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Insuring Your Gifts

Did you get everything you asked for this year?

As we get older, most of us would probably agree that giving to others, giving back to your community, and spending time with those you care about is all we could ever ask for. And we would have to agree, but since we’re in the insurance business, did you receive or purchase a gift for yourself that exceeded $1000? If so, it’s worth giving your local agent a call to make sure it will be covered by your homeowners policy. 

Most homeowners policies include “special limits of liability” for several different categories of personal property. Here are a couple of examples: 

  1. Many policies will only pay up to $1500 for jewelry theft losses, misplacing, or losing of the jewelry. 


  2. Firearms are subject to a $2500 special limit for loss by theft. 


  3. Cash, which many people use as a gift during the holidays, is only covered for up to $200 (this includes any gold, silver, platinum or other bullion)! 

Chances are your gifts are likely covered automatically by your homeowners or renters policy, but we can’t say for sure if we don’t know the value of the item and exactly what it is. Better safe than sorry, so always ask and make sure it is covered! If it isn’t, your agent may be able to offer coverage on it for a reasonable, low cost.

Here are some options to add to your policy to make sure that your gift is covered for years to come. Homeowners, renters, and farm owners policies all have the option to add endorsements for personal property that is of high value, or that has special limits of coverage in the policy contract that may leave you underinsured in the event of a loss. These endorsements typically require a small additional premium and some specific information on the items. If the value is particularly high or the property is unique or collectible, appraisals and photos may also be needed to offer coverage at their full value. The special limits of coverage in the standard policy can also be increased by endorsement as well if that would work to cover the full value of the item(s) in question. Consult with your agent to determine which route would be best for your situation!

It is important to insure your items so that you can protect your financial security against unexpected out of pocket costs. Many people’s diligent budgeting, hard work, and good habits to keep their spending in check can all go out the window in a moment if they were to have to pay out of pocket to replace an expensive item, with no help from insurance.

Unfortunately people often think that if an item is located in your home, it’s automatically covered by your homeowner’s policy. And, in many instances, they are, but when it comes to items that are rare, or particularly valuable, that is when they may not be covered (or at least, not at their full value). Things like clothing, furniture, appliances, and other everyday items you could expect to find inside any house on the block are typically covered for their replacement cost. Items like jewelry, firearms, currency, important documents like property deeds, watercraft, and trailers, will have special limits on them in your policy, unless they’re specifically scheduled for a certain value and you pay additional premium for them.

One possession that is never covered by a homeowners policy, in any circumstance, is a car. People commonly believe that if a car in the garage is damaged by a house fire, for example, that the homeowners policy will cover the damage to the car. Not the case! Your auto insurance would be picking up the tab on that damage, if you had comprehensive coverage on your policy.

There are a handful of things a home, renters, or farm owners policy will not cover under any circumstance. Some of them may surprise you! Did you get your spouse, or kids, a new puppy for Christmas? Even though we love dogs (like our mascot, Lucky!)  as much as anyone, our policies do not cover animals that are pets, including birds or fish. What about that model airplane you received from your uncle? Unfortunately, it is not covered either. Property policies do not cover any kind of aircraft (or hovercraft) that you own. A few more things that aren’t covered are: items you rent to others, property that you do not own that is being stored at your residence, business use data and documents, and of course motor vehicles and their equipment or parts. The majority of what you got this year is probably covered by your policy – but as always, call your agent to confirm coverage, and any applicable terms or special limits, if you are concerned about loss or damage to your items. 


Content provided by Coleman Fisher, Walton County Farm Bureau Agent