Insurance can provide you with peace of mind that your personal property is protected, and insurance companies offer policies to cover property ranging from jewelry to homes. If your property is damaged, you will generally be reimbursed according to the terms of your agreement, but you may have to provide certain documentation or pay a deductible first.
Personal Property Insurance
Insurance companies offer a variety of insurance policies to cover personal property. Homeowner's insurance, for example, will frequently cover the cost of items damaged inside a home. Uninsured motorist coverage ensures that you will be reimbursed if your car is damaged by an uninsured driver. Some people choose to insure individual pieces of property such as expensive jewelry, heirlooms and similar items. Renter's insurance policies also generally cover damage to personal property in a rental home.
Consulting the Contract
Your insurance contract is your best source for information about reimbursement. You may be eligible for reimbursement only in some circumstances. For example, homeowner's insurance doesn't typically cover personal property damage when the damage is caused by a flood. You may also have to prove that the damage was not due to your own negligence and you may be required to provide documentation of the property's condition prior to the damage.
A deductible is a payment you have to make before your insurance kicks in. This is usually a small portion of the damage. If the damage is only slight, your insurance might not cover it at all because the cost of the damage doesn't exceed your deductible. In general, high-deductible plans are cheaper because they result in lower rates of reimbursement.
Keep records of your personal property, and update these records regularly. This might include an inventory of items in your home or photos of insured jewelry. If your property is damaged, contact your insurance company with information about the damage. You may be required to complete a claim form or to submit documentation of the damage. Sometimes insurance companies are reluctant to reimburse for damages, and an attorney skilled at litigating with insurance companies can help you in this situation.
Amount of Reimbursement
Depending upon your insurance policy, you may be eligible for reimbursement of the purchase price of the item, for repair costs or for replacement with an equivalent item. Your insurance company may also take into account any devaluation in the property that has occurred since you purchased it. For example, a very old car is unlikely to result in reimbursement for the full original purchase price.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.