Insuring Your Specialty Items
When you purchase property insurance for your home apartment or condo, the policy covers the contents in your dwelling. We recommend that you regularly maintain an inventory of your contents to ensure that your content coverage is adequate, as well as to help when processing any claims. Please note that you may not be fully covered if you own specialty items. Specialty items often have a high perceived value, which could be financial and/or personal emotional value. When thinking about insuring your specialty items, first look at your property policy and identify if there are any limitations to your coverage. There may be a maximum limit per item (e.g., $300 for each bicycle), or an aggregate limit for all items of a certain type (e.g., $1,000 limit for jewellery and watches). Some policies may have a combination of both. It is important to understand what specialty items you have, what they are worth, how much coverage you have today, and what coverage you need to add.
Here are examples of items that typically have limited coverage on a standard property policy:
- Fine Art
- Musical Instruments
- Computer Software
- Collectibles (e.g., books, stamps)
If you have any of the above items, you can get extra coverage by adding an endorsement or a schedule to your policy. An endorsement amends the basic property insurance policy to provide additional coverage for the listed (scheduled) items, up to a specific value. Most companies will require an appraisal or another form of proof to determine the value of these specialty items. Although there will be an additional cost to increase coverage for these items, you are better protected in the event of a claim because the specific value of the specialty items is known upfront. For example, depending on the price of your engagement ring, it is suggested that you obtain an appraisal and, if necessary, add a schedule for this item to your policy so that if you are travelling, going about your daily routine, or misplace your ring, your coverage would assist with its replacement. Engagement rings are examples of specialty items that have a high financial and personal emotional value.
Just as you should review your entire property insurance policy on a regular basis, you should also regularly have your specialty items re-appraised that are listed on your policy. In the event of a claim, you will be covered only up to the maximum amount listed in your property insurance policy, even if the current market value of the specialty item is higher. If you do not take anything else away from this article – please remember that last point. It is important to have coverage for the fair market value of your specialty item today – not what it was worth years ago. And remember, coverage can vary by province and by insurance company, so always speak to a licensed insurance representative to find the right coverage for you.