Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blanket or Specific Insurance for Valuable Items

Every home acquires its own collection of valuable items with time. A cuckoo clock inherited from a deceased parent, a grandparent’s pocket watch, jewelry that are mementos from parents, engagement and wedding jewelry, art and artifact collections – no home is complete without such valuables. Some have aesthetic value, some sentimental, and some collector items can command a fortune in international markets, or online auction sites.

Insuring such valuables against accidental loss, theft, and damage, becomes a priority with time. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover such valuables, which is why,insurance companies offer this as a separate product. Over time, some of the valuable items that their policies have covered are:

· Photographic and video cameras with associated equipment

· All types of expensive porcelain, ceramics, china and crystal

· Rare coins, stamps and historical photographs

· Rare firearms with historic value

· Expensive Furs and Jewelry

· Autographed sports equipment

· Rare version or make of Musical instruments

· Electronic equipment and computing devices

· Family heirloom silverware

· Fine art: paintings, etchings

· Fine tapestry: Oriental rugs, embroidered works of art

· Fine literature: Rare books, journals and manuscripts

Benefits of insuring Valuable items

· Comprehensive in nature: Depending on whether you choose blanket or scheduled type of coverage, the policy covers almost every situation, in every part of the United States, unless specific locations have been excluded in the endorsement.

· High dollar limits available: One can insure up to $50,000 for items such as jewelry, furs, silverware, celebrity memorabilia etc. The policy will cover the value of these items as stated in the endorsement.

· No deductibles: With either Blanket Valuable Items or Scheduled Personal Property policy, you will receive the full amount of the item(s) insured, and there are no deductibles.

· Inexpensive: In spite of the above, you will have to pay a premium of just a few dollars a month.

Types of Coverage

Most insurance companies offer three broad types of coverage, along with a host of variations.

· Scheduled Personal Property: If you possess items, some of which have considerable value (5000& and above), a Scheduled Property Insurance is the best option. You will have to make an indent or list of all the items, photograph them and specify the amount of insurance you need for each. There are no deductibles other than a small transaction fee that some insurance companies levy. However, an appraisal is done by the insurer to determine value of the items at the time of buying the policy and also at the time of claim.

·Blanket Valuable Items: If you have several items of lesser value, like daily usage jewelry, sports equipment, antiques, bric-a-brac, artefacts etc, Blanket Valuable Items coverage is a better option. The advantage with this type of insurance, is that, you do not have to indent the items separately. The policy also covers accidental loss of these items. The blanket value for the entire set of items covered can be as low as few thousand dollars, up to $50,000, with no deductible.

·Personal Electronic Equipment Insurance: If you are a gadget freak, or if you have hobbies that require the use of complex electronic equipment, including desktop/laptop computers, audio/home theater systems, it is good to have a Personal Electronic Equipment cover, which again has no deductibles.

While loss of a valuable item can be an emotional setback for you, insuring them will help sustain your passion for collecting valuable items, and in the event of a calamity, you could either replace your loss or be compensated. An agent or broker at your preferred insurance company will be well equipped to brief you in detail and guide you with reference to the best possible coverage that you would need.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Insuring your Condo: Get it Right

A condominium is a great option for a home. It may lack in your own personal lawn in the front, or a backyard, but the fact that you are sharing common resources with other condo owners is what makes it affordable.

In exactly the same way, Insurance for your condo is different from that of single-family home units. Insurance for a condo is typically made up of two components:

a. Insurance for the common areas or common resources: If you are living in a condo, the HSOA will most likely collect monthly dues from you and all other condo owners for its maintenance. A part of it is used to insure the common areas.

b. The individual condo’s insurance: As a condo owner, you are responsible for insuring different components within the four walls of your condo.

To understand in detail the various aspects of the insurance cover for condos under both components outlined in points ‘a’ and ‘b’, you will need to refer to the Condo Association Insurance booklet.

A copy of the condo association insurance guidelines, would have been given to you, at the time of buying the condo. This clearly outlines the responsibilities of the condo association, and you the condo owner. If you have not been provided with this booklet, please collect it immediately and go through the terms and conditions.

Why is it important?

In addition to anticipated damages and repairs, which are minor and are natural as your condo ages, the master policy also factors natural disasters like hurricanes, twisters, floods, and stormy winds. Depending on the extent of damage in the common areas, a corresponding amount will be deducted from each condo owner, which could be moderate or extremely high. Being unaware of such possible costs, may affect your financial outlay. The distribution of the costs depends on the number of condo units in the building, the fewer the condos, the higher the deductibles.

Again, insurance for the common areas are of two types and the HSOA’s master policy clearly indicates this:

· Bare walls in - This covers the exterior structure of your condo, but you are responsible for insuring both movable and immovable assets, inside your home such as appliances, personal belongings, fixtures and fittings, and so on. This is in case of any claim or damage arising at a later date.

· All in – this policy covers the exteriors and structural interior contents of the building (walls, floors, doors, windows, ceiling, cabinetry, countertops, carpeting, lighting etc) but will not cover your personal property.

So, what does the individual condo insurance cover?

The individual condo insurance is quite comprehensive and covers all those incidents or possibilities that can cause damage inside your home. These could be:

· Fire/Lightning/Windstorm

· Vandalism or Malicious Mischief

· Accidental Discharge of Water

· Burglary / Break in

· Accidental impact

· Water seepage damaging your walls

· Injury that comes from slipping on a wet kitchen or bathroom floor

· Liability protection for bodily injury or property damage to others

· Water backup coverage

So what are the items that would be a part of your personal insurance as a condo owner?

As a thumb-rule, these pertain to objects that can be moved or removed easily.

· Furniture

· Area rugs

· Electronic appliances

· Special items such as artwork, jewelry and furs that are expensive

· Rare and collectible items like autographed baseballs bats or balls

As a condo owner, it is important that you are aware of the different insurance coverages with reference to your condo and the common areas. Once you have all the information, you can then determine the extent of coverage you will need for your personal belongings.

Consult with a professional insurance company and they will be able to give you the right guidance, so that your condo receives adequate coverage.