scheduled items: do you need an insurance rider?

A big part of homeowners insurance is personal property protection for your valuables. However, some items you own may surpass your coverage limits. Not to worry: for wallet-busting wares like the following, there's help at hand.

what is an insurance rider?

When people make a homeowners claim, they're often surprised to find just how expensive some of their possessions are — so expensive, in fact, that they might exceed the limits of their personal property protection.

Well consider the insurance rider, also known as an endorsement or scheduled personal property, a safety net for your most valuable belongings. If a certain item goes beyond the normal limits of your home insurance policy, your insurance rider (if you selected one) could kick in and provide the extra boost of coverage you need to repair or replace it after a covered incident.

Scheduled items on a homeowners policy could also help in situations where your standard coverage doesn't apply. For instance, if your wedding ring slips off in the shower and washes away down the drain (just hypothetical … take the paper bag away from your mouth), this may not be covered by home insurance.

But if you list the ring as a scheduled item, you may be covered for such unfortunate accidents, depending on your insurer. Keep in mind, in most cases you'll need an appraiser to come inspect the item in question before getting a rider.

6 rider-worthy items on your home insurance policy

So which of your belongings could benefit from adding as scheduled items to your homeowners insurance?

Strong candidates include costly purchases, expensive gifts, items that appreciate in value, and stuff you simply previously didn't know was worth anything. A lot also depends on how much personal property protection you have and what items have reimbursement limits under your policy.

Here are 6 common possessions that often merit an insurance endorsement.

1. Jewelry

This is a biggie. Many homeowners policies limit coverage for certain categories of valuables, jewelry often being one of them. It could be wise to get an insurance rider for, say, your luxury watch, diamond engagement ring, or sapphire necklace you inherited from your great grandmother.

2. Quirky collections

A personal stamp or coin collection is usually worth very little … until it isn't. If a collection grows big enough or features the right rare pieces, its value can suddenly skyrocket, making a rider a worthwhile purchase.

3. Fine art

Given the right circumstances, few items appreciate in value like artwork. Even if that oil painting had a price tag well under your coverage limits when you bought it, it's smart to periodically check what it's worth now. After all, you'd hate to discover a piece of art was your most valuable asset after a burglary or home fire — when it's too late to secure coverage for it.

4. Antiques

Ah, if only we could all go on Antiques Roadshow and get an in-depth breakdown of our heirlooms and knickknacks. But since we can't, an insurance rider makes a nice fail-safe.

While you may be oblivious to how much the hidden treasures you've inherited, acquired at flea markets, or that seemingly materialized out of thin air in your basement are worth, you could have something truly valuable on your hands. Whether it's old vases, oriental rugs, or hand-carved furniture, antiques are investments you want protected.

5. Dining/drinking sets

If you're like most people, you haven't used (or seen) your fine china, sterling silverware, or crystal wine goblets in years. You may have even forgotten they exist. But they're there, tucked away in a hutch, delicate floral patterns wilting under dust — and they can often be shockingly valuable.

6. Electronic/home office equipment

Your policy may also limit coverage for the "home office" category, and things like printers, scanners, computers, and fax machines don't come cheap.

And even if it's not used in a home office, electronic equipment, such as cameras or audio accessories, can often be some of the most expensive stuff in your place.

time to take inventory

While these are some of the most common rider-friendly items, it's not an exhaustive list by any means. The only way to know for sure what your stuff is worth and how much of it could benefit from increased coverage is by taking a home inventory.

Already know how much your valuables are worth? Speak with our licensed agents or get a free homeowners insurance quote to start planning coverage that makes sense for your life.

You can also update the limits on your existing Esurance policy to make sure you have extra-special treatment for your most prized possessions.

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