Most people don’t realize or often think about the fact that the average homeowner’s policy will have limits on certain types of personal property. In general, some of the most common areas that have limited personal property coverage include items like jewelry, cash, precious and semi-precious stones, and firearms.
I want to speak specifically first about the special theft limitation for jewelry. Typically, in Florida, this special limit for theft of jewelry is somewhere around $1,000 to $2,500 for home or condo insurance, depending on the company. This is not a limit per item but rather a total limit for all items.
Most people have jewelry that exceeds this limit, and many have individual items that are well-beyond this limit. Often, the proper way to address these special limits and to make sure that you’re not underinsured is to schedule the items on your homeowner’s policy or on a specific standalone policy designed specifically for jewelry or collectibles.
A couple of the companies that we work with to schedule jewelry on an individual policy are Jewelers Mutual and a company called JIBNA which stands for Jewelry Insurance Brokerage of North America. Specifically, Jewelers Mutual makes it easy to schedule these items and you can schedule to limits far beyond the special limits on a homeowner’s policy.
Theft of firearms is also a common limitation on a homeowner’s policy that can be relevant to some homeowners.
Another common limitation that people may not consider is a limitation on cash. The average homeowner’s policy is typically going to limit cash or claiming loss of cash in your home to approximately $200. This can vary by company but obviously, if you are someone who prefers to have a few thousand dollars on hand, it’s important to be aware of this limitation and although there may not be specific ways within your policy to address this limit, some companies allow you to purchase coverage packages that extend this special limit, often along with other special limitation coverage increases. Or, once you are aware of this special limit for cash, you may decide to keep cash in the bank or in another more secure location.
One of the other benefits of scheduling person property (at least in the case of jewelry, for example), is that the covered losses include more perils than the average homeowner’s policy. For example, in many homeowner’s policy, you must have one of several named types of loss occur in order to be covered for personal property loss. That could be theft, fire, explosion, or some other covered peril as defined by the policy. Some home insurance policies offer broader coverage for personal property with an endorsement called “special personal property coverage”. Even with special personal property coverage, however, the accidental disappearance of an item is still often limited. However, when you schedule the item, you can extend the coverage to things like accidental disappearance (without the limitation that may apply to the home insurance policy). This can be important when we are talking about things like rings and earrings that people wear out in public and don’t often know right away that they may have lost.
And you also don’t have to pay a deductible with scheduled jewelry if you don’t wish to. Sometimes you can choose a deductible which will reduce the premium slightly but, in many cases, there is no deductible and therefore less out of pocket cost.
If you have questions about any of the special limits in your homeowner’s policy or just want to see them for yourself, you can look under the personal property coverage portion of your policy and search specifically for the section titled, “special limits on certain types of personal property”. Obviously, your individual policy along with all components of the policy are the final say in coverage but at Responsive Insurance, we would be happy to help you think through these scenarios as they apply to you and to your coverage whether you are an existing customer or new customer. You can call our office to discuss or to schedule an appointment to review in person.