Just because the candy canes are gone, the tree is in the trash and the poinsettia is dead doesn't mean the holidays are over. For that to be true, you need to buy some more insurance.
And it wouldn't kill you to get off your behind and take down those outside lights either, man.
Saddle up an (insurance) rider
Typically, most homeowners or renters policy will cover only a set amount of your personal property, says Amy Denise, editor director of Insure.com. "Jewelry is often limited to $1,000 for each piece or $2,500 as a group," Denise says, so if you popped the question to your sweetie on Christmas Eve with a $5,000 engagement ring, you could be out of luck if it's lost or stolen.
The answer is to add a rider to your policy that will specifically cover your most valuable items. Riders come in two versions: a "floater" that just extends your homeowners coverage up to the purchase price or appraised value of an item, or a separate "all risk" policy, or "scheduled personal property" rider that covers just about any theft, damage or loss of your baubles and bangles.
The big difference between the two types of coverage is what happens to you if something happens to your bling. With a rider, you'll need to prove that the damage or loss is covered under one of the provisions of your policy. With all risk coverage, the insurance company would have to prove that you aren't covered.
"That's the way to go if you have individual pieces of high value," Denise says, whether that's jewelry, electronics, antiques, collectibles, musical instruments and any other valuable stuff. "With scheduled personal property you can do the same for furs and firearms, too."
Don't leave your gold in the cold
It isn't just newly purchased items that you need to worry about, either. The value of any good quality jewelry you've owned for years has most likely risen -- especially with the way gold has soared in the last few years -- meaning that it's now worth more than your homeowners limits. Get a jeweler's written appraisal, and then call your insurance agent.
Another issue is to make sure both your name and your sweetie's are on the policy, especially if you aren't living together yet. That way, if her engagement ring slips down the drain at her place instead of yours, it's still covered.
The average rate is $1 to $3 for every $100 of extra coverage you're adding, so that $5,000 engagement ring will cost about $50 to $150 a year to insure. The cost will depend on your insurer's policies and things like whether you keep grandma's inherited pearls in a safe.
So, get your agent on the phone and that'll take care of one Christmas leftover. As for other post-holiday issues, here's the secret to instantly losing two pounds of ugly holiday weight: Take off that awful reindeer sweater. Or at least turn off the battery for Rudolph's nose.
(Brian J. O'Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.funnymoneyblog.com.)
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