How Much Personal Property Coverage Do I Need?

Choosing the right personal property insurance coverage can be a challenging task. It's important to ensure your policy will sufficiently cover the value of your belongings.

The Difference Between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Value

Although actual cash value and replacement value both relate to the coverage you receive for damaged personal property, they function in significantly different ways.

Replacement Value

Replacement value is the cost of replacing an item with a brand-new item. So, if your TV is stolen, the replacement value would be enough to purchase an equivalent, brand new model at the store.

Actual Cash Value

Actual cash value is determined based on the replacement cost minus the depreciation of a damaged or stolen item at the time of the loss.

For example, if a 5-year-old TV is replaced at actual cash value, the payout would be equivalent to the price of another 5-year-old TV rather than the price of a brand new one. This may be significantly less money than would be required to purchase a brand-new TV from the store.

This is because over time the value of nearly everything declines. Your furniture begins to wear after many years of binge-watching and game days, the TV begins to flicker, and your computer doesn't run as fast as it used to.

Which is better?

Neither type of insurance is better than the other. Actual cash value insurance will be the best coverage for some, while not for others.

With replacement cost insurance you'll receive more payment in case of damage or theft, but the downside is you'll also be paying more in premiums. With actual cash value insurance, you won't be paid as much for stolen or damaged items, but you will save money on premiums.

The right type for you depends on the value of your personal property and what you're willing to pay.

Homeowners V. Condo Owners Insurance

Homeowners usually have less control over their personal property coverage. Their coverage typically amounts to half of their policy's dwelling coverage limit. For example, if your dwelling limit is $300,000, then you will have $150,000 in personal property coverage.

Condo policies usually allow for more control when selecting a personal property limit. The allowed will vary depending on the insurer.

Understanding Sub-limits

Understanding your insurer's sub-limits is key to buying the right coverage. For example, you might have $100,000 in total coverage but only be entitled to a smaller, fixed amount for an individual item.

Common sub-limits on personal property insurance include:

  • Cash and gold: $250
  • Furs and precious stones: $1,000
  • Home-based business property: $2,500
  • Silverware: $2,500
  • Firearms: $2,500

When the value of an item exceeds your insurer's sub-limit, consider scheduling the item by listing it directly in your policy. Scheduling an item separately with your insurer will mean it's protected for its entire value. This will slightly raise your premium, and an appraisal or detailed description of your possession may be required.

Now with a good grasp on personal property insurance, it may be time to consider purchasing coverage or updating a current policy. Edison Insurance Company can customize your policy to fit your needs. Call us at (866) 568-8922 to get a free quote.

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