Everyone has possessions of value in their home ó some of a high monetary worth and some which simply hold a great deal of importance to the owner. With a typical home insurance policy the major items in a home, including appliances, furniture and clothing, are covered in the event of a theft or loss. There’s also some of coverage for other valuable items, such as jewelry, personal computers or antiques.

The dollar value paid out on these valuables by a home insurance policy can be quite low, however, and is often not nearly enough to cover the cost of the item. To avoid this from happening, many insurance companies offer another level of home item insurance, such as a “premium” or “ultra” coverage. However, even this type of policy will not pay out for extreme or rare situations, like a valuable being damaged by a houseguest. In situations where high-value items in a home fall outside the scope of even the broadest home insurance policy, a personal articles floater may be a viable option.

What is a Personal Articles Floater?

A personal articles floater is a type of stand-alone coverage typically added to the current home insurance premium. It allows for extremely high-value items, such as silverware, camera equipment, and rare coins, to be covered by a substantially larger level of monetary protection ó anywhere from $5000 to $50,000. This type of insurance will often come with no deductible attached and will allow for between 30 and 90 days for the homeowner to report new property being added to the policy. This means that if valuable property is purchased and then stolen out of the home before the owner can contact their insurance company, they may still be covered even though the item was not listed on the policy.

When a personal articles floater is purchased, it will require a detailed list or “schedule” of the property that will be covered. Each item must have an appraised value attached to it, and some insurance companies will require proof of that appraisal. If a loss occurs the insurance company pays out the lowest of the following options: actual cash value, the amount the property could reasonably be expected to be repaired or replaced, or the amount of insurance.

How does the Coverage Differ from A Standard Home Insurance Policy?

This type of insurance provides a greater range of coverage, including the ability to claim damage on the items if the homeowner accidentally breaks them or if they were damaged in a flood or other natural disaster that a typical policy would not cover. Personal articles floater policies also cover losses to items that occur anywhere in the world instead of just in the United States, which is the extent of coverage provided by a standard policy. This is particularly useful for those who travel for business or pleasure and take their musical instruments, laptops, jewelry, and other valuable items with them.

For most homeowners, the typical coverage provided by their home insurance, or the enhanced coverage offered, will be enough to replace any lost or stolen items. If, however, there is a possession of great value or extreme rarity in the home, a personal articles floater may be necessary to provide both security for the item and peace of mind for the homeowner.

Some Items a Personal Articles Floater Covers:

  • Jewelry: Any article of jewelry, including silverware, plateware, pewterware, and trophies, are insurable. You may need to provide an original bill of sale or signed appraisal to have these items insured.
  • Furs: Any article of fur, trimmed with fur, or one that the fur is the principal value is insurable. Similar to jewelry, these items must be listed separately in the policy.
  • Stamp and Coin Collections: Any valuable stamp and coin collection can be covered with a personal articles floater. Insurance can be purchased on an individual item-by-item basis or the entire collection can be insured together.
  • Cameras: Your camera and associated gear, including filters, sunshades, and meters, are insurable with this type of coverage. Binoculars, telescopes, and projectors used in photography also qualify for coverage, while coin-operated devices and radar cameras do not. If you use camera equipment professionally you may need to pay an additional premium.
  • Musical Instruments: A personal articles floater can cover musical instruments, their cases, and sound equipment. If you use these items professionally then you will need to purchase an endorsement and pay a higher premium.
  • Golf and other sports equipment: Your clubs and clothing can be covered by a personal articles floater, but golf balls aren’t unless loss is suffered by fire or burglary. This coverage protects your gear if it’s in your locker while you’re playing golf.
  • Fine art: This category includes paintings, antique furniture, manuscripts, and rare books and glasses.

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