Your Great Aunt Marge has always known how much you admire her antique Turkish rug, so, during an extensive remodel of her home, she gifts it to you. Now you couldn't imagine your living room without it. So, you pick up the phone and call your independent insurance agent to ask if it's covered under Personal Property on your homeowners, condo or renters policy.
While your policy notes that you have $40,000 worth of Personal Property coverage, it also states that only $1,000 of that can go toward rugs at any one time. You're not even sure how much the rug is worth, but you think it's more than that.
When you bring the question to your insurance agent, her reply is: Get it appraised. With an appraisal, she can designate or "schedule" specific coverage for it on your policy – regardless of any coverage limits your policy imposes.
It seems perfectly logical, until you realize you're not quite sure how to go about getting a personal property appraisal for insurance. These three tips will help:
- Collect all the information you can about the item. How much did Great Aunt Marge pay for the rug? When? Was it new or used at the time? What are its dimensions? What kind of condition is it in? Who is the manufacturer? All of these details and more could aid a professional appraiser in creating an insurance appraisal report on the item or collection of items.
- Choose your appraiser carefully. You can get an appraisal online just by submitting photos, or you may want someone who will examine your item personally. Either way, you'll need to pay a fee for the service. Before moving forward with an individual appraiser or an appraisal service, check for reviews online or ask for references. Ask other questions, too: What are your qualifications, specialties, rates, etc.? Be sure to let the person know you're looking for an insurance appraisal so he/she can calculate the cost of replacing the item. Also ask your insurance agent whether your carrier has any specific guidelines on what type of appraisal it will or will not accept.
- Get a copy of your insurance appraisal report. Your completed appraisal report should include a detailed description of the item, its value, how the value was determined and the appraiser's name. Share the report with your insurance agent. Your carrier may require a copy of it, too. And, of course, keep your own copy in a safe place, such as your home safe, for your records.
Now that you've gone through the process of getting a personal property appraisal, keep in mind that the value of your item may change in the coming years. You will likely want to get it appraised again, possibly as soon as 2 to 5 years after the initial appraisal. Ask your appraiser for his/her recommendation on how often to get it appraised.
As its value changes, be sure the amount you have it insured for does, too. That way, if it's stolen or destroyed in a covered incident, you may have a higher likelihood of being able to purchase a suitable replacement.
It's oh-so nice to fill your home with the things you love. It's also nice to protect them with your homeowners, condo or renters policy. To check on or update your Personal Property coverage, contact your independent agent today.
To learn more about appraisals and appraisers, visit the American Society of Appraisers
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