How to buy home insurance, part 3

Understanding what’s in a home insurance quote and policy is the first step in learning how to buy home insurance.  The first two parts looked at coverage on the home and separate structures.  This week we’ll examine personal property and personal property off premises.  Once we’ve concluded looking at the different items your home policy covers, we’ll contrast thoughts on where and how to buy that home policy.

Personal Property Coverage, On Premises

Personal property, or as some carriers refer to it, contents, is everything that is unloaded from a moving van, pickup truck, car or delivery truck and carried inside your home.  That includes,

  • Clothing
  • Furniture & fixtures
  • Appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator, microwave, etc.)
  • Electronics (TVs, stereos, computers, tablets, printers, etc.)
  • Dishes, pots, pans, cooking & eating utensils
  • Food in the pantry, refrigerator & freezer
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Books, software, decorative items
  • Artwork / pictures
  • Kids toys
  • Lawn & garden equipment
  • And much, much more

Literally, anything that was carried into the home falls into this category and is covered under the homeowner’s policy.

The amount of coverage varies by carrier but usually falls into a range of 50% to 75% of the home’s dwelling value.  So if your home is insured for $200,000 then the range for personal property would be from $100,000 to $150,000.

The question I ask each homeowner I talk with is, “Is that enough coverage to replace your belongings?”  The truth is, most of us don’t know what it would cost to replace all of our stuff because we didn’t go out and buy it all at one time.  I suggest they review each room and estimate what it would take to replace the contents in that room.  Add up all the rooms and that should give them an idea of how much coverage they need.  Please note,

  • Most insurers can’t decrease the percentage amount of coverage for contents as the carrier’s contract with the state of Texas will specify the minimal percentage of coverage on that policy
  • The amount of coverage can be raised if needed, but there are limits as to how much this can be increased by

There are three things every homeowner needs to confirm as it relates to contents before signing off on a new policy;

  • Is the personal property covered at replacement cost or actual cash value?  Most cover contents at replacement cost but you want to confirm.
  • What perils are covered?
    • A named peril policy will cover personal property only for the perils named in the policy (fire, smoke, theft, etc.)
    • A broad form policy will cover it regardless unless it names specific exclusions (look for ones like water, theft, falling objects, etc.)
  • What limits apply?  Some policies limit the amount of coverage on items such as cash, jewelry, artwork, silverware, etc.  If you have these items, you may need additional coverage to adequately protect them.

It’s always better to know these things before you get the policy rather than when you need to file a claim.  Have a question about your current coverage, post it in our comments section or on our Facebook page at and we’ll get you an answer!

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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