Scheduled property covers items in your home that are not specifically covered as part of your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. While your standard policy will certainly include some basic personal belongings, your policy may set limitations on the amount covered for several broad categories, such as $2,000 for jewelry. Scheduling your property allows you to recover the replacement value of each individual item covered, typically without a deductible.
Electronics, wedding rings and fine jewelry, fine art, collectibles and other valuables such as firearms, instruments and antiques are all good candidates for this type of coverage. Your insurance carrier will require either a receipt or appraisals on each of the items to be covered. With scheduled property, you can establish an agreed-upon price for replacing the item in advance of any damage or theft. For obvious reasons, this is easier to do prior to the item getting stolen. You can also submit a claim if the item simply gets lost.
A good practice to put in place is to review your homeowners policy before it goes into effect, but also on an annual basis, to identify any gaps in coverage for newly acquired valuables that could become subject to theft or destruction because of a flood, fire or other type of natural disaster. By conducting an annual audit of your possessions — perhaps at the same time as open enrollment in the fall of each year, for example, you will ensure that all of your belongings are covered. And because the holiday season usually comes with an increase in burglaries as well as accidents such as fires, it is a good time of the year to review your policies.
In addition to an annual audit, there are special occasions and life events that will naturally prompt the need to schedule property. If you have plans on becoming engaged, be sure to add coverage for the ring to your policy from the moment you purchase it. Transfer the coverage to your bride-to-be after she accepts your proposal and she takes possession of the ring. If you bought jewelry on a credit card, apply for a new Balance Transfer card to lower your interest payments.
Regardless of whether you decide to schedule property or not, be sure your belongings are properly accounted for and recorded in a way that is retrievable in the event of a disaster such as fire and easily presentable to your insurance provider. Keep records of your receipts, appraisals, serial numbers and make and models of your major electronics and appliances, and photograph each item.
Not only are these records useful to have on file for insurance purposes, they are also instrumental from a legal perspective when reporting thefts to your local authorities. Without this information, you have little chance of identifying burglars and those responsible for receiving stolen property, let alone recovering your possessions. And if the thief is caught, having this information will assist the courts in assigning appropriate fines and obligations for restitution.
Finally, be sure to leverage technology to document and archive your belongings, whether through your own personal cloud-based storage or through a secure, cloud-based application available through your insurance carrier. It is of vital importance to keep copies records away from the valuables themselves, or you may lose both in a disaster.