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Posted on DEC 7, 2016

Be sure your valuables are properly insured

Have you invested money in valuables such as expensive jewelry, fine art, a well‐stocked wine cellar, antiques, coins or other collectibles? If you own these items, it pays to take a moment away from enjoying them to be sure they're properly insured. A valuable articles policy can provide peace of mind and replace the monetary value of your items if they're lost, stolen or destroyed.

“A standard homeowners policy provides very limited coverage for valuables,” notes Justin Staebler, AVP, Personal Insurance Sales Manager, Johnson Insurance. “The same is true for condominium and renters policies. There's typically a relatively low dollar limit covering any particular item – perhaps $2,000. In addition, under a standard homeowners policy, valuables are only covered for the same risks as the home, in contrast to the ‘all risk’ policy that applies if you ‘schedule’ (list) valuables individually.”

Typically, an all risk policy is broad and covers valuables for any type of risk that isn't specifically excluded. So, for instance, it may cover breakage, mysterious disappearance, spoilage, shipping and other perils not covered in standard homeowners policies.

A schedule, also known as a valuable articles policy, provides worldwide coverage. If you take valuable jewelry with you on vacation, it's covered, wherever you are. Or if some of your artwork or collectibles are in another home in a different country, they're covered if something unfortunate happens.

Setting a Value

When you schedule your valuables through the purchase of a ‘rider’ or ‘floater’ policy, you'll provide a detailed description of each item. A professional appraisal is always recommended and often required. For collections, such as sports memorabilia, figurines, stamps, fine china and crystal, etc. you can either use blanket coverage to protect the entire collection or itemize especially valuable pieces, or you can combine the two approaches.

“You may find some insurance companies don't require an appraisal for jewelry valued at less than $100,000 and fine art worth less than $250,000,” Staebler says. “However, we typically advise clients to have valuables appraised because the value can fluctuate so much – they can increase in value very quickly. For instance, a necklace purchased for $30,000 could be worth $45,000 within a few years. It's important to keep valuations up‐to‐date.” Some valuable articles insurance policies provide inflation protection up to 150 percent of the amount itemized on your policy.

Staebler explains that policies can be written in two ways:

  1. Replacement cost. “The traditional repair or replacement cost option is a default on the scheduled personal property endorsement to your homeowners policy,” Staebler says. “The insurance company has the option to replace the item at an amount lower than the value listed on the policy, if the lower amount would return the item to its original condition or replace the item with one of a like kind or quality.”
  2. Agreed value. In most instances, the item is insured for a set amount agreed on by you and the insurance company based on a recent appraisal or a bill of sale. “Fine art usually is insured under an agreed value policy because it can be very difficult to replace,” Staebler notes.

Coverage As Unique As Your Valuables

Valuable articles policies offer features that aren't typically found with other types of insurance. For example, there's no deductible. And you can even receive coverage on newly acquired items, up to certain limits, if similar items are already scheduled on your policy. Depending on the insurance company, you may have up to 90 days to schedule your newest addition to your collection.

With such comprehensive coverage, you might believe that a valuable articles policy would be costly. “Not so,” says Staebler. “The cost is very reasonable. Insurance companies realize that people are passionate about their valuables and take very good care of them.

“But unfortunate things sometimes happen,” he continues. “And that's when a valuable articles insurance policy comes into play. It's important to have your valuables insured the way you want them insured, and that requires a detailed conversation with an insurance agent.”

Expertise and Experience You Can Trust

As an independent agency, Johnson Insurance works with the top insurance companies to be sure that you get the coverage you want at a fair price. Our experienced professionals have in‐depth knowledge about a broad array of valuables as well as the insurance companies that offer this type of coverage so we can find the policy that's best for you.