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Bruce Sackrison

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

If Santa was especially generous this year, let’s get the right insurance for those gifts.

The presents are opened. Hugs and smiles fill the room. And most of your presents don’t need more than a huge “thank you.” Maybe a kiss where appropriate.

But some of these gifts need just a bit more.

So, let’s talk about what you should do right after Christmas.

Understand your personal property coverage.

Under your typical homeowners, renters, or condominium insurance in Napa, most of your new Christmas presents will be covered under the section in your policy that’s often called Coverage C.

But there are three things to double-check in your policy after you received an expensive gift.

First, is the face amount of coverage high enough to cover all of your possessions?

Is the deductible appropriate? We often assume that everything is OK. Now is a good time to make sure.

Second, do you have Cash Value Coverage or Replacement Cost Coverage?

Most insurance is written with Replacement Cost Coverage. But that’s not always the case.

A beautiful new gift starts depreciating right away. In a year, it may not be worth what it was originally worth. Replacement Cost Coverage makes sure that you get “new for old” if there is a claim. Double-check that your policy has this feature.

Finally, are there limits on certain types of property?

No one likes to read the fine print. But in almost all policies, there are certain items that have limited coverage; it’s important to know these limits and exclusions.

Schedule extra coverage where necessary.

Many policies limit coverage on expensive or fragile things. Here are just a few of those:

  • Jewelry
  • Furs
  • Firearms
  • Expensive electronics
  • Collectibles
  • Fine art

There are often low dollar limits of coverage on these items. There can also be limits on how the loss was incurred.

For instance, if your diamond ring was stolen, there is usually some coverage. But if it was lost (rings do slip off fingers!) there is often no coverage.

Even if the loss is covered, there can be a disagreement between you and the insurance company about the actual value of certain items.

The solution is simple.

You can usually “schedule” extra coverage for these high-value items. It’s sometimes referred to as adding a “floater” to your policy.

Scheduling coverage for special items is less expensive than most people realize. It improves your protection in several ways:

  • Scheduled items are usually exempt from a deductible.
  • Scheduled items often have an agreed-upon value ahead of time.
  • Scheduled items are usually covered for more than just theft or fire.

My advice:

First, have a relaxing holiday season. Take time to reflect on your blessings, especially family and friends.

Then, take a few minutes and call your local agent to discuss your coverage. Make sure your new gifts are insured properly.

If you don’t have a local agent, I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Send me an email or call me. I’d be happy to answer your questions with no obligation.

Happy holidays, everyone, and thank you for following my column over the years.

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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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