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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (503) 465-6800/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo

Are you insured? Expensive holiday gifts may require special insurance

SEATTLE - The holidays are over and you may have received a beautiful new necklace, a piece of fine art, a new musical instrument or other high-value gift. You'll want to enjoy your gifts for years to come, so it's important to protect them from possible losses, such as theft or fire, by evaluating your insurance coverage.

“A standard Homeowners Insurance policy includes coverage for personal belongings,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president.  “However, the included coverage is limited for items of special value such as jewelry, musical instruments, coins or fine art, the included coverage is limited and may not meet your needs.”

Standard Homeowners Insurance generally protects against loss of high-value items from causes such as fire, theft and other disasters up to a relatively small amount. Jewelry, fine art, furs, musical instruments and other expensive belongings typically have $1,000 to $2,500 worth of coverage, depending on your policy.

To protect your high-dollar items for their full value you can purchase special coverage in addition to your Homeowners or Renters Insurance, called a Floater or Endorsement. Floaters and Endorsements have no deductible and often include the option to replace the item in the event of a loss.

NW Insurance Council and the Insurance Information Institute offer the following consumer tips to help you enjoy your expensive gifts for years to come:

  • Contact your insurance company or agent to find out how much coverage you have under your currently policy and if additional insurance is needed to cover your expensive item or items.
  • Find a reputable appraiser to determine the dollar value of expensive items such as antiques, fine art and jewelry and update the appraisal on a regular bases. The premium for an Endorsement is based on the appraised value. If you have a claim you will be compensated for the most recent appraised value, not the current value at the time of the loss.
  • Examine your jewelry periodically for signs of damage or loose stones and have your jewelry cleaned and checked annually. Many jewelers guarantee the safety of a stone if you have regular checkups. Also, store your jewelry in a safe place such as a safe deposit box.
  • Keep a video, photographic and written inventory of all personal property, including high-value items, and keep receipts. This simplifies your insurance claim if you have a loss.
  • You can access free, downloadable Home Inventory Software at NW Insurance Council's website.

For more information on how to protect your valuables, visit NW Insurance Council or call (800) 664-4942.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.