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Eric R. Dinallo   Superintendent of Insurance  25 Beaver Street  New York, N.Y. 10004

ISSUED 02/18/2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MANY POLICIES LIMIT INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR VALUABLES

Expensive jewelry, family heirlooms and other valuables are often covered under homeowners and renter’s insurance policies. However, consumers need to be aware that many policies limit the amount of coverage.

“It’s important for consumers to review their policies or check with their insurance agent or company to make sure existing coverage is sufficient. If not, one option is to add an endorsement to the policy or even purchase a separate policy for a treasured item,” said Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo.

A separate endorsement also generally expands coverage to include additional perils for property usually subject to limitations in standard homeowners policies. This type of property includes rare coins, musical instruments, furs, watches or fine arts.

Consumers should consider obtaining independent appraisals of valuable items, like jewelry, as the first step in determining whether they have the right amount of insurance coverage. It is a good idea to have valuables re-appraised periodically to ensure adequate coverage. Consumers should keep photos of valuables and a copy of an appraisal with their home inventory in the event they need to file a claim.

An accurate appraisal is important because value is often the most important factor in determining a premium and deductible. Whether the consumer has secure storage for an item, or in the case of jewelry, how often the item is worn, may also affect the policy. Jewelry worn daily, such as a wedding or engagement ring, carries more risk because of the greater exposure to loss or damage. Jewelry worn only on special occasions statistically will have less risk of theft, damage or loss.

Consumers should always shop to obtain the best coverage. They should ask about the hazards insured against, such as theft, loss and damage, and determine whether coverage applies worldwide, or if it is limited to losses occurring domestically.

Consumers should also find out about the differences between replacement coverage and actual cash value coverage should a loss occur. Replacement coverage replaces the article with a similar item equal in value. Actual cash value coverage provides a cash amount equal to the value of the item.

More information can be obtained from an insurance agent, broker or company. Consumer resources can also be found on the Insurance Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us. Consumers should feel free to contact the Department’s Consumer Services Bureau from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736.

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