Personal property riders: improve your homeowners insurance

Examples of personal property riders
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Policy riders can sometimes be confusing, particularly for homeowners or renters insurance policies. A personal property rider is an amendment, or addition, providing you with additional coverage for your policy. When you purchase a homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy, it’s with the understanding that your possessions are covered — so, when and why would you need additional coverage?

Why isn’t my homeowners insurance coverage sufficient?

Your standard homeowners policy covers your belongings, but it typically will have limits on how much it will pay for certain more valuable items if they are damaged or stolen. So, in order to protect items that fall into this category, you will want to purchase additional coverage in the form of a rider to your base policy.

When should you consider a valuable property rider?

The first thing you should do when considering a valuable property rider is to take a look at your homeowners or renters policy and see what the coverage limits are. These limits are detailed in your policy. Make note of the limits for jewelry, artwork, antiques, guns — any category mentioned in the policy that includes items you have in your home. Then, make a list of what you have and see if the value of what you own is above or below the limits stated in your policy.

If you have a collection of items, such as musical instruments, you may want to investigate purchasing what is called “blanket” coverage. Blanket coverage is designed to cover a collection, but make sure to check what the per-item limits are. For example, if you have a collection of trumpets and one of them is worth $5,000 but the per-item limit in your blanket policy is $2,500, consider purchasing an individual rider for that higher-value trumpet in addition to the blanket policy. If the collection is damaged or stolen, the blanket coverage would only cover up to the $2,500 limit for that more valuable piece — minus the deductible.

Jewelry is a very common category for valuable property riders, engagement rings in particular. Furs, silverware, and antiques also will typically have limits on how much a homeowners policy will cover. Sometimes, you might need to have an item professionally appraised to determine proper coverage. This is a good idea especially for things like antiques and fine art, which can be tricky to value accurately and might become a point of dispute, particularly if there is no receipt or bill of sale, such as a family heirloom.

Update the riders on your homeowners insurance policy

Once you’ve determined that you need valuable property riders for items in your home and you’ve done all the right things: you’ve had items appraised, you’ve made note of their value and purchase date on your home inventory, and you’ve covered them with a rider, you’re good to go — until you acquire another piece for your collection, such as a diamond anniversary band, and so on. In other words, you need to stay on top of making certain your coverage is sufficient, particularly if you are a collector. Even items that were not previously considered valuable could suddenly require coverage. Valuable property riders are an important consideration for anyone who has items which value exceeds the limits of their standard property coverage.


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