Many of us live in multi-generational households these days, and as of last summer I do too. My two post-college-aged kids moved in, and they brought all their stuff too. Between my house and three, yes THREE, storage units, we’ve got it all covered.
It reminded me that I need to update my home inventory for my homeowner’s insurance, but what the heck am I supposed to do about protecting everything my babies dragged in? What do I need to insure?
After reading In The Nation, I figured it out, thank goodness. I didn’t realize that their possessions might not be covered by my insurance because I personally don’t own them. I just assumed everything under my roof was covered by my policy, but that’s not how it always works.
Figuring out What To Insure: What’s Truly Valuable in Your House?
List high-value items that may need additional insurance:
- Fine furniture
- Genuine jewelry
- High-end electronics
- Sterling silver
- Art with an established provenance, such as signed limited-edition prints
(You can check with your agent to see if a rider is recommended, but when in doubt, hire a licensed appraiser to review your collections.)
List items that are probably adequately insured by your homeowner’s policy:
- Easily replaceable items such as not-rare books, electronics and appliances
- Unfinished projects
- Nonfunctional and obsolete electronics and appliances
- Office supplies, pantry inventory and other consumables
- Holiday decorations
List and photograph items that are on your premises but do not belong to you. If this list is long, or if it includes items that are obviously valuable, talk with your insurance agent about the best way for you and the items’ owner(s) to cover the liability.
Often-overlooked items that might be in your home but that you don’t own include:
- Musical instruments
- Professional or scientific equipment or gear
- Sports gear
- Seasonal gear
- Power and hand tools
- Recreational vehicles
- Family heirlooms
This means my daughter’s treadmill, which she lovingly calls Tread Milliamson, probably needs to be insured. I can’t believe that never occurred to me! Both of the kids also have musical instruments, other sports gear, vehicles and furniture. I definitely need to talk to my agent and get that all figured out and covered.
Recognize that some items have more sentimental value than market value. Family photos and memorabilia probably mean more to you than anything else, but a scrapbook for instance, is insured only for the cost of the actual book. It’s a good reminder to make sure you have back-ups and duplicates and that you keep your important things stored in a safe place.
Most of us feel everything in our home is important, but realizing what needs to be insured and what doesn’t will help us make wise insurance investments.
For more information on what to insure and what not to insure, whether you’re a homeowner or a tenant, visit Nationwide’s In The Nation blog.