Article updated April 26, 2018
You may think your property insurance coverage covers your dwelling and all of your possessions, but has your insurer discussed endorsements with you? An endorsement is an optional source of coverage that isn’t automatically included in your policy because not everyone needs them. They are used to enhance your policy by providing an additional benefit on a specific item or a specific type of items, depending on your needs. Let’s take a look at a few endorsements you may want to consider adding to your policy to help ensure you have coverage for your most valuable possessions when you need it most.
Personal Articles Floater for Your Valuables
Perhaps you have some extremely high-value items in your home such as jewellery, silverware, rare coins, fine art, or that “above-average” bicycle. Maybe you just got engaged and you’re sporting a two-carat diamond. If one of your treasures is stolen, you would be devastated to find out your home insurance policy may not cover its entire value. The good news is that a Personal Articles Floater may help cover the entire value.
- What is a Personal Articles Floater and What Does it Cover?
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy generally covers personal property anywhere from 50 to 75 per cent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home (this varies by insurer though). For instance, a home with $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure would typically also have between $50,000 and $70,000 worth of coverage for personal belongings such as clothes, furniture, computers, sports equipment and, yes, items like jewellery.
However, some categories of personal property have a maximum dollar limit your insurance company will pay in the event of a covered loss, like theft. Jewellery and other valuables are covered, but usually up to lower dollar limits— typically between $1,000 or $2,000 per item of jewellery (and that’s not going to cover that two-carat diamond ring). So most insurance companies offer a Personal Articles Floater endorsement that acts as stand-alone coverage so that certain valuables are covered for their appraised value.
- Who Should Buy This Add-On Insurance?
Let’s say you have an engagement or wedding ring, you might be wondering: who should buy the insurance — the person who purchased the ring, or the recipient? The answer lies in the current ownership — if the couple isn’t living together, then the person who is currently holding onto the ring, whether on a finger or at home, is the person who should insure it. So if John proposes and Melissa accepts the ring, Melissa owns the ring. It is now Melissa’s personal property so she should purchase coverage for her ring under her homeowners, condo or renters policy.
If you’re planning an engagement or have some other valuables in your home, be sure to contact your insurer to confirm your current personal property coverage limits and to find out what options you have to help protect your investment(s). It’s also a good idea to keep a home inventory of all of the possessions in your home (including their value). This makes it simple to access a list of your belongings quickly in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim.
Home Business Endorsement
Work from home on a full-time basis? You’ll need extra insurance to help mitigate the potential loss of anything related to running your business like equipment, electronics, inventory, furniture and other property. And, an even greater risk is liability. If you have customers, delivery people or employees visiting your home and an accident happens (like a customer falling on your walkway), or if you’re sued because of a product or service you provide, you should consider this endorsement. Because personal liability on your regular home insurance policy doesn’t cover these scenarios, speak to your insurer about limits on your home policy and what extra coverage you may need.
Identity theft (ID) has been on the rise and is a common topic in the media. According to the Government of Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre , from January to June 2015 (most recent statistics), Canadians reported 2,936 complaints about ID theft and 11,226 ID fraud complaints, which equated to a $6.5 billion dollar ID fraud loss. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, here are some common ways that your ID can be stolen:
- Phishing schemes or Internet hacking where your personal information is collected.
- Responding to unsolicited phone calls or emails from someone pretending to be from your credit card company, a representative of a government body, or a bank employee.
- Someone watches you enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at a point-of-sale terminal or ABM.
- A thief rummages through your garbage to collect receipts and mail with your personal information on it.
- Stolen information is used to make false insurance claims or even take a mortgage against your property.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from ID Theft?
You can purchase an identity theft expense endorsement to help you cover the expenses associated with identity theft or covered disputes. You can also get access to toll-free legal assistance for legal questions.
You’ve read the headlines and watched the images unfold in the media. Water damage due to sewer backup, ground water accumulating and devastating rainfalls and floods are putting homes at risk. In fact, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, at least $1 billion is spent yearly on catastrophic losses — most of this is due to water-related damage. The message is clear – water is now one of the leading causes of damage to homes in Canada.
While there are things you can do to help prevent water damage to your home, you also may want to consider adding enhanced water protection endorsements to your property policy to cover some perils like:
- Damage caused by the escape of water from a sewer, drain, sump pit or septic tank.
- Water damage resulting from a malfunction of your sump pump.
- Sewer back due to water overflow from a body of fresh water.
Talk to your insurer about the coverage and endorsements that work best for you. A thorough review of your property policy can help ensure all your valuable possessions are covered, and that you have any extra coverage you need for things that aren’t included under your home insurance.
Do you have any of these endorsements or wish you did? Do you have questions about endorsements? Let us know in the comments below.