Insurance, Simplified: Your Stuff (Part Three in a six-part series)

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I understand thinking about insurance is right up there with thinking about what happens with your money when you die (estate planning). Or thinking about taxes.  All are horribly boring and can often be depressing to consider.  To take the sting out of the thought of insurance, here is part three in a six-part series about what insurance you need, and what you don’t, if your aim is simplicity.

First up is property insurance.  If you own stuff, you should insure it against loss or damage.  That loss or damage might be from theft or natural disasters.  There are three main categories of property insurance:  your abode, your ride, and your other stuff.  Protection for your belongings – your “stuff” – is the subject of this blog post.

If you have belongings that exceed policy limits under your homeowner or renter policy, you should consider acquiring additional coverage.  This sometimes takes the form of a rider on your homeowner/renter policy, or it might be a stand-alone policy called a personal articles policy.  Jewelry and collectibles often trigger a need for this coverage.

People have different philosophies when it comes to insuring valuables that are technically irreplaceable.  Antiques, art and inherited jewelry are examples of things that if lost or stolen, cannot really be replaced — at least not in their original form.  Some folks believe if someone steals great-grandma’s silver (that they never used but kept it in the closet for sentimental reasons), they want to be compensated for that loss.  If this is you, you’ll want to insure items like that.  On the other hand, you might also approach this situation with the understanding that one-of-a-kind items, when gone, cannot be replaced.  In this case, your decision may be to skip insurance.  The cost of insuring items for decades does add up, so try to take the long-view when considering what to insure.

This wraps up the discussion of various forms of property insurance, including insurance for your “stuff.”  Here are a few parting thoughts for your consideration:

  • Seek advice:  It is best to get a licensed insurance agent to sit down with you to discuss your needs.  These blog posts can help you get the conversation started.  Pay close attention to the recommendations an agent might give you, and if you feel you are being oversold, get a second opinion.
  • Review your coverage regularly: Don’t buy personal property insurance and then forget it.  Review it annually to make sure all the coverage you have is still needed, or if any new coverage is required due to new purchases or other changes.
  • Simplifying your stuff simplifies your insurance: Because I strive for minimalism, I have to point out that downsizing your home, buying a cheaper car, driving your car longer and minimalizing your “stuff” can all save you a bundle on your insurance coverage.  Just sayin.’

Your turn.  How have you handled (or not) your personal property insurance needs?

Check out our entire six part Insurance Simplified series:

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