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how does personal property coverage work

Whether it’s a couch, bed, antique table, or civil war era gun, folks ask us all the time how their belongings would be replaced in a claim.

Here’s an email conversation we had recently:


documenting your belongings

Dear Jeremy,

I’m curious about documentation of value in case of a home loss.  Particularly with art and rugs.  Do you have any information to read over about that?  And of course any personal advice would be appreciated.





Hey Jason,

You are absolutely correct to wonder about this.  The job of an insurance policy is to ‘make you whole again”.  So, once it has been determined that the loss is covered, they will do their best to get your life back to normal.  However, your ability to describe what you had and the coverage options you chose will be the driving forces in getting your life back to normal.

So let’s address both of those things:

Documentation of your Belongings

The better you can describe what you had, the better job they will do of replacing what you lost. 

how to insure a collectible
So here’s what you should do:

Pick a method.

The three best options are:

1. Home Inventory Apps

2. A Ready-made Checklist

3. Walk through your house with a video camera

Take inventory.

Go room by room.  You can get super specific or you can just scan the room.  The better the documentation, the better the claim experience.

Keep it safe.

Create digital versions & back them up to the cloud.

This kind of documentation will help you get the most out of your insurance policy.

Coverage on Your Policy

The next question you should be asking is HOW are my belongings covered in an insurance claim.  Here are the basics:

STEP ONE: Make sure your policy has Replacement Cost Coverage not ACV!

If it’s going to cost $1000 to replace your couch you would expect your insurance company to give you $1000.  But ACV policies don’t.  Based on a fairly arbitrary measure, they consistently give you less money than it takes to replace your belongs.  Then you just have to figure it out.

But Jason, you don’t have to worry about this, your policy has Replacement Cost coverage so you’re good there.

STEP TWO: Add separate coverage for fine art, vintage instruments, jewelry, and other collectible possessions.

Your regular insurance policy doesn’t have the right coverage for antiques, vintage instruments, fine art, collectibles, etc.  Use this rule of thumb:

If it’s hard to replace, your regular policy is going to fail you.

So we should talk about SCHEDULING these items with AGREED VALUE coverage.

If you can send me a list of your fine art pieces, what rugs you have, and any other antiques in your home I’ll pull together some numbers for getting them covered properly.

I’m super glad you wrote me about this.  Once we have everything properly documented and the right coverage in place you’ll have the peace of mind that a claim will go exactly how you would expect it to.

Have a great day,



 Independent Insurance Agent Bloomington IN
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