November 22, 2011 - As Michigan consumers begin eyeing the Black Friday deals for their family wish lists, especially for high-end items like jewelry, big-screen TVs and computers, the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) advised shoppers to find out what their current homeowners or renter’s policies cover.
“If the new plasma TV or diamond earrings you just purchased are stolen are you covered?” OFIR Commissioner Kevin Clinton said. “Many homeowners and renter’s insurance policies cover electronics and other valuable items while others may require a special rider.”
What to check before making holiday purchases:
Find out what your insurance policy already covers:
The first thing to check is your homeowners or renter’s policy. Find out what household items are covered under your existing insurance and if there are exceptions. Your insurance usually protects against theft or damage, though there may be caveats about what is covered.
Many shoppers may be traveling from store to store with gifts in their vehicle. It’s important to know that if presents are stolen from your car, standard homeowners and renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for this peril.
Know the stipulations of your policy:
Ask your agent about coverage amount limits to make sure your new purchases don’t exceed your policy threshold. Certain valuables might be better covered with an insurance rider or additional policy, depending on the circumstances.
Consider renter’s insurance:
If you are a renter and don’t have renter’s insurance, you might consider this kind of protection. Although your landlord should have insurance for structural damage to the building, this coverage does not extend to your personal property.
Understand the difference between insurance and warranties:
Part of the holiday shopping tradition is the extended warranty sales pitch at check-out. However, a warranty is not insurance and does not cover damage in the way a homeowners or renter’s policy might. A manufacturer’s warranty offers a certain kind of guarantee to the quality or performance of an item for a specified time period.
Update your home inventory:
Keep a list of electronics and other valuable household items with model numbers and receipts. As you buy, give away or sell belongings over time, your coverage needs can change. Checking your inventory regularly can help you save money or avoid being under-insured. A home inventory can also help when filing a claim after a loss.
If Michigan consumers have any questions or complaints regarding an insurance product, company or individual, they can contact OFIR’s toll-free consumer hotline 877-999-6442 or visit www.michigan.gov/ofir
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