When Will Homeowner’s Insurance Protect Your Personal Property?

Is all of your personal property insured? If your property is damaged in your car or outside of your home, is it still covered? Homeowners insurance is really more like a personal property insurance policy and the answers may not be as straightforward as you assume. There are situations in which you may or may not be covered, depending on your individual policy.

When It's In Your Home -- But Not Always

It's easy to assume that everything in your home is covered. But there are two limitations that you should be concerned about. Obviously, your coverage only extends to your coverage cap -- if you're covered for $100,000 worth of damage, anything over that won't be covered. But there's also a coverage cap for individual items. If your individual cap is $20,000 and your wedding ring is worth $25,000, the full amount may not be covered. Further, you need some form of appraisal to guarantee full coverage.

When It's In Your Car

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover your property if it's stolen from your vehicle. For that matter, many renter's insurance policies will as well. If you have items stolen from your car, you should review your other policies, because many auto insurance policies do not cover theft from the vehicle. Auto insurance policies that are collision only, for instance, don't. Whereas comprehensive auto insurance policies usually do.

When It's Your Personal Property--Occasionally

It may be surprising, but reasonable personal affects such as laptop computers, smartphones and other items may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy, if the item is stolen. Sometimes you may be able to claim your item if it's broken, too. Of course, most people will not want to do this for a smaller item because it could potentially cost them more in elevated insurance premiums. But if something happens such as a large amount of personal items being stolen on a trip, it's something to consider. (To be properly covered, most items will need to have been on your home inventory or otherwise documented.)

You should never take your coverage for granted. Always ask your insurance agent exactly what is covered if you aren't certain. Because every homeowners insurance policy is different, you might need to purchase additional coverage to be safe. You can also purchase a personal umbrella insurance policy if you are concerned that your homeowners insurance and other insurance policies may not be offering you enough coverage.