Ooops! I dropped my smartphone over the side of the boat!

Stuff happens when you’re on vacation. If you’re like my son-in-law and granddaughter, you walked into the ocean with your smartphone in the pocket of your shorts. If you’re like a former client, you dropped it over the side of your boat when cruising the lake.

Does your homeowners insurance policy cover the loss of your phone? Well … maybe.

If you have the kind of policy without any bells and whistles, it probably doesn’t. Most homeowners policies provide much broader coverage for your home than they do for your belongings.

In fact, while your home is covered for anything that happens to it other than events that are specifically NOT insured (i.e., excluded), your belongings are only insured for about 18 different events. Unfortunately, drowning is not one of them.

If you want to be sure your most valuable belongings have the broadest coverage available–either all the time, or when you travel–you have 3 different options:

-1- Add open perils coverage to your homeowners policy. It will provide essentially the same coverage for your stuff that it provides for your home. This is the most expensive option, and the policy deductible will apply to any claims.

-2- Purchase an inland marine policy, or floater. This policy is designed for property that moves around, has only a few exclusions (based on the type of property you insure), and usually does not apply the policy deductible to any claims. You can buy two types of floaters for your stuff while traveling:

-a- One type of policy is designed specifically for those who travel with their belongings. It does not cover property that typically remains at home.

-b- The other type of policy is designed to insure items that are specifically listed on the policy, with their value. The value of the property is established based on criteria for that type of property.

Most insurance companies also allow coverage for one or both floaters to be added by endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy.

So … if my son-in-law, granddaughter, and client had one of these floater policies or endorsements, YES, their policy would have provided coverage. And my sister’s policy would have provided coverage for her camera if she dropped it out of the hot air balloon while she was on safari in Africa – once she added the floater, that is. And yes, her asking me how to arrange for coverage before her trip really happened. Don’t wait until AFTER your trip to call your own agent.

Published by

Linda McHenry

Linda is an insurance CE provider, course developer/writer, and instructor. She founded Faulkner Education Services in January 2006. She is also a novelist.

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