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Every basic home insurance policy comes with some personal property coverage. Typically, you can expect your Florida home insurance policy’s Contents Coverage (Coverage C) to provide from 50 percent to 70 percent of your dwelling coverage towards your personal belongings.
That amount may be sufficient for those who are just starting out or have minimal belongings. But homeowners who own at least one item of greater value may need more. It’s important to keep in mind that Florida homeowners policies do not cover all types of property and set restrictive limits on the amounts paid out for certain losses. Scheduled Personal Property Coverage may be the answer to add coverage for certain personal belongings you specifically list.
Why should you consider adding Scheduled Personal Property Coverage? The answer is three-fold. First, those scheduled items you select are covered on a replacement cost basis, rather than actual cash value. Here’s what that means: say you purchased an exquisite necklace a few years ago for $5,000 and it was stolen. Insurance companies typically take the cost to replace an item, subtract depreciation for each year of its age, and provide you with that sum. Even if the depreciation is minor, Coverage C limits how much you receive back. In this specific event, most standard home insurance policies only pay $1,500 for jewelry lost in theft. And most policies have per item limits on amounts paid out on any single jewelry piece.
There’s more. In addition to receiving up to 100% of your insurance limit with Scheduled Personal Property Coverage, you also get coverage for more causes of loss than most standard Florida home insurance policies. Your standard homeowners policy typically covers your possessions against windstorms, lightning, hail, fire or explosion. But what happens if your valuables are stolen, lost, or vandalized? With Scheduled Personal Property Coverage, you obtain coverage on just about anything that could happen to your belongings. Many Florida homeowners’ insurance policies with Scheduled Personal Property Coverage endorsements will even cover items if you misplace them or they mysteriously disappear.
Finally, with Scheduled Personal Property Coverage, you are not responsible for paying a deductible on your scheduled items. You simply file for the loss – even on relatively small items such as covered earrings – and receive their full value back in the form of a check.
Not all Florida home insurance companies treat scheduling personal property alike, although you can expect certain guidelines to apply. Virtually every home insurance company, for example, will ask for proof that your expensive possessions are worth what you say they are. You will need to schedule an appraisal with a certified professional (you can find one at www.appraisersguild.com) and obtain a current, detailed, written description of each possession and its assessed value. Your insurance company must agree to the value before they choose to endorse the item. If you do need to make a claim at some future date, the appraisal will be used to determine the value of your possessions. Before you opt for Scheduled Personal Property Coverage – which is more affordable than you might guess – you should carefully go through your home, assess what you own, and determine which expensive items are not covered sufficiently.
If your valuables exceed per-item limits, consider asking your Florida homeowner’s insurance agent about the Scheduled Personal Property Coverage option to minimize your financial risk in case scheduled items are damaged, stolen or lost. Since Scheduled Personal Property Coverage also imposes some high-end limits, it’s important to ask your insurance agent to go over the limitations and exclusions. You may find that the decision you make now could help you save substantially should you need to make a claim.