When you travel on vacation, move to a new residence, put items in a storage unit, have a family member living at college, or pack up all your earthly belongings in a U-Haul truck, suddenly you wonder,“Is all my stuff insured when away from my residence premises?”
Personal Property is most often insured as part of a Homeowners or Rentersinsurance policy. As long as you have an in-force policy that includes your Personal Property then the answer is “Yes, you have coverage.” But, where your personal property is covered, how much limit is available, and what type of claims are covered needs further explanation. See SPECIAL CONCERNS at the bottom of this article to learn about the two common losses that are not covered claims without additional insurance protection.
PERSONAL PROPERTY - WHERE IS IT COVERED?
Here’s what the typical Homeowners or Renters insurance policy says under:
SECTION I – PROPERTY COVERAGES, COVERAGE C – PERSONAL PROPERTY
1. Covered Property
We cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world.
Your personal property is insured anywhere in the world, not just at your residence premises. So, all or part of your personal property can be with you while traveling on vacation, stored in a storage unit, in your car, in your hotel room, in the back of your pickup truck, in a U-Haul truck, etc. and it is still insured. You have the full personal property limit shown in the policy except for a couple of notable exceptions: The full limit is not provided for personal property at other residences and certain types of personal property described under the section Special Limits For Personal Property.
2. Limit For Property At Other Residence
Our limit of liability for personal property usually located at an “insured’s” residence, other than the “residence premises”, is 10% of the limit of liability for Coverage C, or $1,000, whichever is greater.
The policy makes the distinction between your “residence premises” which is your main residence insured list in the policy and other residences (second or seasonal homes, a dorm room, time-share condo, etc.). The policy reduces personal property exposure to 10% at these other part-time residences because they are subject to increased risk like theft, vandalism, and water loss of personal property and should be insured separately if higher limits are needed. So, if you have a $100,000 Cov C Personal Property limit in your policy then 10% or $10,000 is available at other residences.
NOTE: Theft is not a covered loss at other residences except while you are temporarily living there. Staying in a hotel/motel is not considered as other residences.
3. Special Limits of Liability
The policy assigns lower coverage limits to a short list of specific types of personal property like money, jewelry, firearms and business property. For the these limits in your own policy please contact your agent.
Two common personal property losses are not covered without extra insurance protection – dropping or breaking and losing or misplacing.
Dropping or breaking
When you are handling and moving your personal property items they can get damaged or broken. This type of loss would not be a covered claim unless you endorsed your policy with “Special Risk” coverage on personal property (HO-5 form or equivalent). Even with “Special Risk” coverage there are exclusions for fragile items like china and glass. For valuable items that can be easily broken you can provide breakage coverage if you “Schedule” those items for additional coverage.
Damage by vehicles
Fortunately, you do have coverage for damage including breakage of your personal property if damaged by a vehicle. This is really important coverage because when all your personal property is loaded in a vehicle it could all be lost in a collision or roll-over accident. Generally this means that if your personal property is damaged by impacting your vehicle (being carried inside your car or a truck) or is impacted by another vehicle then it is a covered claim. However, if your load just shifts causing damage or your unsecured load just falls out (or blows out) of your vehicle no coverage would apply. You still must make every effort to protect your property by packing and securing it for transport.
Losing or misplacing
When you lose or misplace a personal property item it is not a covered loss. For expensive items like wedding rings and other jewelry you may want to consider “Scheduling” the item. If scheduled the item is then covered for losing or misplacing. NOTE: If you leave an item in a known place and it disappears then the presumption is that the item has been stolen and is covered as a theft.
The content of FAQ articles are general in nature and are not intended as a substitute for professional legal, financial, or insurance counsel for individuals. Insurance coverage forms vary by issuing company and by state. For specific advice contact us.
American Insurance NW Inc. is an independent insurance agency with offices in Lewiston and Moscow, Idaho.