Q. Does my homeowners policy limit coverage for certain belongings?
A. Your policy limits the amount of coverage available for certain types of personal property, such as jewelry or coins, so it's important to review your coverage needs to ensure adequate protection.
Homeowners, condo, and renter insurance are great ways to help make you whole after a loss to your personal belongings. Perhaps it's a fire burning your couch and TV, or something less severe yet equally frustrating like a laptop or purse stolen from a car. No matter what happens to your stuff, you'd like to know that your insurance policy protects you.
By default, all your belongings fall under the policy's "Unscheduled Personal Property" section. Essentially that's all your belongings that aren't specifically defined on the policy. Conversely, "Scheduled Personal Property" are those items you individually add to the policy.
This begs an obvious question: If all your stuff fits into the "unscheduled" category automatically, why would you pay additional premium or spend additional time increasing the limit, or listing specific items? It's because the contract limits the coverage available to certain types of personal property.
The most notable example is a limitation on coverage for stolen jewelry. Given that thieves look to maximize their take while minimizing their time, jewelry is a prime target during break-ins. Silverware, furs, firearms, and precious metals or stones also are sought by thieves for their small size and relative high values. These too are limited in coverage for theft losses. Some items are limited no matter what happens to them, such as coins or personal documents and records.
The limits for these types of property are sufficient to cover the vast majority of our customers' needs, but what if you're the exception and need a higher limit? Fear not! We offer ways to address that. We can do either a general increase in the coverage for that type of property, or use the Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement for specific items.
A general increase is just as it sounds: an across-the-board increase of coverage for the specified personal property. This is the least expensive way to increase coverage and doesn't require listing each individual item.
The Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement is more robust. It allows you to insure specific items for their actual value, such as a wedding ring or your fine dining silverware. It also removes the deductible for losses to the specified items and in some cases may broaden the types of losses for which the items are insured.
These types of belongings are limited in coverage:
- Cash: money, bank notes, bullion, etc.
- Documents: securities, deeds, personal records, passports, etc.
- Watercraft: boats, their trailers, engines, motors, etc.
- Trailers: those not used with watercraft
- Jewelry: watches, furs, precious stones, etc.
- Firearms: guns, ammo, related equipment
- Silverware: silver-plated ware, goldware, pewterware, tea trays or trophies made of silver or gold, etc.
- Business property: belongings used in whole or in part for business purposes
- Electronics: devices and accessories designed for use in a vehicle, such as a standalone GPS unit, in-dash CD/DVD player, etc.
Again, the contract will automatically provide enough coverage to protect most folks' needs. But you shouldn't risk the stuff you've worked your life to accumulate – call PEMCO or your agent to go over your coverage needs so you can be confident you've got the protection you want!
P.S. – I'm often asked if a cellphone or tablet can be endorsed, the goal being to get rid of the deductible should something happen to it. The answer is no. We cannot schedule these types of items. I suggest checking into the protection plans offered by your mobile provider as those often come with a lower deductible than is found in traditional homeowners insurance.