Insuring Your Luxury and / or Antique Home
For insurance purposes a luxury and/or antique home is not merely an expensive home, older home or a home with abundance square footage. More appropriately a luxury home or antique home, means a home with one or more of the following: high quality construction, fine architectural detailing or details not commonly used in current construction as well as contents that include fine arts, antiques or special interest collectibles. If you feel your home fits this general description we recommend you consider the following when insuring your valuable property:
- Discuss with your agent your particular concerns about the ability to collect enough to replace your home, it’s contents, valuable articles and collectibles etc.. Go over each class of property and ask how the policy valuation clause works, i.e. guaranteed replacement cost on the dwelling with no limit, replacement cost on contents without limitations as actual cash value on antiques. Review the sublimits on articles of special value such as jewelry, furs and silverware. Make sure you know how much you can expect to collect in the event of a loss. If you feel you are getting an unclear interpretation of policy wording ask for a copy of the policy with the appropriate wording underlined.
- If your home is an older home make sure your policy will pay the expense to upgrade the home to meet current building codes after a loss. This includes upgrades in the undamaged portion of the building if mandated by local building authorities.
- Ask if the insurance company will send a trained representative to perform a detailed appraisal of the replacement cost of your home. An insurance company appraisal on file with the insurance company serves to document the value and construction details of your home. In the event of a loss this can help in expediting the settlement. It is very hard to substantiate the cost of expensive details, such as millwork, if there is no physical evidence of their existence after a loss. In addition, the insurance company appraisal will confirm that your agent insured the home for about the same amount as the insurance company expects to spend to replace it. Even with guaranteed replacement cost coverage on a dwelling you wouldn’t want to commence loss discussions with a substantial deviation in expected replacement cost amongst the parties at interest.
- Once you complete steps one and two, we suggest you consider conducting a pictorial inventory of your home. This typically consists of several pictures of each room. An accompanying description of everything in the picture is appropriate if the pictures are not clear enough to allow for precise identification of everything in the pictures. A video allows you to walk through each room and get close ups of special items such as antiques and collectibles, but not all loss adjusters have a video available for playback at work. Either way the inventory will:
- Help you reconstruct what property was lost in the event of a claim, and
- Give you and the insurance company a starting point to work from to settle your claim.
By following the steps outlined above you and your agent should be able to work with the insurance company to settle almost any claim with minimum confusion and disappointment.