Bruce Sackrison

Bruce Sackrison is a Napa Valley Register columnist who will write about property and casualty insurance matters.

J.L. Sousa/Register

Santa delivered gifts, but he didn’t insure them.

Merry Christmas!

Santa delivered the presents, but did he insure them?

No, he didn’t. It’s not in his job description, and poor old Saint Nick had a lot on his plate. But thankfully, your insurance agent is ready to help.

Here’s why you should make a call to your agent as soon as the office opens:

Thefts are generally up right after Christmas. Thieves know where the goodies are, especially when they see the boxes out on the curb.

I understand that almost everyone forgets to call their agent immediately after receiving an expensive gift.

The thrill of the gift tends to block out this mundane task. So, I’m asking you… call your agent.

Three things to ask your agent when you call:

1. Do I have enough contents coverage?

This is a good first question. Your agent can answer it best by asking you a few simple questions about what needs to be covered in your home.

2. Do I have replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage?

Now we get into the weeds… just a bit. But this is an important question, and I bet some of you have never thought of it.

Why is this question important?

Because actual cash value coverage pays only the cash value of the items lost due to a covered claim. For instance, you may have paid $1,500 for that new TV a few years ago.

Now it’s stolen, and you file a claim. Under actual cash value, you’ll be lucky to get half of that due to depreciation. It pays only what something is worth at the time of the loss.

On the other hand, replacement cost coverage would pay to buy a new TV of similar make and model to replace the one that was lost due to a theft or other covered event. It replaces what you lost.

3. Should I “schedule my expensive gifts?

Only your agent can answer this question properly. Each situation is different, and depends upon the type of insurance policy you have, the value of your gifts, and your unique life circumstances.

What does it mean to schedule a new gift?

It simply means to assign and agree upon a specific value of an item (usually an expensive item) and then insure it for that full amount.

That usually involves an appraisal if it’s artwork, a collectible, or jewelry. Sometimes a receipt is enough to prove its value. Your agent will know.

Scheduled items are usually covered with no deductible. That could be a huge benefit to you.

Another advantage to scheduling an item is that it can provide coverage for “lost or broken” in some cases. Policies can vary, so ask your agent.

I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas with your family and friends.

I’ll see you in January.

May we all look forward to great things next year!

Bruce Sackrison is an insurance property and casualty broker affiliated with Professional Insurance Associates. He is at 707-931-0186 or bruces@sackifs.com.

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