Stephen Ebbett, President of Protect Your Bubble, contributed this article to BusinessNewsDaily's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
Many big-ticket items we buy and plans we make (such as a business trip or vacation) are insurable. But is your stuff worth insuring? Sometimes people assume they have coverage when they don't or expect that they'll receive replacement items quickly when that's not the case.
The worst time to find this out is when something you value has been lost, stolen or damaged. That's why taking stock of your stuff and evaluating available coverage options is a good idea.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind as you decide whether or not you should insure your stuff:
- Take a look at your deductibles and coverage: Maybe you have homeowners insurance and assume that it will cover an expensive appliance. But many homeowners have deductibles that exceed the value of the appliance, so in effect, the appliance is unprotected. Perhaps you rent your home and think your landlord will take care of damage to the contents you own in case of a mishap that isn't your fault. Chances are, your stuff isn't covered. It pays to find out.
- Look closely at replacement costs: Many consumers purchase items like smartphones and tablets through a carrier that subsidizes the actual cost. However, if your smartphone or tablet is lost, stolen or damaged and you don't have insurance on it, you may be required to pay the true purchase price to replace it, which can be considerably higher than the original price you paid.
- Evaluate the true cost of self-insurance: Some people assume it's cheaper to just pay out of pocket to replace lost, stolen or damaged items rather than insuring them. That depends on the rate you pay and the cost of the item you're replacing. Will you have enough cash on hand to replace items you use every day if you need to? It's important to make an informed decision.
- Review your choices: There are more options now than ever before when it comes to insurance and it's easy to compare insurance rates online and find affordable coverage for everything from gadgets and appliances to rental cars, renter's insurance and travel. You don't have to take whatever the car rental company is offering or accept only manufacturer's or in-store warranties and insurance policies. Shop around and then make a decision.
- Consider the hassle factor: When making a decision about whether or not to insure your stuff, price is important, of course, but so is your time and productivity. If you have to wait weeks to receive the money you need to replace an item you depend on every day, your coverage may not be a bargain. Take a look at the claims process and make sure you'll get speedy service.
Let's face it: We depend on our stuff. Many of us couldn't make it through the day without our smartphone and life would be tough without a working refrigerator. And then there are the special occasions like business trips or vacations that could be marred by an uninsured mishap.
The good news is that consumers have choices: There are plans available that offer comprehensive coverage and the information you need is all at your fingertips. So take stock of your stuff and make the decision that's right for you.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.