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Do you have enough coverage for your stuff?

Homeowners or renters insurance can protect you from devastating financial loss should some catastrophe occur. Within your home or apartment, however, your personal property is likely what you cherish most. Protecting your possessions from loss is financially and emotionally important. You must make sure that you have the right amount of coverage for your belongings and the right type of coverage. 

HOW MUCH PERSONAL PROPERTY COVERAGE DO YOU NEED?

Your insurance policy can provide personal property coverage for loss or damage to your personal belongings including clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics and most other items in your home. This coverage gives you the ability to receive financial reimbursement for those items that may seem irreplaceable and that you need to live. Most homeowners or renters insurance policies start coverage for personal property at approximately 30-70 percent of the amount of coverage you have on the structure of your home, but only you can determine if this is sufficient. 

The best way to determine the right value is to prepare a personal property inventory or a detailed list of everything you own and how much each item would cost to replace. If you take your home or apartment and turn it upside down, anything that falls out is considered contents and needs to be counted for your coverage. A quick video of each room and closet is a good way to start a record. 

Insurance companies typically group like items into categories and assign maximum limits for those categories. For example, your insurance policy might limit jewelry coverage to $1,000 per piece of jewelry and $2,500 for all the jewelry in the household. If you have a piece of jewelry worth more than the maximum, the basic coverage provided in your policy is inadequate. 

You can increase the “special limits of liability” for the categories in which you have more valuable items, or you can use a scheduled personal property rider to increase the coverage limit for a certain item or items. This is also advantageous because these riders typically provide all-risk coverage, which means that the scheduled items are covered for all risks, not just the basic “covered perils” outlined in the main insurance policy, and typically is not subject to the deductible that applies to all other losses. Be sure your read your policy or ask your insurance agent how the coverage works. 

REPLACEMENT COST COVERAGE VERSUS ACTUAL CASH VALUE COVERAGE 

Your personal property coverage can be based on your property’s actual cash value or replacement cost. Actual cash value policies pay to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost policies reimburse you for the actual cost of replacing the items with no deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost policies offer the best protection and ensure you will be able to replace your possessions with similar ones at today’s process. 

Make sure you are protected. 


Angelyn Treutel Zeringue is president of SouthGroup Insurance Services, a CPA, PWCAM, CBIA and licensed Trusted Choice Insurance Agent. Reach her at www.southgroupgulfcoast.com, (228) 385-1177 or azeringue@southgroup.net. 

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