December.31.11Insurance
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Money Matters with Nimi
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In spite of its enormous advantages, insurance is still something that far too many Nigerians ignore, that is, until they need it. If you rent a house, an apartment, or just a room, you might be assuming that your landlord’s property insurance should cover damage to both the building and its contents. The typical home insurance policy will cover damage to the actual building and its structure, that is, the bricks and mortar; this is what a landlord is obliged to have in place to cover his property. It will not protect your belongings though; it is for you to protect your possessions.

Take and inventory of your belongings

Estimate the value of your personal possessions at current prices. This is the amount it would cost for you to replace them with new items if they were damaged or destroyed. It is a good idea to take an inventory, particularly of the expensive items, so that you can set a coverage limit. Among the things to include in the inventory are electrical appliances, indoor and outdoor furniture; musical instruments, laptop computers and other electronic equipment, camera equipment, some recreational or sporting equipment; valuable china, and silverware.

Some people go as far as to photograph or make a video recording of their rooms and contents. This might be a little tedious but a good photograph of furniture, electronic appliances and any significant individual items such as a piano or other musical instrument a special CD, or old record collection makes sense. Keep receipts of items of significant value along with your records as they may come in handy in helping you prove value should you need to. It is useful to write down the brand names and model numbers of the appliances and electronic equipment. Store the list, photos and any other records away from the premises so that it isn’t destroyed if there is some damage at your home.

Bear in mind that the values of your personal belongings will change so you should revisit your policy each year when it is due for renewal and adjust as necessary to ensure that you are always properly covered

Is your jewelry insured?

You might have some personal possessions that are particularly valuable; list these specifically and consider paying for additional cover on them. This could include, jewelry, artwork, and camera equipment. Many insurance policies offer very limited coverage for such items so you should consider them specially.

Do you have adequate coverage for your jewelry? Read your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy carefully to find out the amount of coverage it provides for your jewelry; what you need is insurance that will cover loss, theft and damage.

If you don’t list your jewelry specifically, it will be included in your basic household policy under a blanket coverage, which usually comes with a limit. You may choose to add a rider to your homeowner’s policy to cover jewelry that is above a certain value. If your jewelry is extremely valuable, it makes sense to opt for a separate policy that covers significant pieces, this way you can insure such items for higher amounts than you would ordinarily be able to do under a basic household policy. Naturally you would be paying a higher premium for such items.

Sentimental value

We all have some possessions that no money can replace; these are things that have sentimental value as opposed to monetary value, such as the memories found in family photographs, certificates of achievement and so on.  Your insurance policy will not cover these but for some of such items, you can take some practical steps to protect them by scanning and saving such documents and photographs electronically.

You sometimes hear people say that they don’t have anything worth protecting; yet imagine the cost of furnishing, replacing appliances and having to purchase a new wardrobe? Do a rough calculation of how much all your possessions are worth and you will probably find that the premium is a small price to pay for the peace of mind from having your belongings insured. Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, home insurance is an important part of your personal financial management, particularly if the worst does happen. And, make sure you know where you kept the policy.

 

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