How to make sure all the stuff in your closet is properly insured…
I realize a post about insurance may not be the somewhat light-hearted fun and fashion that’s regularly here. However, I truly believe this is an important topic to cover – ESPECIALLY for this audience!
I’m one of those people who actually LOVES all of the items in my closet. Yes, I know they’re inanimate objects, but they truly bring me joy. Thanks to Marie Kondo for coining that phrase. And I, btw, encourage my clients and readers to also love what they wear. It really does help bring out confidence and calm and lets you focus your energy on the bigger stuff. But I digress…
How to Protect Your Stuff = Insurance
So, I was kind of disappointed in myself when I realized how little I knew about keeping these joyful possessions protected. Not how to hang, fold or clean them but HOW TO INSURE THEM IN CASE OF DISASTER.
Yes, I totally have insurance – home, auto, life – we are covered. We have a fabulous agent, that I adore. Who, in fact, has become a wardrobe client and a friend too. And this past season, as we were purging her closet and coordinating outfits for fall/winter we got to chatting.
How Much Would You Get to Replace it?
We were joking about how Birkin bags are so expensive (like $10-500K expensive) and that they’re supposedly a better investment in terms of appreciation than stocks – crazy, right? Anyway, that segued into how to protect what is in your closet in case, g-d forbid there is a fire, flood, robbery. Like if EVERYTHING is lost, how much would you get to replace it? Most of us have our jewelry, furs (if that’s your thing) and collectibles appraised and specifically listed on our policy so they’ll be insured at the right replacement value. But what about your shoes? Sweaters? Bags? 5 pairs of $200 jeans (again if that’s your thing). How should a responsible adult (yes #adulting is hard) make sure the items in their closet will be properly replaced in case of disaster?
This is What I Learned About Insurance
What I learned kind of blew my mind… anything that isn’t jewelry/art or fur is considered general personal property by insurance companies. That’s everything in your own closet PLUS all your furniture, appliances, electronics, kitchenware, kids’ toys, oh and everyone else’s closets too. By default, your insurance carrier determines this number for you. It’s usually a percentage of your home’s value.
Example: Let’s say your home is insured for $1,000,000 (for round-number purposes).
This means if the house burns down, you get $1M to rebuild it. But how much do you get to go shopping with the goal of filling this new house with all your new stuff aka general personal property? Well, one insurance company may give 80% of the $1M for general personal property = $800,000 (sounds like a shopping spree to me), while another insurance company may only give 10% = $100,000 (who really needs furniture, anyway?)
Kinda scary, right? That’s precisely why I work with Michelle Hirsch from Brunswick Insurance.
Having the Right Insurance Agent and Carrier Matters… A Lot.
An independent broker (like Brunswick) with access to multiple carriers will take the time to understand your unique lifestyle, needs, and expectations. Standard policies won’t always have the right coverage to fit everyone’s lifestyle, so having access to premium carriers is essential.
- Talk to your agent about how they would classify the items to make sure the coverage is correct.
- Keep receipts for high-value items and don’t keep them with the items—treat them like important papers, storing them electronically in the cloud is always smart.
- Take photos of all high-value gift items and, if available, their authenticity cards to prove their value at the time of receipt
- A home inventory can help make sure your value of general personal property is accurate. Go room by room and ballpark how much would it cost to replace everything not attached to the walls.
- You could get a big discount on your jewelry insurance if you keep certain pieces in a safety deposit box or a safe in your home that is bolted to the ground.
- Getting an appraisal on jewelry and other items that increase in value at least every five years is a good rule of thumb.
These are some real-life scenarios from Brunswick, that illustrate how having the right carrier MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
- A client was standing in a gondola in Venice getting money from his bag to pay the gondolier when his grandfather’s Rolex fell out and into the canal. If he hadn’t had the carrier he did, that’s where this family heirloom would’ve stayed. But his carrier paid for a diver to retrieve the watch and for a professional to restore it—other carriers might have ignored the sentimental value and just replaced his grandfather’s Rolex with a brand new one.
- A client who suffered a house fire in the kitchen downstairs experienced significant smoke damage upstairs. In addition to replacing the kitchen, their carrier sent a professional cleaning crew to deep clean the entire second floor. The family also received a check to replace everyone’s closets.
- A client lost one of her diamond stud earrings. Instead of sending her a new earring in the hopes that it would match (like some other carriers do), the client received a check to go out and buy a brand new pair.
And, if you’re intrigued by the whole Birkin bag as an investment thing (or just love the idea of owning one because they’re iconic), many are available on resale sites. Even at a resale price, they’re still crazy-expensive. And swoon-worthy…
Birkin Beauties I found…
Thank you to Brunswick Insurance for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 110% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this blog up and running.
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Photo: Maggie Boyle