Personal Property Insurance: What You Need to Know

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Imagine for a second that you can’t find your phone. You know, that electronic rectangle that provides endless content and gives you the dreaded smartphone thumb? The one you pick up 160 times a day? The panic sets in, fear pinging through your body. Some might say you’re being dramatic, but given that most phones cost at least half a grand, you know your panic is warranted.

Though many people find their phones after a few minutes of searching, that isn’t always how the story ends. If you’re one of the unlucky ones whose device was stolen, now you’re not only cut off from the outside world but your wallet also just took a hit.

But there is good news. If you have home insurance, both you and your wallet can breathe a sigh of relief. Under personal property insurance (in the property and casualty section of your home insurance policy), your most treasured and expensive items like cell phones, laptops and jewelry are all protected from pitfalls like theft. Read up on all the ways your home insurance policy has your back — no matter how forgetful you are — below.

Key takeaways:

  • Personal property insurance is the portion of your home insurance policy that protects your belongings from things like theft, accidental loss or damage.
  • It provides coverage for anything that you brought into your home, including your guests’ belongings while they’re staying at your place.

What is personal property insurance?

Personal property insurance is the portion of your home insurance policy that protects your belongings from things like theft, accidental loss or damage. 

There are also a few options you have when deciding the type of personal property insurance you want. Choices include named peril policies, which are more common, and only provide coverage from specific disasters or other events listed in your policy. Open peril policies, on the other hand, protect your stuff from even more events (though some perils can be explicitly listed as exclusions). 

What is the difference between personal property and contents?

There is no difference between personal property and contents insurance — other than the name. Personal property insurance is a broad term, and you’ll likely see it called other names such as Coverage C or home contents insurance. But no matter what it’s called, the coverage over your belongings is still the same.

What does personal property insurance cover?

Personal property insurance provides coverage for anything you bring into your home (rather than appliances or fixtures already installed). So whether you’re a budding woodworker with a plethora of tools in the garage or you just love collecting the latest tech, your stuff will be protected just the same. This includes your guests’ belongings while they’re staying at your home, so you’ll be covered from any accidents or break-ins that occur when you’re hosting family or friends.

Most personal property insurance policies are under a named peril policy, meaning your items will have protection from damage that occurs from the following hazards:

  • Accidental water overflow or steam
  • Aircraft or vehicles
  • Artificially generated electrical current
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects
  • Fire or smoke
  • Freezing temperatures
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Riots
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Windstorm

What does personal property insurance not cover?

While the list above is pretty extensive, that doesn’t mean personal property insurance covers you from everything. Generally, your belongings won’t receive protection from perils such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or even water damage that occurs after a flood. For those, you’ll need a separate insurance rider. It also doesn’t cover things like cars, pets or any items that belong to your landlord that they keep at your home. And unless your roommate is specifically listed on your policy, their belongings won’t have coverage either.

Personal property insurance also doesn’t cover any damage done to your home’s structure, or any liability issues that pop up. But as long as you have a comprehensive home insurance policy, you won’t have to worry about your home or liability being unprotected.

It’s also worth noting that there are usually reimbursement limits for costly items like jewelry or technology. These limits can vary, so check with your insurance provider for their specific monetary caps. Once you know where your coverage ends, you can look into additional insurance riders to get your precious items more protection.

How much does personal property insurance cost?

The price of personal property insurance is dependent on whether you have an actual cash value or replacement cost personal property policy, with replacement cost insurance costing more upfront than actual cash value (since it accounts for depreciation). But since it’s rolled into your traditional home insurance policy, you don’t have to worry about paying extra for this coverage.

Personal property coverage is typically 20% to 50% of your dwelling coverage amount.

While personal property coverage is typically 20% to 50% of your dwelling coverage amount, you may want to expand that if you have a lot of particularly expensive items (or if you have an ACV policy that accounts for depreciation). For instance, if your home has coverage for up to $300,000, you should aim for your personal property protection to be in the range of $60,000 to $150,000. If you have a fair amount of tech, art, antiques or valuable equipment, you’d want your coverage to be close to the high-end of that range.

How much personal property insurance do I need?

To determine how much personal property coverage is needed, the first step is to conduct a home inventory to take stock of your valuables and how much they’re worth. This will give you a good idea of the minimum amount of coverage you need. But as most insurance experts will tell you, it’s worth going a bit over what you think you need to protect your belongings.

How to get more personal property coverage

Now that you have a good idea of what exactly personal property coverage is, you might be considering adding more coverage to your policy. If you look at your declaration page and feel your policy limits are not where you want them to be, you have options.

You can purchase a scheduled personal property policy to extend your coverage limits and the number of hazards your items have protection from. You can also add individual riders for specific items, such as jewelry insurance or HVAC insurance. You may even choose to look into home warranty coverage vs home insurance coverage to give your appliances extra protection.

Your devices are not only an avenue for entertainment but are typically quite a financial investment as well. So it makes sense that you’d want the best protection possible for those items. Here at Hippo, we not only treat you like our most prized possession, we also offer four times more coverage for your most prized possessions than many leading competitors. Intrigued about how a modern home insurance company will protect your home? Contact us to learn more.


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