Insurance Coverage for Personal Property

Your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy provides coverage for personal property that is owned or used by you or your family, no matter where it is located. However, the amount of coverage and what the insurer will pay on a claim for damage or loss depends on where you normally keep your property and what kind of personal property it is.

What is Personal Property?

Generally, personal property, also known as chattel or personalty, is any property that is not attached to real estate or to buildings or structures on real estate. The personal property that is covered in your homeowner's policy (Coverage C) consists of the contents of your home and personal property that you may keep elsewhere.

Personal property that usually is covered in homeowner's or renter's policies include:

  • Furniture and appliances
  • Television sets, computers and other electronic equipment
  • Clothing, linen and drapes
  • Utensils, dinnerware and cookware
  • Tools not used in a business
  • Watches, jewelry and other valuables
  • Collectables and fine art

Personal property not covered in your policy includes:

  • Animals or birds
  • Automobiles, recreational vehicles and trucks
  • If you are a landlord, the personal property of your tenant
  • If you are a renter, the personal property of your landlord

Perils Insured Against

Personal property is insured against losses caused by 12 specific perils or risks:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Sudden and accidental damage from smoke
  • Windstorm, hurricane and hail
  • Explosion
  • Aircraft and vehicles
  • Vandalism and malicious mischief
  • Riot and civil commotion
  • Collapse of building or any part of a building
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from appliance, plumbing system, and heating and air conditioning system
  • Falling objects
  • Freezing of household appliances
  • Theft

Coverage Limitations

Generally, policy limit for damage to personal property is set at 70 to 80% of the amount of the policy limit for your dwelling in Coverage A. In most policies, personal property is handled in two ways. Personal property is considered to be unscheduled property unless it is specifically listed as scheduled property.

Unscheduled property is covered up to the policy limit set for personal property damage, while scheduled property is set at sub-limit amounts of coverage. If you want to extend the policy limits or buy separate coverage for scheduled property, you should contact your insurance agent. Examples of scheduled property and their sub-limits are:

  • Money or bank (ATM) cards with a $100 sub-limit on loss, theft or unauthorized use
  • Bullion or valuable papers with a $500 sub-limit
  • Jewelry, watches, furs, fine art with a $500 sub-limit for loss by theft
  • Business personal property with a $2,000 sub-limit

Related Resources on Lawyers.comsm

- Dealing with Insurance Companies article
- Property Insurance articles and information
- Homeowner's Insurance FAQ
- Finding an Insurance Attorney
- Find a Property Insurance attorney in your area
- Visit our Insurance Claims message board for more help

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