As August winds down and school starts back, it’s not too late to squeeze in a final lakeside rental to enjoy the remainder of summer weather. If you’re planning a long weekend away from the city, CBS Chicago offers some ideas for last-minute Labor Day vacation spots, including locales in Wisconsin and Michigan.
While you’re planning your getaway, don’t forget that the valuables you pack for vacation — from iPads to golf clubs to cameras — are typically protected under your renters or homeowners insurance policy. It’s best to decode your personal property coverage before you hit the road, so you can focus on perfecting your swing or capturing that late-summer sunset without worry. The following three points are key to understanding your policy:
Off-premises coverage. Your policy’s personal property provisions help protect your belongings on vacation as part of off-premises coverage — this includes at your vacation home rental and in your car. Typical coverage protects against losses or damages from theft, vandalism, fire or smoke, lightning, explosion or windstorm, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)
Coverage limits. Just as you usually don’t take all of your possessions on vacation, some policies limit the amount of off-premises coverage to 10 percent of the total personal property coverage. Ask your agent what your plan covers while traveling.
Replacing items after a loss. An actual cash value policy pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation. A replacement cost policy will pay the cost of replacing your possessions without accounting for depreciation. According to I.I.I., the price of replacement cost coverage is about 10 percent more, but since most items depreciate quickly, it may be worth the extra cost.
Once you understand your personal property coverage, you can make informed decisions on what to
bring — and keep track of it. The I.I.I. offers the following tips to help you pack:
Take an inventory of your luggage. It’s important that you know what you’re packing, and what it’s worth, so you can speed up the replacement process in case of a loss. An online tool can help you organize photos, serial numbers, purchase dates and more. Be sure to note specific items like your laptop or sports equipment. If you find you have a large handful of pricier items, you may want to consider purchasing a floater—a plan that provides a higher amount of insurance and broader coverage—to your home or renters policy.
Don’t pack your jewelry. Jewelry was the top claims category under homeowners policies in 2011, accounting for 17 percent of them, followed second by electronics at 13 percent, according to the I.I.I. If you do have expensive jewelry, ask your agent about “in vault” coverage, which could help save you some dough when insuring your bling.