How personal property coverage works
Personal property coverage protects your belongings against fire, theft, and many other incidents outlined in your policy.
Personal property = 50% of dwelling limit
On a homeowners policy
Your personal property coverage typically amounts to half of your policy’s dwelling coverage limit. For instance, if your policy’s dwelling limit is $200,000, then you’ll have $100,000 in personal property coverage. However, you can sometimes choose a higher or lower limit to fit your needs.
On a condo or renters policy
You’ll usually have more control when selecting a personal property limit on your renters or condo policy. On most renters policies, you can choose any amount between $15,000-$500,000. On a condo policy, the range will vary depending on the insurer.
Examples of what personal property insurance covers
- Art and collectibles
- Musical instruments
Keep in mind, insurers usually set limits on certain personal property categories. These are called “sub-limits.” For example, you may have $100,000 in total coverage but you may only be entitled to a smaller, set amount for a singular item. If you own a fur coat valued at $15,000, you’d only receive $1,000 because of your policy’s per-item limit. Keep in mind, these limits often only apply if the loss is because of theft, and not fire.
Common sub-limits on property insurance
- Cash and gold: $250
- Silverware: $2,500
- Furs and precious stones: $1,000
- Home-based business property: $2,500
- Watercrafts and trailers: $1,000
- Firearms: $2,500
How to properly insure valuable items
You can “schedule an item,” which is also known as adding a “rider” to your policy. This simply means that you’re adding a specific item to your policy. You may need to schedule an item if its value exceeds your policy’s sub-limits. For instance, the sub-limit for jewelry on your policy may be set at $2,500. If your diamond engagement ring is worth $10,000, make sure to schedule the ring separately with your insurer so you’re protected for the entire $10,000 value. This will raise your premium slightly and an appraisal or detailed description of your piece could be required.
Pro tips for taking a home inventory
If you were to lose everything in a fire, robbery, or other covered incident, it’s critical to have an updated and accurate home inventory. While that’s easier said than done, here are some ways you can document the contents of your home:
- Save receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals for all significant purchases
- Include items kept outside your home (belongings kept at a storage locker, in your car, or somewhere else are typically covered under home, renters, or condo insurance)
- Record serial numbers and dates of purchase
- Take photos or even a video of your personal property
- Keep a description of all items, including their estimated value
Once you’ve assessed what your personal property is worth, contact your insurer to make sure you’re properly covered, especially when it comes to expensive items that may need a rider.