2004-12-09 / Business & Finance

Make Sure Your Holiday Gifts Are Protected, Say Insurance Agents

Thinking of giving or possibly re-ceiving a DVD player, home computer, jewelry or state-of-the-art camera equipment? Once you’ve completed your holiday shopping, don’t forget to consider your insurance needs for those items, advises the Professional Insu-rance Agents of New York State Inc.

“Home theater systems, personal computers, DVD players, jewelry and the latest in electronic gadgets are assumed to be covered if damaged or lost,” said PIANY President N. Stephen Ruchman. “But there may be limitations on the amount of insurance for these items, and there may be limitations on the types of loss or damage that are covered.”

Ruchman recommends consumers consider theft endorsements and floaters for their insurance policies. “With an endorsement to a homeowners or rent-ers policy, you can specify a higher amount of coverage than under the standard policy to protect you if your property is lost, stolen or damaged,” Ruchman said. He also suggested home-owners and renters should look into a personal articles floater. With the floater, items such as jewelry can be covered for their full value, based on a bill of sale or current appraisal. The floater also covers property for additional causes of loss, such as dropping a new ring down a drain, he explained.

“Your professional insurance agent is the best source of information to clarify all the coverages available,” Ruchman said.

What if presents are stolen from your car? Ruchman said these gifts would not be covered by your personal auto insurance policy. “However, you may have coverage, subject to a deductible, under your homeowners or renters policy,” he said.

PIANY further offered the following suggestions to be certain you are adequately insured this holiday season:

• Conduct a home inventory of all furnishings and possessions and up-date this inventory whenever you make major purchases or receive gifts;

• Make sure your insurance policy provides replacement cost coverage for the total value of items in your home inventory;

• Keep receipts, serial numbers and dates of purchase of major items; and

• Appraise jewelry and fine art every few years, because they may change in value.

Ruchman also suggested consumers keep several copies of their home inventory outside the house, such as in a safe deposit box at a bank. This will ensure that, in the event of a loss, the inventory is in a safe place and won’t be damaged.

Your house and new purchases aren’t the only possessions that could be damaged or stolen. “With all the driving that happens around the holiday season, it’s also important to be sure your car is properly insured,” said Ruchman.

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