Make Sure Your Home Theater Is Properly Covered
Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for high-end electronic systems, such as a movie screen, but there may also be coverage limits, so consumers should check with their home insurance company to see if they need to raise the limit.
"To properly insure expensive electronic systems such as home theaters, call your agent or insurance company representative," said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. "Find out how much coverage you have for all of your personal possessions. Expensive items such as a new home theater may require a policyholder to increase their coverage limit. Don't forget to include all of the items you may purchase as part of your home entertainment system, too, including sound speakers, surge protectors, storage cabinets and CDs."
There is coverage for electronics under standard home and renters insurance policies against disasters listed in the policy such as fire, lightning, wind, and even theft in the event someone breaks into your home and hauls away your flat screen TV, says the I.I.I.
"It is very important to save all receipts and to make sure that your possessions are covered for replacement cost coverage. This pays the policyholder the monies needed to repurchase their beautiful new home theater in the event it is destroyed by a covered disaster. You should also find out what type of financial protection you would have for electronic systems purchased with your credit card or the warranty offered by the store or manufacturer who sold you the products that are in your home theater," points out Salvatore.
To make sure your home theater and its electronic systems are adequately protected, the I.I.I. suggests the following:
- Contact your insurance professional immediately.
Let your agent or company representative know immediately that you are now in possession of expensive new electronic systems. And, don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure you know how much insurance coverage you have and the types of events for which you are covered.
- Keep a copy of the store receipt.
You should forward a copy of the receipt or receipts to your insurer so that the company knows the current retail value of the item(s). Keep copies for yourself and include it with your home inventory.
Update the value of your valuables.
Expensive items can go up or go down in value. Talk to your insurance professional about how to make sure that your insurance is kept up-to-date.
- Take a picture of the item or collection.
Get into the habit of keeping a visual record of all of your personal possessions. This helps to document your loss and can speed up the claims process. It is also useful when documenting the increasing amount of expensive electronic devices that people keep in their home.
- Add the item to your home inventory.
Everyone should have an up-to-date inventory of all their personal possessions, including valuables. This can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance and will make the claims process easier if there is a loss. To make creating a home inventory fun and simple, the I.I.I. provides free, downloadable software located at KnowYourStuff.org. You can add a digital photograph of your new gift and save scanned receipts. Computerizing your inventory also makes updating it fast and easy.