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Home insurance — does it cover you outside?

The Brits used to have a saying, “Your home is your castle”. The idea is simple. Once inside, you can protect it against all-comers. As long as you are using reasonable force, the law of self-defense covers both you as a person and your property. But no one can or should stay home all the time. You have to go out to buy food, if nothing else. So when you do venture outside, how much are you worth? This is time for honesty. If all you wear is hand-me-downs with old old pair of sneakers and a few dollars clutched in your hand, there’s no cause for alarm. But not everyone lives in such humble circumstances. So start with all those digital things that keep you connected with the social world. How much did you pay for your cell phone or is it a Blackberry or something even more connected? Is that an iPod and do you have a Kindle or one of those reading devices? And is that one of those new slim laptops? All this before we get to asking about your watch and that leather wallet with all those credit and debit cards inside. And a final question for the fashion-conscious reading this — just how much did you pay for that designer label clothing and what is that bag you are holding? Ignoring the question of the credit and debits cards for now, how much would it cost to replace it all? In theory, the credit companies will have terms written into your agreements on how to handle any losses should your cards be stolen.

Ah, but you are now shaking your heads. The chances of losing it all are slight. There’s no need to worry. Except there’s a risk in some cities that the better dressed will be a target for a street robbery. So all the more obvious symbols of wealth might walk away at knife-point. Then there’s the risk of a traffic accident. You always carry more around with you in the car making that much more to be damaged in a collision. Now all your clothes are at risk as well. And did we forget the risk your vehicle might be stolen with everything valuable inside?

The first step in this is that your auto insurance will not cover the contents of the vehicle. Your only protection comes from the homeowners insurance policy. So it’s time to start reading the small print. Is there a limit on the value of the property covered outside the home? Or are there rules to follow when you have added individually valuable items to a separate schedule? For example, if you have an expensive branded watch, is this always covered outside the home? Now you can get homeowners insurance quotes for adding additional coverage for all your contents when you take them outside the home. Even then, there will be limits on the most expensive items. It varies from insurer to insurer so get multiple quotes, and then work out whether buying the additional cover is good value. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind.


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