Floater Insurance – The way to protect your precious things
When you think of ways to protect your personal belongings, home insurance is probably right up there on your list. After all, home insurance usually covers damages to most of your personal belongings that were inside the home or on your property. However, most home insurance policies only cover damages up to a certain amount, and may not sufficiently cover—or refuse to cover—particularly expensive items, such as pricey electronics, heirloom jewelry, or vintage furs. That’s where floater insurance comes in.
While it may sound like a policy more appropriate for boats or other aquatic equipment, this kind of insurance is called floater insurance because it protects property that is easily moveable, ie. “floatable,” yet still very valuable. Think of floater insurance as an addition to your traditional home insurance in case you have objects that require a bit more care and protection.
How floater insurance works
Most home insurances will only cover damages up to a certain amount. That means that you may not get a full refund for particularly expensive items such as electronics, valuable jewelry, or expensive artwork if they get damaged, lost, or stolen. If you have a Rolex that your grandfather handed down to you, or a very fancy sound system in your basement, or a valuable painting that was purchased at auction, you’ll want to ensure that these items are particularly protected.
While home insurance usually has coverage limits for valuables, floater insurance covers one particular item, in its entire value. It’s extra, bespoke protection for an important item that requires extra care. That’s the thing about floater insurance: If you want to cover more than one item, you’ll need to purchase separate floaters. However, you can add more than one floater to your existing insurance policy.
So let’s say your home was broken into, and your home insurance covers your valuables up to $8,000. However, among the things that were stolen from your home was your heirloom engagement ring, which is worth $10,000 alone. The ring wasn’t the only thing that was stolen: Some necklaces and watches are gone as well. Your home insurance policy will only cover up to $8,000 for all of those valuables combined. If you had a floater policy just for your ring, however, you could rest assured knowing that you’d be reimbursed for the ring’s the full amount.
Another thing to keep in mind about a floater policy is that it protects the covered asset even if it’s lost or damaged outside of your home. While every policy is different, many floaters also protect against accidental loss, such as misplacing your ring in a public restroom while you were washing your hands or accidentally dropping it down the drain in a hotel room.
Before purchasing a floater policy for a specific item, that item’s value must be professionally appraised in order to determine the premium. Only then will an insurance agent consider a floater policy for the item. It’s also important that the appraisal be periodically repeated, ideally every five years or so, in order to ensure that the insurance valuation is still correct.
What items do floater policies cover?
While there’s no specific minimum dollar amount that qualifies an item for a potential floater policy, anything that has a high market value that may not be sufficiently covered by your home insurance policy can be a good candidate for a floater policy. Here are some examples:
- Jewelry, particularly engagements/wedding jewelry and heirloom jewelry;
- Rare collectibles, such as stamps, coins, or vintage comic books in mint condition;
- Fine art, such as paintings, sculptures, and drawings;
- Antique furniture;
- Expensive electronics, such as speakers, sound systems, and projectors intended for personal use;
- Musical instruments, such as a grand piano, intended for personal use;
- Camera equipment;
- Sporting equipment, such as skis, bicycles, or golf clubs.
A floater insurance policy isn’t necessarily for everyone. It’s important to take stock of what you own, how much it’s worth, and what your home insurance covers. Oftentimes home insurance providers will have specific coverage limits for specific items, such as valuables, electronics, or sporting equipment. If you own an item of great value and want to make sure it’s well-protected, a floater policy can close the coverage gap of your home insurance and give you peace of mind in knowing that your valuable item has some extra protection, just in case.
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