Personal property insurance: Do you have enough coverage?

Personal property insurance is a type of coverage in your home insurance policy that pays to replace your personal items including clothing, furniture, electronics, and appliances after a covered loss.

Pat Howard 1600Jennifer Gimbel

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

&Jennifer Gimbel

Jennifer Gimbel

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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What is personal property insurance?

Personal property insurance is the section of your homeowners insurance policy that covers your belongings (i.e. appliances, laptops, TVs, furniture) against covered losses, like fire or theft. Also referred to as Coverage C, personal property insurance covers personal items both inside your house and anywhere else in the world. 

Most home insurance policies default your personal property coverage limits to 50% to 70% of your dwelling coverage limit, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). [1] So if your house is insured for $300,000, then your belongings might be covered up to $150,000.

However, certain types of personal property — such as expensive valuables and business equipment — typically have lower coverage limits than other types of valuables and may require additional coverage. 

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What personal property is covered by homeowners insurance?

Here’s a look at the types of personal property that’s covered and not covered under most standard homeowners insurance policies.

Home

Personal property that’s covered

  • Appliances

  • Art

  • Bikes

  • Cell phones

  • Clothing

  • Computers 

  • Dishes

  • Entertainment systems

  • Firearms

  • Food, liquor, and wine

  • Furniture

  • Indoor plants

  • Jewelry

  • Kitchen utensils

  • Lamps

  • Rugs

  • Sports equipment

  • Toys

  • TVs

Renters

Personal property that’s NOT covered

  • Aircrafts

  • Animals, birds, or fish

  • Business data, credit cards, and electronic fund transfer cards

  • Hovercrafts

  • Motor vehicles

  • Property of roomers, boarders, and other tenants

  • Property in a room or apartment that’s typically rented out

  • Property that’s rented 

Does personal property insurance cover belongings outside of the home?

Yes, your personal property coverage extends to personal property losses that occur away from your residence, but coverage limits on off-premises losses are limited. Your insurer will generally let you use up to 10% of your personal property coverage limit to repair or replace your items if they’re damaged or stolen away from your house, according to the III. While that may seem like a small amount, if your personal property coverage is $200,000, that’s still $20,000 in coverage for off-premises losses.

How does personal property coverage work?

Personal property coverage works similarly to your home insurance policy’s dwelling coverage. If your belongings are damaged or destroyed, you’ll file a claim with your home insurance company. If the damage is covered by your policy, they’ll pay to replace your items — up to the coverage limits in your policy. 

Just keep in mind you’ll need to pay your policy deductible before your insurance company will kick in to replace your stuff. So if your deductible is higher than the cost of replacing your belongings, then you won’t be able to file a claim.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Say you have a home insurance policy that includes $150,000 of personal property coverage and comes with a $1,500 deductible.

A tree falls on your home, causing $25,000 worth of damage to your living room furniture and media equipment. The damage is covered by your home insurance policy, so you decide to file a claim to replace your belongings because the $25,000 claim outweighs your $1,500 deductible.

A few months later, your $500 laptop is stolen from your hotel room. Because your deductible is higher than your computer's value, you decide to forego filing a home insurance claim and pay to replace your laptop out of your own pocket.

How much does personal property coverage cost?

Personal property coverage is included in almost every type of homeowners insurance policy, so you don’t need to pay anything extra to get this coverage. As of March 2022, the average cost of home insurance in the U.S. is around $1,899 per year for $300,000 in dwelling coverage and $150,000 in personal property coverage.

That being said, if you have expensive valuables and decide to schedule these items via an endorsement, that will likely increase your rates. Upgrading your personal property coverage to replacement cost value coverage can also increase your home insurance rates.

What are the two types of personal property coverage?

The two types of personal property coverage are actual cash value and replacement cost value. With a standard home insurance policy, your personal property is typically covered at its actual cash value, which means years of wear and tear on the item is deducted from your claim payout. 

But most companies give you the option of upgrading your personal property coverage to replacement cost value. Personal property with replacement cost coverage pays to replace your belongings with new items — regardless of how old or worn they are. If you have this level of coverage and you file a claim, the insurance company will typically pay out the actual cash value of the settlement amount first, and then the remaining amount once you purchase the replacement items.

Here’s a quick look at how these two types of coverages compare.

Actual cash value coverage

Replacement cost value coverage

How it works

Covers your belongings at their actual cash value — meaning depreciation is deducted from your insurance claim payout

Covers your belongings with new items of similar type and quality — without deducting for depreciation

How much it costs

No extra cost — comes standard with most home insurance policies

Extra cost varies by insurance carrier and policy

When it’s a good idea

You don’t own much stuff or the things you do own are relatively new and still under warranty 

Recommended for anyone who can afford to upgrade to this extra coverage — especially if your belongings are older

→ Take a deeper dive into actual cash value vs. replacement cost value coverage

What types of damage does personal property insurance cover?

Insurance for personal belongings helps pay to repair or replace your stuff after a covered loss, such as a break-in, fire, or bad windstorm. But exactly what types of damage your personal property insurance covers depends on whether you have a named perils or open perils policy.

Named perils policy

A standard home insurance policy protects your personal belongings against the 16 named perils listed on the policy.

That means if any of the following cause damage to your belongings, your insurer will help cover the cost of replacement or repairs.

  • Accidental discharge/overflow of water

  • Damage caused by aircraft (not your own)

  • Damage caused by vehicles (not your own)

  • Explosion

  • Falling objects

  • Fire or lightning

  • Freezing

  • Power surges

  • Riot or civil commotion

  • Smoke

  • Sudden tearing/cracking of household systems

  • Theft

  • Vandalism and malicious mischief

  • Volcanic eruption

  • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet

  • Windstorm and hail

If you file a personal property claim on a named perils policy, the burden of proof falls on you to prove the loss was caused by one of these perils explicitly listed in your policy. 

Open perils policy

On the flip side, some home insurance policies are open perils or all risk policies. This means your belongings are protected from any type of damage as long as it’s not explicitly excluded from your policy.

Here are the typical causes of damage that are excluded from coverage in open perils policies.

  • Damage during a move

  • Earthquakes

  • Flooding

  • Insects, rodents, pests, and pet damage

  • Mold and corrosion

  • Natural settling of the foundation

  • Normal wear and tear or lack of maintenance

  • Poor construction

  • Pressure from tree roots

If you file a personal property claim on an open perils policy, the burden of proof falls on the insurance company to prove the loss was caused by a peril they explicitly excluded in your policy. 

Can I buy additional personal property coverage for these excluded perils?

Most home insurance companies offer additional coverage offerings to further protect your personal belongings against these other types of perils. Oftentimes these can be added to your existing home insurance policy. If not, you’ll have to purchase a separate policy. 

Here are a few of the most common types of additional personal property coverage, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. [2]

  • Flood insurance: If your home insurance company doesn’t offer a flood insurance endorsement, you can purchase a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private flood insurance carrier.

  • Earthquake insurance: Similar to flood insurance, you might be able to add this coverage to your existing home insurance policy. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy.

  • Equipment breakdown coverage: This is a policy add-on that covers appliance breakdown due to electrical or mechanical failure. So if your fridge breaks down because of a broken compressor or your computer’s motherboard fries after a short circuit, equipment breakdown coverage can cover the cost of replacement or repairs.

Policy

Where can I find out what type of personal property coverage I have and my limits?

You can find what type of personal property coverage you have,  your limits of liability, and any additional endorsements you have for added protection on your home insurance policy’s declarations page. This is typically given to you when you first purchase a policy. If you’ve misplaced it, contact your insurance company. They can typically send you a copy via email or snail mail.

How much personal property coverage do I need?

Your personal property coverage limit should be enough to replace everything in your home. While it usually defaults to 50% of your policy’s dwelling coverage limit, most insurance companies will give you the option of higher or lower limits depending on how much stuff you own. 

The best way to estimate the total value of everything you own is by putting together a home inventory, according to the III. [3] A home inventory with item descriptions and values not only makes it easier to calculate your personal property coverage, but it can also help expedite claims.

Along with taking stock of everything you own, you should also decide whether actual cash value coverage is adequate for your belongings, or if you should upgrade to replacement cost coverage.

Do you have enough coverage for your personal belongings?

Start calculator

What is valuable personal property insurance?

Valuable personal property insurance includes coverage for jewelry and other types of expensive items you own, but they generally have special limits of liability. This means they’re typically only covered up to a maximum amount, or sublimit. 

Here’s a look at special limits of liability for certain types of valuable personal property.

Items with special limits

Maximum sublimit

Money

$200 (includes coins and medals)

Securities

$1,500 (including stamps)

Watercraft

$1,500

Jewelry

$2,500 (when stolen)

Furs

$2,500 (when stolen)

Silverware

$2,500 (when stolen)

Guns

$2,500 (when stolen)

Business property (on premises)

$2,500

Business property (off premises)

$250

Some insurers may have stricter sublimits if your expensive items are stolen away from your home, like if your jewelry gets swiped at the airport. Make sure to check your policy to learn what your off-premises coverage is for valuable items.

Can I increase my personal property coverage for expensive items?

If you own expensive belongings with special limits of liability, you may be able increase coverage through an endorsement. 

  • Scheduled personal property coverage: Increases coverage limits on specific high-value items. Typically costs around $100 for every $5,000 in coverage. Also covers more types of loss, like mysterious disappearance (aka if you lose or misplace a scheduled item). 

  • Blanket coverage: Unlike scheduled property coverage, which is for individual items, blanket coverage gives you a blanket limit on a collection, or entire type of property — like your entire jewelry collection. 

  • Home business endorsement: Increases coverage for your business property, typically up to $5,000 for on-premises coverage and $1,000 for off-premises.

The best companies for personal property coverage

Most home insurance companies offer the option of upgrading your personal property coverage to replacement cost value coverage. However, some go even further to offer extended protection for jewelry, fine art, firearms, appliances, and more.

Here's our list of the best companies for personal property coverage.

Company

Best for …

Policygenius rating ★★★★★

Average annual premium

AIG

High-net-worth homeowners 

4.1 out of 5

$1,339

Chubb

Equipment breakdown coverage with high limits

4.1 out of 5

$1,706

State Auto

Replacement cost coverage you don’t have to pay extra for

3.7 out of 5

$857

Encompass

Protecting your work-from-home equipment

3.2 out of 5

Not available

Why AIG is best for personal property coverage

AIG is our top choice for personal property insurance for high-net-worth individuals. It offers a slew of top-tier coverage options and services to keep your home and belongings safe that aren’t typically available through standard home insurance companies. 

Our favorites include personal wildfire protection if you live in an area at high risk of wildfires; background check screenings for nannies, housekeepers, and other in-home professionals; personal security services to minimize threats to your home and property; and high coverage limits for any type of valuable collection — from antiques to books to couture to fine wine.

Just keep in mind that AIG is best for homeowners with high-value homes and belongings. If you’re looking for a more modest home insurance policy with standard coverage limits, you might want to consider another company on our best list.

AIG personal property coverage options

AIG offers the following personal property coverage options:

  • Replacement cost coverage: Any belongings that are damaged by a covered peril will be replaced with new items, meaning depreciation isn’t factored into your claim payout.
  • High-value collections coverage: Offers open perils coverage for virtually any type of collection you have — from art and antiques to wine and books to jewelry and couture — with no deductible if your valuables are damaged by fire, theft, earthquakes, flooding, or other covered perils.
  • Breakage of fragile items: Covers the breakage of fragile items including china, crystal, and antiques — ideal for historic homeowners.
  • Personal wildfire protection: Offers personal wildfire protection to homeowners in select areas of the country at high risk for wildfire damage to prevent it before it occurs.
  • Personal security consultations: Take advantage of personal security services to minimize threats to your family, home, and belongings — whether you’re interested in security details for an event or help designing your home alarm system.
  • Background checks: Homeowners have access to resources to screen nannies, drivers, gardeners, housekeepers, chefs, home health workers, and other in-home professionals to make sure they’re qualified and credible to ensure your family and belongings are fully protected.

Why Chubb is best for personal property coverage

Chubb makes our list of the best companies for personal property coverage thanks to its robust equipment breakdown coverage. It offers high limits up to $500,000 that not only extends to your appliances and home systems, but also your personal computers, laptops, security systems, portable humidifiers, small countertop appliances, and more. 

Just keep in mind that Chubb typically only insures high-value homes with expensive cars and valuables. So if you're insuring a mid-sized home with standard personal property and nothing else, Chubb probably won't take you on as a customer.  

Chubb personal property coverage options

Chubb offers the following personal property coverage options:

  • Replacement cost coverage: Offers replacement cost coverage for everything from your custom cabinets and flooring to your upgraded appliances. And if you decide not to replace them, you can opt for a cash settlement instead.
  • Equipment breakdown coverage: Get up to $500,000 in coverage to protect your small and large appliances, home systems, personal computers, humidifiers, and more tech gadgets.
  • Valuable articles coverage: Offers both blanket and scheduled items coverage for your jewelry, fine art, wine and spirits, and other valuable collections — paying up to 150% of the value of the item to account for increases in market value.

Why State Auto is best for personal property coverage

We like State Auto’s personal property coverage because even its most basic policy comes with replacement cost coverage by default — meaning you won’t have to pay an extra premium to replace your belongings with brand-new items, regardless of their age or wear and tear.

State Auto personal property coverage options

Here’s a breakdown of the personal property coverages in each of State Auto’s three policy tiers:

  • Standard policy: As we mentioned above, State Auto’s base policy includes replacement cost coverage for your personal property.
  • Protection plus policy: State Auto’s second-tier policy includes replacement cost coverage for your personal property, as well as coverage to replace both your keys and locks if your keys are lost, misplaced, or stolen. You’ll also get up to $1,000 of food spoilage coverage if your refrigerator or freezer contents go bad due to a power outage or breakdown.
  • Premier policy: Its top-tier policy includes all of the above coverages as well as expanded, high-limit protection for valuables including silverware, jewelry, fine art, and collectibles.

Additional personal property coverages you can add on to any of the above policies for even more protection include:

  • Valuable articles coverage: Choose from blanket protection for a certain category of items, like jewelry, computers, or firearms, or scheduled items coverage that provides you with open perils coverage for specific items you choose.
  • Extended property coverage endorsement: Secure even more coverage for your personal belongings, including your cell phone, personal records on your computer, fire extinguishers, GPS gadgets, and business property including computers, laptops, monitors, desks, printers, and other tools.

Why Encompass is best for personal property coverage

Encompass makes our list of companies with some of the best personal property coverage thanks to its home business property coverage. This optional endorsement pays to replace laptops, desks, monitors, and other business property damaged or stolen from your home — up to your policy coverage limits. It also covers up to $15,000 for business property losses that occur away from your home.

Encompass personal property coverage options

Encompass’s highest tier of coverage offers the highest level of protection for your personal belongings, including:

  • Extended replacement cost coverage: Instead of offering individual limits for your home, belongings, and other structures, Encompass extends your limits to 200% of your home’s value to cover all three. This ensures you’ll be able to replace your belongings with new items regardless of the cost — ideal right now in times of high inflation.
  • Jewelry and fur coverage: Offers $10,000 of coverage for your jewelry and fur — whether they’re damaged in a covered event, lost, or stolen — without having to add on a special rider or scheduled property endorsement.
  • Fine art coverage: Covers the replacement of your fine art’s protective glass barrier, as well as any broken statues or other fragile pieces of art without having to add on a special rider or endorsement. 
  • Lock replacement coverage: Pays to replace your lost or stolen keys, as well as your house locks, without having to pay a deductible.

You also have the option of adding two endorsements to personal belongings insurance for even more protection:

  • Home business property coverage: Pays to replace laptops, desks, monitors, and other business property damaged or stolen from your home — up to your policy coverage limits. It also covers up to $15,000 for business property losses that occur away from your home.
  • Lifestyle endorsement: Protects everything from the personal belongings of your family members who are living in an extended care facility, to your sports and hobby equipment, to the personal belongings of a friend or family member who you’re providing live-in home care to.

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Frequently asked questions

What type of insurance will provide personal property protection?

Personal property protection is available through standard homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and condo insurance policies. Also known as Coverage C, it protects the belongings inside of your home from perils outlined in your policy.

What are the three main types of property insurance coverage?

The three main types of property insurance coverage include: actual cash value, replacement cost, and extended replacement cost coverage. Actual cash value coverage pays to replace your belongings — minus depreciation. Replacement cost coverage pays to replace your belongings with new items — without taking depreciation into account. And extended replacement cost coverage increases your personal property coverage limits to account for inflation or market value fluctuations.

Why is property insurance important?

Property insurance is so important because it protects your home and most treasured belongings against damage caused by fire, theft, windstorms, or other disasters life throws your way. If you didn’t have personal property insurance, you’d be on the hook to replace any items that are damaged or destroyed out of your own pocket, potentially draining your savings or leaving you thousands of dollars in debt.

What is personal property?

Personal property in home insurance refers to the stuff you own. Basically anything you moved into your home and anything you’re capable of moving out is considered personal property. This includes everything from your home's AC units to your holiday decorations to your plants and shrubbery.

Are plants covered by homeowners insurance?

Yes. Trees, plants, shrubs, and foliage come with a limited amount of coverage in homeowners insurance policies — generally about 5% of your policy’s dwelling coverage limit, and a maximum of $500 per tree or plant.

Does homeowners insurance cover cannabis loss?

Homeowner insurance covers trees and indoor or outdoor plants on your property, but whether or not that coverage extends to cannabis plants or buds likely depends on if marijuana is legal in your state. If cannabis possession or home cultivation is legal in your state and your buds or plants are stolen or damaged by a covered peril, your insurance company may reimburse you for the loss. However, some insurance companies are hesitant to cover marijuana since it’s still illegal on the federal level, so be sure to talk to your insurance company and ask about how you’re covered.

Methodology: How we picked the best companies for personal property insurance

To find the best personal property insurance in 2022, we analyzed the personal property coverage options available with 29 insurance companies. We prioritized companies that offered replacement cost coverage for belongings, unique personal property coverage endorsements, and high personal property coverage limits.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. Insurance Information Institute

    . "

    What is covered by standard homeowners insurance?

    ." Accessed September 16, 2022.

  2. National Association of Insurance Commissioners

    . "

    Homeowners insurance

    ." Accessed September 16, 2022.

  3. Insurance Information Institute

    . "

    Insurance for your house and personal possessions

    ." Accessed September 16, 2022.

Authors

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

Jennifer Gimbel

Senior Managing Editor & Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Jennifer Gimbel is a senior managing editor and home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our homeowners insurance coverage. Previously, she was the managing editor at Finder.com and a content strategist at Babble.com.

Expert reviewer

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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