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Top 10 Contents Insurance Claims

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We’ve noted here before that Americans have a lot of “stuff.”

From electronics to jewelry to clothing, we are a nation of consumers, and so, there’s plenty of need for insurance to protect those items near and dear to our hearts.

That brings us to the top contents insurance claims, those items most reported to be lost, damaged or stolen in 2010, according to Enservio’s Contents Claims Index (CCI) released this week.

Unsurprisingly, electronics (think TVs and computers) led the way with a 15.76 percent share of all personal and business insurance claims.

The category was followed very closely by jewelry (think rings down the drain pipe) at 15.02 percent, while apparel (think Gucci and Versace) was third at 11.91 percent.

Furniture was fourth (someone stole my sofa!) with an 11.21 percent share, and home goods (have you seen my frying pan?) rounded out the top five with a 9.14 percent share.

Top 10 Contents Insurance Claims

1. Electronic – 15.76%
2. Jewelry – 15.02%
3. Apparel – 11.91%
4. Furniture – 11.21%
5. Home Goods – 9.14%
6. Tools – 4.36%
7. Appliances – 3.72%
8. Sporting Goods – 3.54%
9. Music & Movies – 2.66%
10. Bed & Mattress – 2.50%

The company noted that during difficult economic times, such as NOW, claims for higher-end goods tend to rise suspiciously…

For example, commercial data reveals Rolex’s U.S. market is less than one percent, yet four percent of watches claimed are Rolex’s.

As a result, insurance carriers may take measures to ensure more accurate contents claims, so be sure to inventory your home’s contents properly early-on to avoid any issues in the future.

Are you covered?

If you are a homeowner and have a homeowner’s insurance policy in-force, Coverage “C,” also known as “contents” or “personal property” coverage, protects all your precious items.

If you’re a renter, you must have renters insurance to make a covered claim. Your landlord’s policy will not protect you (or your MacBook) here!

Also note that there are two loss valuation methods, including the more expensive “replacement cost” method and actual cash value.

Contents Claims

Some things to consider if you think you may be in a position to file a claim under your contents coverage.

1. Your claim must exceed your deductible in order to see the first dime from your insurance company. If your $500 patio furniture set is destroyed in a windstorm, you can certainly file a claim under your contents coverage. However, if your deductible is $500 or more, don’t bother. You are on the hook for the first $500 and it would be a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

2. If your patio furniture was $750 and your deductible is only $500, you could certainly collect the $250 above your deductible. Just be sure to consider the ramifications of having the claim on your record. Your insurance premium will likely increase for the next couple of years as a result of that claim. So you may end up paying well over $250 in additional premium over subsequent years.

3. Additionally, some insurers are only comfortable insuring individuals who have a maximum number (and type) of claims within a certain time frame. Don’t end up in a situation where you make three small claims in the course of a couple years. Your policy may end up being non-renewed and you might have to find another insurer who is comfortable with multiple claims…an insurer who is comfortable charging you MUCH more premium, since no other insurer will have you.

Remember, insurance is designed to cover you against financial disasters. You may get a couple hundred dollars a few times via small claims, but you’ll end up paying through the nose in the long run.

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