What is personal property insurance?

Personal property coverage — also known as contents coverage on a home policy — helps cover the cost of your personal items if they are destroyed, damaged, or stolen due to a covered loss or peril. Personal property includes things like furniture, clothing, electronics, and kitchenware.

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How does personal property coverage work?

Personal property coverage may protect your belongings against fire, theft, and other covered perils outlined in your policy. There are two types of loss settlements for your personal property: replacement cost and actual cash value. Replacement costs cover the item as new at the time of the claim. Actual cash value means the replacement cost of the item minus depreciation. Learn how insurance covers fire damage and how insurance may cover theft.

The amount of personal property coverage that you can select may vary based on the type of property insurance you have:

1. Homeowners insurance policy:

Your homeowners insurance policy will typically include some percentage – such as 50% -- of your dwelling coverage for personal property coverage. For example, if your policy's dwelling limit is $200,000, you'll have $100,000 in personal property insurance coverage. Your policy may offer an option to increase or decrease the limit to fit your needs.

2. Renters insurance policy:

Many renters insurance policies provide personal property coverage options that typically range from $10,000 to $500,000.

3. Condo insurance policy:

On a condo insurance policy, personal property coverage options typically range between $0 and $500,000.

Pro tip:

If you were to lose everything in a fire, robbery, or other covered peril, it is helpful to have an updated and accurate home inventory. Once you've assessed what your personal property is worth, contact your insurer to discuss your options.

What is covered by personal property coverage?

Contents insurance may cover your belongings if they're destroyed or damaged by named perils covered under your insurance policy. Some carriers even offer an endorsement that changes the coverage for personal property from named peril to open peril or all risk. This means there would be coverage for a loss unless the policy specifically excludes it. See how much home insurance coverage you may need by using our home insurance calculator.

What isn’t covered?

Your personal property typically won't be covered if flood water is what damaged it. You’ll likely need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to cover your personal belongings.

What are examples of personal property?

  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • Tools
  • Decorations
  • Jewelry
  • Art and collectibles
  • Bicycles
  • Musical instruments

What are examples of personal property with sub-limits?

Keep in mind that insurers typically set limits on certain categories of personal property. These are called "sub-limits." For example, you might have $100,000 in total personal property coverage but may only be eligible for a smaller set amount for a specific item or category of items.

Below are some examples of personal property that may have a sub-limit. Note that the sub-limits for these items may vary among insurance companies or even by state or products.

  • Cash and gold
  • Silverware
  • Furs and precious/semi-precious stones
  • Property used primarily for business
  • Watercraft and trailers
  • Firearms

What is scheduled personal property for insurance?

You can "schedule an item or items," also known as adding an "insurance rider" to your policy. That simply means you're adding a specific item or items to your policy. You may want to schedule an item or items if the value exceeds your personal property insurance policy's sub-limits. Scheduling items will likely raise your premium, but it may help ensure you're adequately covered. Depending on the value of each item, the insurance company may ask you to provide an appraisal and a clear photo of the item you are scheduling.

For example, your insurance company may only pay up to the $1,500 (for an HO3 insurance policy ) sub-limit on your policy if your $15,000 engagement ring is stolen. You may want to check with your insurer to discuss scheduling your ring, so you're protected for the entire $15,000 value. Learn more about the different homeowners insurance policy types.

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