Home insurance is your saving grace in the face of (some) disasters and (most) theft. It helps you get your life back together after calamity. It’s valuable, and that’s why you pay for it. You know what else you pay for? Your stuff. And as time goes on, we all tend to accumulate more stuff (not looking at you, Tiny Housers/#vanlifers). We’re here to help you determine when it’s time to increase your home insurance, and how you can do that.
But first, let’s take a moment to define some very important terms.
Policy: Pretty sure you know this one. Your home insurance policy covers your house as it was set up when you moved in–its features, hazards, and your belongings. We’re assuming you’ve already got this in place, if you’re reading an article about when to add to it.
Personal Property Insurance: Not just a clever name, this is exactly what it sounds like: coverage for the things you own, up to their coverage limits (see below)! Speaking of which, it’s worth looking into whether you have replacement cost value or actual cash value coverage, and which is right for you.
Rider: Also called an endorsement or a floater, a rider is an attachment to your policy that edits the original coverage. This could mean an exclusion or (more likely for our purposes here) additional coverage. This whole article could be summed up as “TL;DR: ask your provider about a rider for big purchases.” Anyway, you’ll want to make sure your rider is strong, but not Rider Strong.
Limits: Figuring out when you’ll need a rider depends on a few factors, but you’ll want to start with knowing special coverage limits. There are categories of belongings that have lower limits than overall personal property limits, and we’ve got that list of specific insurance limits for you here. This means your insurance company will only reimburse you up to these (pretty low) amounts in these categories. These low coverage limits are designed to encourage you to seek out additional coverage where you need it. Basically everything in this article is on this list. Your personal property coverage is for anything not on this list.
Exclusivity: Ok, this isn’t really an insurance term. We just want to remind you that your current home insurance provider might not offer the types of insurance you need to cover large purchases, and that’s okay! You don’t have to switch companies completely to get special riders from additional providers.
Now, let’s talk about what kind of additional coverage you may need for all of your recent purchases.