You know you need auto, homeowners and probably renter's insurance coverage. But, do you really know what kind of coverage your policies offer? The chances are, unless you are well-versed in the ins and outs of insurance, there are a few types of insurance you didn't think you needed, when in fact, you might. Here are a few of the most-needed and least understood insurance types. (For related reading, see Understanding Your Insurance Contract.)
TUTORIAL: Introduction to Insurance
Personal Electronic Equipment Insurance
If you own expensive TVs, speakers or other home electronics, you may want to consider Personal Electronic Equipment Insurance. This type of coverage is broader than what a standard home insurance policy will cover for damage or loss, including those that take place during an installation on stereos, computer equipment, flat-screen TVs and audio equipment. Depending on the policy, it may even cover the repair and replacement of the items.
Scheduled Personal Property Insurance
Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) is handled as a "floater" to your home insurance policy, and assigns specific value amounts to prized items like artwork, jewelry, expensive handbags, designer clothing and furs (You will need to hire a professional appraiser to assign a value to the items). A common misconception is that your homeowner's insurance policy will take care of these items in the event that you have a fire, are a victim of theft or other disaster which destroys the valuable contents in your home. While that is true, the replacement limits covered under a standard policy are typically much lower than the value of the property that was lost or damaged. For example, a wedding ring lost in a fire might be replaced at a maximum amount of only $1,500, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Furthermore, SPP will cover valuables that are lost during travel, are accidentally misplaced, and even, wedding rings that slide down the drain. (For more information, read 5 Myths About Homeowner's Insurance.)
You've probably heard of people arranging for burial plots before death, but you can also buy a burial insurance policy that will help cover the costs of your funeral. Burial insurance policies are typically sold through independent life insurance brokers, and in some cases, funeral homes. The premium is usually only a few dollars each week or month, and the payout is dependent on the age of the insured at the time of death (The policy will usually pay more the younger the insured is at the time of death). While it may sound morbid, having a financial plan for the costs to cover your death is a fact of life. According to the National Funeral Director's Association, the average cost of a funeral in 2009 was $6,560.
Dog Bite Insurance
No dog owner wants to think that his or her furry friend could harm another individual, but dog bites do happen. According to the Insurance Information Institute, "more than 50% of them happen on an owner's property, and they account for one-third of all homeowner's insurance liability claims." While most homeowner's and renter's insurance policies will cover dog bite liabilities we live in a litigious society, and laws vary by state around owner liability. If your dog bites a person and you are sued, standard coverage limits included in your existing policies may not be enough to protect your personal assets. To increase limits, you can purchase an umbrella liability policy, which will cover you above and beyond the liability coverage amounts in a standard insurance policy.
While most homeowner and renter's insurance policies protect against natural disasters like fire, wind damage, hail and other perils, flood insurance doesn't fall under the list of covered incidents. To secure protection against flood damage, you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. (For more on flood insurance, read Understanding Lender-Required Flood Insurance.)
A lot of money goes into having a wedding, including hiring vendors and paying upfront deposits in order to secure services well in advance of the big day. Wedding insurance is intended to cover any missteps that can happen when it comes to your wedding like replacing lost funds if the caterer you secured with a deposit stops returning calls, replacing item costs if your tailor ruins your custom-made dress during alterations, if the wedding gifts are damaged or you have to suddenly postpone the event due to death or illness. It is often sold through the same insurer you use for your homeowner's, renter's or auto insurance coverage.
The Bottom Line
Insurance is based on protection from the unknown. Whether it's an unpredictable pet, prized possession or pending marital vows, make certain that you understand exactly what is covered in your current insurance policies to determine whether you may need to take on extra coverage, for financial peace of mind. (To read more on homeowners' insurance, see The Beginner's Guide To Homeowners' Insurance.)