Homeowners insurance can help protect your home and your belongings in the event of a covered disaster. If your clothes, furniture and other personal items are destroyed by fire or other covered event, a standard homeowners insurance policy will replace them. The same is true if they’re stolen or damaged. But if you have valuable or expensive items in your home, like jewelry or antiques, you may find a standard homeowners insurance policy lacking due to dollar limits set in the policy. To get better coverage for your valuables, you’ll want to consider a home insurance rider.
The Benefits of a Home Insurance Rider
To insure your expensive items, like jewelry, collectibles, antiques and art, for their full value, a personal property endorsement is needed. It’s a written agreement attached to your policy. Also called a floater, but more commonly called a rider, this extra insurance will insure your valuable items for their officially appraised value.
The main benefit of adding a home insurance rider is that you’ll get coverage for the full value of your expensive items, should something happen to them. Home insurance riders also offer better, more comprehensive coverage for your valuables, going beyond what a typical homeowners insurance policy will cover. For example, a standard homeowners policy will generally cover theft and damage, but a floater will often cover accidental loss or damage.
While homeowners insurance offers coverage for your personal belongings, that coverage is limited for rare or valuable items. By adding on an endorsement (a rider or floater), you can get specific coverage for the things you value most.
Wondering if some of your valuables require a home insurance rider? Call an insurance advisor today at (877) 469-5447 to review your home inventory and whether adding scheduled items is the right way to help protect your expensive items.
Here are some expensive items you likely will want to consider covering with a home insurance rider:
A wedding ring, diamond necklace or any other piece of expensive jewelry probably won’t be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. Most have a per item limit as well as a cap on the total amount of coverage for jewelry items. According to the Insurance Information Institute, that per item limit could be $2,000 with an overall limit of $5,000.
Riders can cost $1 to $2 for each $100 of appraised value, making a $5,000 ring, for example, cost about $50 to $100 to insure annually, according to Calla Gold. You’ll need to prove to your insurer the value of the piece of jewelry by providing an appraisal. Along with an appraisal, you may need to provide receipts and diamond certificates from a gemologist to prove how any diamonds are graded.
Insurers may differ on how they cover jewelry. Some may pay only the cash value of a ring, for example, while others may pay for a similar piece. If you want to replace an engagement ring of a particular style and grade of diamonds, you should make sure the insurer will help you find a similar ring.
Since couples often move after getting married, be sure to add an engagement ring and other expensive jewelry to the insurance policy for your new home after moving.
Collectibles and antiques
Baseball cards, stamps, comic books and other collectibles typically don’t have much protection in a standard homeowners insurance policy. Coverage can be limited to $2,000 or less, no matter how much your collection is valued at.
Do you have antiques scattered around your home? Check their value and if they’re already covered by your home insurance policy.
To protect your valuables with an insurance rider, you’ll want to get them appraised. An official appraisal will tell your insurer how much they’re worth so the insurer can decide how much coverage to provide.
Expensive artwork is also worth buying extra insurance for, since a standard policy only provides coverage limits of up to $2,000 — the same as your autograph collection.
Fire is responsible for most insurance losses for artwork. The closer you live to a fire hydrant — usually within 1,000 feet — the cheaper the rider can be. Insurance for artwork valued at $5,000 would cost about $9 per year if you live close to a fire hydrant, and $16 annually if not, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Artwork and antiques usually appreciate in value over time, which is the opposite of what happens to many possessions. Many items covered in a home insurance policy are replaced at their actual cash value at the time of loss, which can mean their depreciated value. Check with your insurance agent on the policy wording so that the full and current value of the artwork is covered by a rider.
If you’re in a touring band or orchestra, your musical instrument may already be covered by a commercial insurance policy provided by your employer.
But if you somehow own an expensive musical instrument, such as a high-end electric guitar or a violin, then you may need a rider on your policy. Talk with your insurance agent to see if the value of your instrument would be covered under your homeowners, and if not, talk about your options for adding a rider.
Lowering the costs of home insurance riders
To negate some of the extra costs of riders, homeowners can add some safety precautions to their homes. Home security systems, fire extinguishers and recording devices can make your home safer and make it eligible for discounts on home insurance riders.
Also, be sure to keep copies of appraisals at home and at a friend’s or relative’s house or in the cloud in case yours is lost or destroyed in a fire. Your insurer will also want copies.
A high deductible on your homeowners insurance can lower the annual premium, but can make filing a claim more expensive if you don’t have the deductible amount set aside. Insurance riders typically have low deductibles and don’t require paying the higher overall deductible on your homeowners insurance.
If you do add on any home insurance riders, be sure to update them if you add belongings. More artwork or adding to a stamp collection may warrant extra coverage. There’s no need to wait until the annual renewal of your policy. Update it as things change to keep your coverage current.
Note that coverage for personal belongings makes up 50 to 70 percent of the insurance on the structure of a home, according to the Insurance Information Institute. To determine if you have enough coverage, the Institute recommends conducting a home inventory to catalogue your belongings and assess their value. A home inventory is also helpful in filing claims, as you’ll have a record of all your belongings and their value. Use one of these best home inventory apps to create your home inventory and store it in the cloud for safekeeping.
Call an insurance advisor today at (877) 469-5447 to learn how a home insurance rider could help protect your valuables.
Not ready to hop on the phone? Request a homeowners insurance quote online: