How do I document my belongings (antique pieces as well as other furniture, accessories, clothes, electronics, food in freezer etc.) in case I would ever have to make a claim? How do they determine the ‘costs’ to replace my belongings should I ever need to?
The first thing to remember is that you buy insurance to cover losses that you can’t afford yourself. So you don’t want to be underinsured.
Chances are there’s a lot of stuff in your home. Furniture, everything hanging on your walls, stuck in your closets and cabinets are all considered household possessions. And, don’t forget appliances, clothing and toys, too.
Justify the additional coverage by taking an inventory and put a value on yourr stuff. The list should include prices paid and when the item was purchased. Model numbers should be noted. Pictures or videotapes of the items are also helpful. Don’t make it overly complicated and give up on the process. Any information is better than no information. Guess where necessary.
You can talk with the agent about how much coverage you need. Ask about more than just the total covered. Some categories aren’t covered adequately by standard homeowners’ policies. Many of us have jewelry or some type of collection. Even though you might not spend that much on any one item, it’s possible that the entire collection has a significant value.
Ask about exclusions. Are there specific things that your policy won’t pay on? Antiques are commonly excluded. It also could exclude any keepsake items. Grandma might not have been wealthy. But some of her things could have appreciated significantly since they were purchased many years ago.
Most policies will not pay more than $2,500 for any individual item. Thresholds vary with insurers so ask your agent.
Think of all of the contents of your bedroom. Difficult? Now imagine doing that for every room of the house after a fire or burglary. That’s what you’ll need to do after a loss.
Remember to store your list somewhere outside your home. Keep it at your place of work, safe deposit box or with a friend or relative. If you must keep it in your home, buy a fireproof box or store it in your freezer.
Talk to your agent about how much you’d be paid if a loss occurs. Most policies cover your possessions for ‘actual cash value’. For instance, your clothing would be valued as ‘used’ clothing. Never mind that you’d be hard pressed to replace all of your clothing at thrift store prices. Realistically, you’d have to buy some items at full retail.
But even that doesn’t eliminate every problem. Replacement cost doesn’t apply to some categories like antiques and collectibles. For antiques, you will probably need to either be able to demonstrate the value through comparisons to other similar items, or, better still, have an appraisal done.
If you have items that are valuable, you might need to get ‘agreed value’ coverage for them. That’s when the company and you agree on the value of an item now. If it’s lost later, that’s how much you’ll receive for it.
We hope each of you had a wonderful holiday & are staying warm. Please be sure to keep your pets inside during these extreme bitterly cold temps.
Thanks to Perfectus Elder for sharing this bit of humor…
>> At my age getting lucky means finding my car in the parking lot!
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[Call us to sell your small collection or if you have an entire estate to sell, call our friends at Rowley Auctions]