What is Contents Insurance?
Thursday, 14 January 2021
You accumulate many possessions over the years – furniture, electronics, clothing, jewelry, stuff for hobbies – and the value of them adds up quickly! If your personal belongings were stolen or damaged in a natural disaster, do you know that you have enough contents coverage to replace it? Home and tenant insurance usually include some coverage for your personal affects, but there may be limits to the amount you can receive unless you have special add-on coverage. You don’t want to make a claim only to find out you can’t get the full value of something you own, so it’s best to be informed and go over your policy details with your insurance provider. This blog will explain how contents insurance works in and will help you figure out if you need extra coverage for your valued possessions.
What is Contents Insurance?
Contents insurance is a part of a comprehensive home insurance policy, or condo policy that will help cover the cost to repair or replace personal belongings kept in your home if they are stolen, lost or damaged. However, each insurance company sets their own rules about how much they will payout through contents coverage for certain types of items.
Does My Home Insurance Include Contents Insurance?
We always recommend speaking directly with your broker or insurance provider to get a clear answer in your situation, but in general, a comprehensive home insurance policy will cover not only your actual dwelling, but also your contents for repair or replacement.
Are there limits to generic contents coverage?
If you have contents insurance through your home insurance, you should do your due diligence and ask your insurance broker if there are any limits and what types of items they will cover. We will discuss in more detail later, but if you know you have items high-valued above the limits that your insurer offers, it’s time to give your insurance broker a call. They can increase the limits on your contents insurance, or they can add a special endorsement for specific items.
For example, one company’s homeowners policy will reimburse damaged, lost or stolen jewelry, watches, furs up to $6000. Another company might impose a per-item limit (ie. $2,500 per item up to $6,000). If you have an item that exceeds with the total limit or per-item limit, you should look into additional coverage. Your broker will be able to get the information about your individual policy as wording and what’s covered will vary from one insurance carrier to another.
Tenant Insurance Includes Contents Insurance
Yes, tenant insurance is essentially insurance for your personal belongings and when you purchase your policy, you select a specific amount of coverage (ie. $50,000 contents insurance). Pay careful attention to additional coverage such as earthquake, sewer back-up and overland water coverage – your personal property may not be eligible for a claim in those events without those coverages in place. Similar to home insurance, tenant insurance may also have limits for certain types of items such as jewelry and collectibles.
How much contents coverage do I need?
This greatly depends on the total value of your personal property, and high-value items in your possession. Before you purchase your home or tenant insurance policy, take the time to calculate the replacement costs of your valuables. If you’re a cycling fanatic and have a $5,000 racing bike in the garage, odds are you won’t be happy with the insurance company paying out $500 to replace it if it got stolen – this is where increased limits and insuring individual items will help.
Moving is a perfect time to create a home inventory, which would help you during the claims process. A home inventory lists all your personal property (start big and work your way to less expensive items), their date of purchase and purchase price. You should keep a record of receipts, make copies and store them in a safe place – not in your home.
Is my Jewelry covered by contents insurance?
Maybe you inherited a beautiful necklace from your grandmother, or you just got engaged and have a sparkly new ring to show off; these will probably need additional insurance coverage if you want to receive full replacement value. For high-value items such as jewelry, collectibles, pricey sporting equipment, or expensive artwork, you should always ask your broker about increasing your contents insurance limits or insuring the individual item or collection on your policy.
Endorsements are available that can give you actual replacement value, since these things often increase in value over time. Your insurer will probably need a couple things when you add a scheduled item to your policy: receipts or proof of purchase (if possible), and a certified appraisal. Get an updated appraisal every 5 years as the cost to replace them increases over time. You should maintain a copy of these records with your home inventory.
If you have more questions about what your policy covers, or if you’re ready to add coverage for your highly priced items, our BIG team of brokers is ready to help you with the process. Having better coverage for your beloved possessions will give you the peace of mind that if they are lost, stolen or damaged, that you can get a fair settlement for them. Contact us now to get started.