Valuable items coverage basics
Valuable Items coverage supplements coverage for possessions of higher monetary value, such as a diamond engagement ring, your grandfather's pocket watch, artwork, or a valuable collection. While most homeowners policies have limits on the dollar amount and type of loss that can be recovered, Valuable Item coverage will provide the protection you need for your most valuable possessions in the event of loss through theft, accident or natural disaster.
When would a valuable items policy be needed?
The protection provided for personal property under the typical homeowners policy is very broad, and includes coverage for your furniture, clothing, and appliances. In addition, it provides limited coverage for such items as jewelry, silverware, furs, and firearms. However, it may not cover some types of loss that may be important to you, such as the stone falling out of your diamond ring, your antique statue that is accidentally broken, or a flooded basement that damages your personal computer. In fact, most homeowners policies set dollar limits on the amount of protection offered to cover the theft of items such as jewelry or furs ( usually only up to $1,000), firearms (up to $2,000), or silverware (up to $2,500). Optional add-on coverage to the homeowners policy (like our Valuable Items Plus endorsement) is available to enhance coverage by providing higher limits (up to as high as $50,000 in some cases, but limited to $10,000 per item) and expanded protection for special property. This usually provides most homeowners with enough coverage.
However, if you own extremely valuable items, this still may not be enough coverage. For example, if you own a diamond ring valued over $10,000 or a collection of fine arts valued over $50,000, you need more protection and should consider buying separate Valuable Items policy.
What kind of property can be covered?
Many different types of possessions can be accommodated by the Valuable Items policy. Here's a quick listing of some of the items typically covered:
- cameras (video or still) and related equipment
- china and crystal
- coins (rare and current)
- golfer's equipment
- musical instruments
- personal computers
- stamps (rare and current)
- works of fine art, including paintings, etchings, pictures and other bona fide works of art (such as oriental rugs, statuary, rare books, manuscripts and bric-a-brac) of rarity, historical value or artistic merit.
If you own something of value that is not listed above, it may still be eligible for coverage. You may want to discuss this with your local, independent agent or a Travelers representative.
A Valuable Items policy allows you to purchase better protection for your special property than would be available under the typical homeowners policy. In addition to being able to purchase higher limits of coverage, more perils are covered, and you receive worldwide coverage, including protection against mysterious disappearance. (Please be aware, however, that fine arts are only covered within the United States and Canada.) The policy also may be expanded to include loss due to breakage, something that is not available under the terms of a homeowners policy. That means, if you accidentally break something of a delicate or fragile nature, you're automatically covered! Although no deductibles apply to many types of losses, a $100 deductible may be applied to breakage caused by certain perils.
Scheduling your property
Once you've contacted your local agent or Travelers representative to begin Valuable Items coverage, you will be asked to list all the items that you'd like to insure. Smaller items, in many cases, need not be listed individually and what is called "blanket" coverage may be required. This list, or "schedule," would include a detailed description of each item and the appraised value. In some instances, a copy of a current appraisal, conducted within the past three years, may also be required. This detailed schedule is attached to your policy. Your premium is then based on the total amount for which your special property is valued.
Though it isn't required for your policy, you may want to photograph each piece in your collection and store the photos in a safe place. If your entire collection is stolen or damaged, it will be easy to remember each item for your claim report.
Newly acquired property
Your Valuable Items policy automatically insures most newly purchased possessions up to 25% of the total amount of insurance already scheduled (or $10,000, whichever is less ) for up to 30 days from the date of acquisition. In the case of fine arts, you have up to 90 days to notify your agent. The benefit: you don't have to worry about insuring your new item the moment you receive it. However, because this automatic coverage is only good for a short time, don't wait too long, you might forget later!
Let's say that you purchase an expensive new lens to add to your currently insured camera collection. One day later, and before you have had a chance to ask your agent to add it to your policy, your camera and new lens is stolen. With a Valuable Items policy, both items are covered!
Since items of this nature vary so widely, losses are settled differently, depending on the type of property insured. For jewelry and fine arts, in the case of a total loss to a scheduled, appraised item, you are reimbursed for the agreed value shown on your policy.
For other classes of property on the policy (such as furs, silverware, cameras, and personal computers) the value is not already agreed upon, and the value of your property will be determined at the time of the loss. You will then be reimbursed for either the:
- actual cash value of your property, or
- cost to reasonably repair your property to its previous condition, or
- cost to replace your property with a substantially identical item, or
- the applicable amount of insurance.
- whichever of these is less.
You should read your policy for the exact loss settlement provisions.
Loss to a pair or set coverage
Should you lose a jewelry or fine art item that belongs to a pair or set, you'll receive the full amount for the complete pair or set as long as you agree to return the remaining parts to your insurer. Slightly different options may exist for lost pairs or sets of other types of property. You should read your policy for the exact loss settlement provisions.
The best precaution is prevention
In addition to insurance and depending on the value of your property, certain security measures for your residence, such as an alarm system, may be required.