Just because you have purchased insurance for your Jersey Shore real estate, don’t think that your responsibility has ended there. It is important that you inventory your possessions and keep that list up to date, at least annually. In addition to making a list of items, it is wise to also photograph them–and even better, videotape entire rooms! (And do remember to keep the list, photos, and/or tape in a place where they can not be destroyed by fire, flood, etc. A bank safety deposit box would be ideal.)
Suggestions for making a Jersey Shore Real Estate inventory include:
- Describe each item, including make and model, and where it was bought. Record the serial number, if the item has one.
- Attach sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals to your list.
- For clothes, count each type of item, such as pants, shoes, shirts, coats, etc. Particularly note those that are valuable.
- Supplement your written list with photographs. Make sure you label the photos. *If you have a video camera, videotape each room. You can also add a narration as you tape.
- Don’t forget items that are in drawers, closets, attic, and basement.
- Use your computer. Make your list, scan in receipts, photos, and other papers. Keep these in a fireproof box. Make a copy of your inventory and photos and store them away from the house.
- Add valuable new items (such as a new entertainment system) to the inventory when you purchase them. Review and revise the list annually.
What is generally covered? Under the HO-3 policy type (the most popular), damage caused by perils and hazards such as fire, lightning, smoke, windstorm (in certain parts of the country), hail, vandalism, falling objects, theft, weight of snow or ice, vehicle striking the structure, building collapse, water damage from bursting pipes, and structural damage from an electrical surge are covered.
What is usually excluded? Under the same HO-3 policy, damage not covered includes that caused by an earthquake, floods, windstorms (in certain parts of the country), war, pets, birds, rodents, or insects, sewer backup, pollution. Damage done by you or that which is the result of normal wear and tear is also excluded.
Do not despair, however. You can add riders or special endorsements to your policy to cover some of the above-mentioned exclusions and/or to increase the coverage for items whose value exceeds the basic limits. Some of these endorsements can include: wind, sewer backup, jewelry, fine art, furs, theft coverage protection, etc.
Valuable items such as jewelry, art work, and collectibles should be appraised so that you will have adequate coverage. Another thing to consider is adding a rider to insure your home office if you do not have a separate business policy.
So you have purchased adequate insurance for your Jersey Shore real estate, have inventoried your belongings, and have put that list in a protected place–and you’re feeling secure and confident. But what if life throws you a curve and your property is stolen or damaged? Then what? Look for Part IV in this series for help in filing and/or settling a claim and for tips to prevent losses at all.