Personal Articles Policy: What Is It & Do You Need It?

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  • Personal Articles Policy: What Is It & Do You Need It?

Some people can’t help collecting shiny little treasures. Those treasures typically cost a pretty penny, and it’s important to make sure you have enough insurance to cover your horde. 

A personal articles policy, also known as a personal articles floater, gives you a larger safety net for your valuable items than you can get from a regular homeowners insurance policy. Does your treasure trove merit a personal articles policy? Let’s find out. 

What Is a Personal Articles Policy or Floater?

A personal articles policy or standalone personal articles floater is an insurance policy that covers your high-value belongings – such as jewelry, fine art, musical instruments, collectibles, or electronics – in case they get lost, damaged, or stolen. We’re talking about a totally separate policy from your homeowners or renters insurance, not an add-on or endorsement

While your homeowners or renters insurance automatically includes some personal property coverage for your belongings, that coverage is usually pretty limited. Most policies have a $1,000 to $2,500 coverage limit on jewelry, for example. If you own more than $2,500 worth of jewelry, and it gets stolen or damaged, you’re out of luck. 

That is, unless you have a personal articles policy to cover your valuables for the full amount of money it would take to replace them. If you own $10,000 worth of jewelry, $10,000 worth of electronic equipment, and $10,000 worth of fine art, you could get a personal articles policy with $30,000 worth of coverage and be totally protected.   

On What Basis Does a Personal Articles Floater Provide Coverage?

Most of the time, personal articles insurance provides coverage on an open peril basis. That means it will pay out to replace your insured items no matter what happened to them, minus the certain types of damage that are specifically excluded from your policy.

Which items are covered depends on your specific personal articles insurance policy. This kind of insurance isn’t like personal property coverage in homeowners or renters insurance, which automatically covers everything you own. For a personal articles policy, you have to specify which items you want insured. 

You have two options for naming which items are covered by a personal articles floater:

  • Schedule your belongings, which means listing each individual item you want to be included in the policy
  • Opt for blanket coverage, which includes everything you own that falls in a certain category, such as electronics or jewelry

Whatever belongings you choose to insure, they’ll be covered no matter where you are. Whether they get lost or damaged inside your home, in your car, or in another country where you’re vacationing, your personal articles floater will “float” to follow the items everywhere they go.  

Does a Personal Articles Policy Have Exclusions?

While personal articles insurance provides a broad amount of coverage, it does have some limitations, known as exclusions. An exclusion is a peril (insurance-speak for a type of damage or event) for which your insured items are not covered.

Each insurance policy is unique, so you’ll have to check your paperwork to see which perils your policy excludes. Some of the most common exclusions in personal articles policies are:

  • Regular wear and tear 
  • Damage caused by pests 
  • Deterioration

Of course, these are just examples. Your policy might exclude the events listed above or something totally different. But if something isn’t specifically named in your policy as an exclusion, you’re covered for that event. 

For example, let’s say your personal articles floater excludes wear and tear and pest damage. In that case, if you lose your insured items in a flood, you’re covered. If they’re stolen from your car, you’re covered. If you accidentally drop them, and they shatter into a million pieces, you’re covered. As long as it isn’t wear and tear or pest damage, your policy’s exclusions, you’re covered.

How Much Does a Personal Articles Policy Cost?

In general, you can expect personal articles insurance to cost around $1 for every $100 of coverage per year. So, if you need $20,000 worth of items insured, you’ll probably pay around $200 per year for your policy. 

Insurance costs vary widely, though, based on the type of personal articles that are being covered, your insurance provider, and where you live. You can use $1 per $100 of coverage as a ballpark estimate, but you’ll need to get a quote from an insurer to find out exactly how much a policy that fits your specific needs would cost. 

Does a Personal Articles Floater Have a Deductible?

One of the best things about standalone personal articles floaters is that they usually don’t have a deductible. That means that if you file a claim that gets approved, your insurance will pay the full amount, and you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. 

Is a Personal Articles Policy Worth It?

The best way to figure out if a personal articles policy would be worth it for you is to make a list of all your belongings and how much it would cost to replace each one. Is the total amount significantly greater than the personal property coverage limit on your homeowners or renters insurance? If so, it might be a good idea for you to take out an additional personal articles floater.

Don’t forget to look for sub-limits on your homeowners or renters insurance. Even if you have $10,000 worth of personal property coverage overall, that might include only $1,000 to $2,500 of coverage on jewelry, electronics, or another high-value category.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.