How can homeowners insure valuable belongings?
Homeowners insurance policies generally include personal property protection for belongings that are kept inside a home. These might cover items such as clothing, furniture, rugs, dishes, books and the like.
Most standard homeowners policies have a total limit for personal property coverage, and lower specified limits for particularly valuable property. Depending on a policy’s terms, valuable property can include collectibles, artwork, jewelry, wine, valuable articles or similarly expensive items.
The limits of standard homeowners policies can pose issues for wealthy homeowners in a couple of ways:
- The total personal property coverage included in a standard homeowners policy might not cover the full value of a wealthy homeowner’s possessions. In the event of a total loss (e.g. major fire), the value of everything lost might exceed a standard policy’s overall personal property coverage limit. This limit isn’t always adjustable in standard policies.
- The limits for certain high value items might be lower than the cost of just one possession that a wealthy homeowner has. For instance, an engagement and wedding ring themselves might exceed a standard policy’s jewelry limit. A home furnished with antiques could easily exceed any antique/collectible limit. Few standard policies have enough coverage for high-end paintings or sculptures, and there are plenty of like examples.
High value homeowners policies address these issues by providing a lot more personal property coverage. Both the overall personal property limit and valuable-specific limits tend to be much, much more in high value policies.
Homeowners with antiques, valuable artwork, collections, wine cellars, or even extensive heirloom silverware and china collections should consider high value homeowners policies for this reason.
Do high value homeowners policies protect electronics?
The protections that high value homeowners policies provide for electronics stem not just from their typically high limits. These policies often also provide coverage for accidental damage to computers, tablets, televisions and phones.
Retailers and manufacturers sometimes offer protection for new electronics, and it’s obviously nice to have when purchasing high-end computers, tablets and phones that cost well into the four figures.
The protection that retailers offer, however, may not be as affordable or extensive as what an insurer offers. It also typically only applies to individual electronics, and might not cover other risks such as fire or theft.
In many cases, the accidental damage coverage that high value homeowners policies provide eliminates any need for purchasing the protection from a retailer.
What kinds of homes can high value homeowners policies insure?
High value homeowners policies are available for most types of houses, provided they meet the minimum valuation requirement of an insurer. Policies are generally available for:
- Mini mansions and mansions
- High-rise condominiums and penthouses
- Coastal homes and summer cottages
- Mountain and lake lodges
- Co-ops and other unique housing situations
Moreover, policies can cover residences in Downtown Boston, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Eastern Massachusetts, and just about everywhere else in the state.
What other coverages can high value homeowners policies be paired with?
High value homeowners policies can be combined with many other types of personal insurance policies. Some other coverages homeowners might want to purchase are:
- Excess Liability/Umbrella Insurance, which may add onto the liability limits of a homeowner policy. This can help if sued in an opportunistic or especially large personal lawsuit.
- Boat/Watercraft Insurance, which may cover one or more watercraft against damage and loss. Policies also often provide liability coverage for boating, which homeowners policies might not provide.
- Classic/Sports Car Insurance, which may cover one or more specialty vehicles. Policies are available for classic cars, sports cars, exotics and others.
- Golf Cart Coverage, which may cover golf carts that are used on the insured property,
- Fraud Protection, which may cover cases of identity theme and other instances of fraud.
What coverages are included within high value homeowners insurance policies?
High value homeowners insurance policies usually provide the coverages of standard homeowners policies, plus additional protections.
Some of the coverages that are found in most standard and high value policies include:
Dwelling Coverage, which typically provides protection for the primary residence
Other Structures Coverage, which typically covers additional buildings and structures on the property
Personal Property Coverage, which typically covers personal possessions within the residence
Personal Liability Coverage, which typically provides coverage for liability-related risks
Some of the coverages found more in high value policies are:
Living Expenses Coverage, which typically covers the cost of alternative accommodation if the primary residence becomes uninhabitable
Sewer Backup Coverage, which typically provides coverage for water damage resulting from plumbing malfunctions
Coverage for Rebuilding to Code, which typically covers additional costs required to rebuild a destroyed residence up to current building codes
Coverage for Vacation Homes, which typically provides coverage for second and third seasonal homes
Coverage for Refrigerated Food, which typically covers the cost of perishable food that spoils due to a disaster
Kidnap and Ransom Coverage, which typically covers expenses related to kidnappings and ransoms
Does high value homeowners insurance cover water damage?
Homeowners insurance policies generally cover water damage under two different protections. Sewer backup coverage normally covers water damage caused by interior features, such as a sump pump, drain, or burst pipe depending on specific policy terms. Flood insurance normally covers water damage caused by major natural events, such as floods, tidal waves and (sometimes) mudslides.
Most high value homeowners policies come with sewer backup coverage, although it’s important to confirm protections with a knowledgeable insurance agent.
Flood insurance is less standard among high value homeowners policies. Some might include it, but many don’t have it as either a standard or optional feature. Homeowners that need flood insurance can usually get it through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or the private market. This is something that an agent who knows homeowners policies can assist with.
How do insurance companies value houses when underwriting high value home policies?
When evaluating house value, insurance companies might consider comparable sales, tax assessments, past sales history, local market trends, and other data. Some will have an adjustor evaluate more expensive homes on-site.
How can Massachusetts residents get high value home insurance for their house?
For help insuring a more expensive home in Massachusetts, contact us at Paul T. Murphy Insurance. Our independent insurance agents will work with you to confirm that this indeed is the best policy option for your home, and then we’ll help you compare multiple insurance companies’ high value home insurance policies. With our help, you can have confidence that your house (and yourself) are well protected.