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Protect your precious Valentine’s Day gifts

A thoughtful gift from a loved one may be priceless, but replacing it can be pricey. What happens if a diamond falls out of your stud earrings or your designer watch is lost or stolen? Home insurance can cover you in more ways than you’d expect, especially when it comes to reimbursing you for damaged or lost valuable items. Still, it’s essential to understand your policy’s coverage limits and exclusions. Plus, it helps to take a few simple steps to protect your belongings before anything happens.
What is covered by home insurance?
A standard home insurance policy covers the cost of replacing your valuable items, no matter where they are when damage or loss occurs. This is called personal property insurance, and it’s part of every home, tenant, and condominium unit policy. It protects you if your valuable items are damaged by unforeseeable circumstances such as fire, a windstorm, theft, or a vehicle collision.
However, each policy has a specific coverage limit for the total value of your belongings, and you’d be surprised at how quickly things can add up and exceed it. The average coverage limit for jewelry, watches, gems, and furs (often grouped together) is between $3,000 and $6,000, with a maximum limit per item. If your valuable items in this category add up to a higher amount, consider enhancing your protection with additional coverage. Regardless, you should review your policy limits from time to time and notify your insurance broker of any changes to your collection so you know that all your valuable items are covered.
Schedule your valuable items
Suppose the standard coverage limits aren’t sufficient for your most expensive belongings; it may be beneficial to “schedule” those valuable items under your home insurance policy. A scheduled item, sometimes called a jewelry rider or a valuable item endorsement, is an appraised piece of property explicitly identified on a policy. By scheduling a valuable item, you pay an additional premium to insure it by its actual cash value above the standard limit.
Scheduled items are also covered for repairs or replacement, such as if a jewel falls out of your jewelry, which happens to be one of the most common jewelry-related insurance claims. Generally, you’re not required to pay a deductible on scheduled item claims.
Keep in mind that you can't increase your personal property limit with all-risk insurance, which adds coverage for your home, not your belongings inside. Similarly, you can't schedule a piece of business equipment if you need insurance for your side hustle. You would need a dedicated home-based insurance policy for that.
How to schedule your valuable items
Many valuable items, including artwork, high-end cameras, collectibles, electronics, and musical instruments, can be scheduled. Follow these steps to schedule your prized possessions:

  • Keep your receipt. While it may not be romantic to ask your Valentine for the receipt, it'll help to have proof of how much the item is worth if you ever need to make a claim. They'll likely be touched that you appreciate their gift enough to protect its worth.

  • Have your jewelry appraised. To determine a piece's actual value, you'll need to have it appraised by a professional appraiser. Be sure to research the appraiser's credentials to know they're certified. It's recommended that you submit the value to your broker within a year, as values change over time.

  • Take a complete inventory. Keep your home inventory list up-to-date with detailed records for each item, including appraisal reports for your pricier pieces.

  • Review your policy limits and speak with your broker. If the value of your gift exceeds your policy's coverage limit, it might be a good time to contact your insurance broker and consider additional coverage. This additional coverage will presumably include a rider or floater to your home insurance policy, covering the item's value.

If you're a current OTIP policyholder, contact us at 1-833-494-0089 to review your existing home insurance policy and discuss additional coverage. If you’re not insured with OTIP and are shopping for home insurance, call us at 1-833-615-9326 to get a quote and receive a $20 gift card of your choice!

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