It can be difficult leaving personal items behind If you need to evacuate your home in an emergency situation. Certain things — like televisions and kitchen appliances — can easily be replaced. But others — like cherished photographs and mementos — are irreplaceable.
The fact that some items can be replaced is one of the reasons all homeowners should have property insurance. Having to replace some, or even all, of your belongings is overwhelming enough without the financial protection afforded by a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Here are five things you should know about insuring your personal property in Florida.
- Most policies place caps on the amount you can recover for personal items like antiques, jewelry and artwork. Consider purchasing additional coverage if you have an extensive art collection or any valuable personal property that would not be covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, many couples purchase separate insurance coverage for engagement rings and wedding bands.
- Insurers typically offer two different settlement options for homeowners. You can either insure your property for actual cash value or for replacement cost. Actual cash value means the amount that’s needed to repair or replace the damaged item, minus depreciation (normal wear and tear). In other words, your insurer won’t pay for a brand new television if the tv you lost was 10 years old. The amount you receive will reflect the current value of the lost item. Replacement cost means the amount needed to repair or replace the damaged property with materials of similar kind and quality. This settlement option does not deduct for depreciation.
- What constitutes “similar kind and quality” is not often defined in an insurance policy. This ambiguity opens the door to valuation disputes between insurers and homeowners. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the claims process when such disputes arise.
- Your policy might also cover your dependent child’s personal belongings while he or she attends college. Typically this coverage protects your child whether he or she lives on campus or off campus. But check with your insurance provider. You might need to purchase a separate policy for this type of coverage.
- If you don’t own a home, you might need to purchase renters insurance, which will cover your personal belongings up to a certain value. In fact, many apartment owners and other rental companies require renters to purchase such insurance. Owners will have their own property insurance, but that only extends to the actual building — individual renters are responsible for protecting their own belongings.
Keep in mind that insurance policies vary among insurance providers and among individual homeowners. It’s important that you understand the terms of your policy. Ask your insurance agent, and not a friend or neighbor, if you have coverage questions. But contact an experienced attorney if a dispute arises over a particular insurance claim.
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It is extremely important to understand the terms of your insurance policy so that you have an understanding of your rights under Florida law. The Insurance Litigation Group is comprised of experienced and skilled Florida attorneys who can assist you in determining what you are owed under your insurance policy and can help guide you through the complex claims process. If you think you have a claim against your policy, then Contact us today for a free consultation.