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How Home Contents Insurance Protects Your Personal Property

Article 4 of 8 in Homeowners Insurance Coverage Basics

Home contents insurance protects your personal property and valuables inside the home by replacing them in the event they are stolen or destroyed. In addition to protecting your possessions while they are in the home, home contents insurance can cover items stolen from a hotel or lost in your luggage while you travel.

TIP: Adding more coverage to your home contents insurance may increase your insurance payments, but it can be worth it to keep your possessions covered. Know how much your possessions are worth, and get them properly insured.

What Does Home Contents Insurance Cover?

Home Contents insurance coverage is a typical component of all homeowners insurance coverage. Personal property refers to all tangible goods commonly found inside your residence and owned by you or family members who live with you. Examples of personal property include your clothes, furniture, and appliances. Coverage for automobiles, aircrafts, and other vehicles is typically excluded from home contents insurance.

Your home insurance coverage will have an overall limit on how much it will pay for all personal property involved in a single claim. The typical limit is at least 50% to 70% of what the home is insured for. The policy, however, will have separate limits on such items as computers, antiques, silverware, cash, firearms, works of art, furs, and so forth.

For example, if you have a diamond ring valued at $10,000, the policy might have a limit that only covers $2,500 total. If you have items that fall in this category, discuss the value with a reputable insurance agent in order to get advice on how to insure these items separately. It may be necessary to add a home insurance rider to your policy to cover your expensive items.
The valuable items rider will raise the basic policy limits on these items to an amount declared after an appraisal of each item or collection confirms the value. This coverage also removes some loss exclusions, so if the diamond in that same diamond ring is lost (not stolen) it would be covered.

Insurance for Items Stolen from Hotels

Most homeowners do not know that their home and contents insurance coverage usually includes loss or damage to personal property while you are traveling. If your personal property was stolen while staying at a hotel, or while you are in transit then you may have coverage. If you lose your suitcase during travel, the items in your suitcase would be covered under your homeowner's policy.

Such coverage is typically as much as 10% of the dwelling policy limit. Therefore, if your dwelling limit is $170,000, your personal property coverage away from home would be $17,000. Again, know your home contents insurance coverage limits on such things as expensive cameras or electronic equipment such as computers!

List Your Home Contents for Insurance

It is important to make a list of all your home's content. This might seem like a daunting task, but you will be so glad you did in the event of a loss. When you file a home insurance claim, you will need to show proof that you owned the items you claim. It is hard to imagine that anyone can remember every tool in their garage or how many pairs of socks they have, so you need to make a detailed inventory complete with receipts and photos of high dollar items. An inventory list for an insurance claim can get very detailed! Take your time, do it right, and make sure your items are protected

TIP: Inventory your entire home's content to ensure you have a proper record of items lost or damaged. Scan receipts and take pictures of high dollar items and store them on a CD. This will be invaluable in the event of a homeowners insurance claim.


There are a few things you can do to make the inventory process easier:


  • Find a company who specializes in taking a home contents insurance inventory

  • Purchase computer software that will help you by creating a list for you to follow

  • Use a home video camera

  • Keep your home inventory list stored outside your home, and avoid losing it with the rest of your possessions

However you choose to document your possessions, you must do so in order to make sure your home contents insurance coverage will adequately protect you.

If you are concerned about the amount of coverage on your home and contents insurance policy, contact your agent today. Once you are ready to shop for a home insurance policy that includes contents insurance, click here and get a free quote today!

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