My father once told me that everyone should have a hobby. It helps you relax and makes you a more interesting person. As anyone who has a hobby can tell you, having one almost always leads to having more “stuff”. Stuff – the ubiquitous, all-inclusive term for the particular paraphernalia that goes along with your pastime. In terms of insurance, however, these are the items so unique that they stand out from the rest of the herd. In terms of what can be scheduled, there are many similarities, and a few carrier-unique options. For the sake of time, I’ll limit our discussion to the more common ones.
Jewelry is, in my opinion, the most commonly scheduled personal property item. Your homeowner or renter’s policy comes with a little coverage for it but in many cases it’s far from enough. For most people there’s nothing more personal than jewelry. A wedding ring, an anniversary gift, a pendant passed down through generations – some of these items have irreplaceable sentimental value, but if something were to happen to them, you’d be foolish not to have them insured for their monetary value.
With the prices of gold and silver rising in recent years, thefts of both have also risen. If you have an important piece of jewelry in your home, it’s worth it to spend the time and money to have it appraised, and then insure the item for that amount – then set a reminder on your calendar to get it re-appraised in 2-3 years. This last part is key. I once dealt with a claim involving a diamond bracelet lost in a condo fire, that was only insured for the amount it was purchased for – twenty years earlier. Believe me, you don’t want to be in that position. For the sake of time let’s include watches in this category too. If you have one that might be worth a significant amount, please get it appraised and let us know if we can give you a quote for adding on coverage.
Art and antiques are also a popular choice to schedule, the exception being that these items are usually not physically replaceable, but at least you can receive payment for what they were worth. It’s also important to remember that art itself can take many forms. I once had an insured schedule a group of hundred-year-old handmade rugs that had been imported decades ago from what is now Iran. While items like this are truly one of a kind and irreplaceable, they also have a value that should be insured. As I always like to say to customers, “don’t cheat yourself.”
Cameras are another popular choice to schedule. If you’re doing any professional photography, please check with your carrier before scheduling these items, as some insurance companies will not extend coverage for “business personal property” and you might need a commercial policy to cover them. I’d discuss your camera equipment with your agent or account manager to ensure that you’re only scheduling higher value items here. A $4500 camera should absolutely be scheduled, whereas a bag to carry that camera might be fine included under your unscheduled personal property.
Musical Instruments are similar to cameras with respect to scheduling. A high value or collectible item (maybe a guitar autographed by someone famous who has since passed) should be scheduled. An entry-level “knock around” model from the local pawn shop is probably okay left unscheduled. Also similar to cameras, if you play professionally, check with your carrier first to see if coverage will apply at the time of a loss. You wouldn’t want to have a guitar stolen from you while on tour and then hit some sour notes at claim time.
Firearms are another type of personal property that has a sub limit on your policy and can be scheduled. Similar to musical instruments, we should be scheduling collectibles or high value items. The $10,000 shotgun your grandpa passed down to you with the hand-carved stock that looks great over the fireplace, would also look great scheduled on your policy. The one you got at the department store for $400 that you keep “forgetting” to clean? Not so great.
Many types of collectors have insurance for their favorite pastimes. From common ones like stamps, coins, and baseball cards to more unique sets, like music or movie memorabilia. If a collection is too unique, your account manager might have to help you set up a separate policy entirely, sometimes called a Personal Articles Policy. Your homeowners insurance carrier is very good at replacing your home, but replacing a baseball glove signed by your favorite pitcher is not quite their specialty. If your carrier says to take your items elsewhere to cover them, it’s not personal, it’s their way of saying you need to consult someone with more experience with the types of items you have.
Furs used to be a more popular item to schedule, but they’ve seen a decline in popularity in recent years. The appearance of synthetic options, along with changes in fashion have led to fewer furs being scheduled. Why bring them up? Because furs are unique in the sense that while all of the other items I’ve described appreciate in value over time, furs depreciate. Get these appraised to see if they should still be scheduled, or if your policy’s sub-limit is sufficient. From here, the different possibilities spread out in all directions. I’ve seen carriers allow for a variety of scheduled items from silverware to scuba equipment to golf clubs. The bottom line is if something has value to you, check with your agent or account manager to determine the best way in which that value can be protected. You’ve worked hard for your stuff, let us put in the work to protect it.