new year. The National Retail Federation estimated that holiday sales during November and December 2015 would reach a total of $630.5 billion, up 3.7% from 2014.1 Approximately $34.2 billion was expected to be spent on electronic gadgets alone.2

Whether you received the latest high-tech gadgets, fancy jewelry, or other expensive items, you’ll want to know how to protect your new treasures. HDTV screens can accidentally shatter, gold earrings can mysteriously disappear, and flashy collectibles can be stolen. Consider protecting your pricey possessions with additional insurance coverage.

Insurance for Your Expensive Items

Most standard homeowners, condominium, and renters insurance policies limit losses for jewelry and other valuable items to between $1,000 and $2,000. Personal property coverage on these policies is typically restricted to certain types of losses and may be subject to a high deductible. If you experience the unexpected loss of your personal property, you might worry about how you could recover without additional insurance coverage.

Fortunately, your insurance company may allow you to add a Scheduled Personal Property endorsement or “floater” to your homeowners, condominium, or renters policy that can be customized to cover single items or a class of luxury goods, hobby equipment, or electronic devices. Examples include jewelry, silverware, computers, cameras, sporting goods, guns, musical instruments, fine art and antiques, coin or stamp collections, and other valuable collectibles.

Unlike the case with standard policies, an endorsement or floater typically covers full replacement value (up to policy limits) for all causes of loss or damage, unless specifically excluded. Covered situations generally include theft, unexplained disappearance, and accidental loss or damage. Better yet, endorsements and floaters typically have no deductible or a relatively minimal one.

So if your diamond engagement ring is lost in the ocean, your golf clubs never make it back from Hawaii, or your notebook computer accidentally takes a tumble, a floater could help you recover the full replacement value, up to policy limits.

Documents to Verify Value

To purchase extra coverage for personal property, you need a detailed description or photo of the items and a bill of sale or other documentation of their value. For some valuables, your insurer may request a recent appraisal from a recognized dealer or authoritative body.

Long-term policyholders who have collected jewelry pieces through the years might be surprised to learn that some items may be worth more now than they were when originally purchased or received as a gift. Therefore, if you already have a policy designed to help protect your fine jewelry, you could be underinsured if your coverage has not been updated to reflect the current higher value.

If you own personal property whose current value exceeds the coverage offered in your current insurance policies, ask your insurance agent about the costs and benefits of additional coverage for those belongings. You may find it’s a relatively small price to pay for the added protection.


1) National Retail Federation, 2015
2) CNBC.com, November 11, 2015

The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Emerald. Copyright 2016 Emerald Connect, LLC.

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