Homeowners Insurance Rider – Do I Need One?

Recently we talked about How To Insure Jewelry by adding a homeowners insurance rider, but did you know there are a lot of valuable items you can insure with a homeowners insurance rider? It doesn’t have to be just homeowners policies either, you can add a rider to a renters or condo insurance policy as well. Just like jewelry, insurance riders help cover valuable items that may fall outside a typical homeowners policy. Do you have a fine work of art or a treasured instrument stored in your home? An insurance rider may be just the safeguard you need. Let’s examine why you might need a homeowners insurance rider and some of the most popular items covered by them.

Why A Homeowners Insurance Rider?

First, it is reassuring to know that a standard homeowners insurance policy covers a lot of items and circumstances. It will cover the cost of rebuilding your home in a total loss as well as the items contained within your home. A homeowners policy will also protect against liability claims like visitors falling on icy walks and trees falling from your property onto other other homes or vehicles. A standard homeowners policy will cover a lot of expensive items as well including electronics and other important valuables. Just like how we talk about a standard homeowners policy, you should consider all “standard” homeowners items and structures to be covered by that policy. However, any extraordinary or especially valuable items should be considered separately from your standard homeowners (or renters or condo) policy.

It’s up to you to determine whether or not additional valuables should be covered by a rider. If you don’t tell your insurance company about them, they may not be covered in a claim. If you have questions, be sure to contact your insurance agent to see if you need a rider or not. Remember, a homeowners insurance rider will raise your rates, but the added protection it provides is well worth it. Here are some popular items to consider.

Inheritance / Antiques

Inheriting items can be difficult for any homeowner. On one hand, you have a treasured item passed down from a family member that you want to protect and enjoy for years to come. At the same time, inheritance usually means a family member has passed, and you’re much more focused on mourning than worrying about insurance implications of the inherited item or items. In due time, you’ll certainly want to investigate if a homeowners insurance rider is worth getting. Rare antiques are particularly important to pay attention to as you evaluate a homeowners insurance rider. In many circumstances, you may not even know the value of what you’re inheriting. We recommend taking any items of interest to a licensed appraiser to see if you’ll need additional coverage for it. Antiques and similar items often increase in value over time, and we recommend insuring them as soon as possible.

Paintings / Fine Art

We all have some type of art on our walls, but occasionally there is a special piece in a home that really stands out. If you own fine art of substantial value, then you’ll absolutely want to consider a homeowners insurance rider for it. Since fine art is irreplaceable, it often increases in value over time. Losing it to theft, fire or other damage could be devastating and could represent a sizeable financial loss. If you feel like you own a piece of fine art worth insuring for a significant amount, we encourage you to bring it to a licensed appraiser. They can evaluate whether or not it is worth enough to merit a homeowners insurance rider.

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Cameras / Expensive Technology

As we stated above, most electronics and similar devices are covered under a standard policy. You don’t need to worry about your laptop, tablet, TV or entertainment center. Those items are all covered under a standard policy no problem. However, sometimes a homeowner may own or operate an especially expensive piece of equipment. For example, let’s consider a professional photographer. Customized expensive lenses and related camera equipment can be valued far above a family snap and share camera. For this reason, it may be prudent to investigate an insurance rider. This is especially important if that camera or advanced equipment is part of the homeowner’s livelihood. Electronics generally depreciate in value over the years, but if you paid an extreme amount for the equipment, it is wise to contact your insurance agent about a rider.

Fine Musical Instruments

Do you play classic violin or own a rare classic guitar? Then you should absolutely consider adding a rider for your musical instrument. This is especially important for musicians who depend on their instrument for their livelihood. A classical instrument is a substantial investment in itself, and losing it to theft or fire could be devastating to the owner. Again, a more common item like a pawn shop guitar will be covered under a standard policy. It’s really the fine musical instruments or antique instruments that need to be considered for this. Fine musical instruments will almost always increase in value over time, and now is the time to insure them long term if you haven’t already. In most cases, a current appraisal from a licensed appraiser will be required with the insurance rider.

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Final Thoughts

For the typical homeowners insurance customer, or renters or condo for that matter, an additional rider is not needed. However, we encourage our customers to take an afternoon, evaluate their possessions and see if there is an especially valuable item in their home. It could be jewelry, antiques, fine art, extremely expensive electronics, a fine musical instrument or other rare items. If you’re not sure whether an item requires a homeowners insurance rider or not, we welcome you to contact Square State Insurance and we’ll help you evaluate. Don’t let those treasured items go unprotected, check with us today!

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