What does homeowners insurance really cover? (© Lilli Day/Getty Images)Click to enlarge picture

© Lilli Day/Getty Images

Question: Does my homeowners insurance cover special items, such as jewelry and art, or do I need extra coverage?

Answer: Most homeowners-insurance policies cover jewelry, art and collections the same as they would any other possession, subject to your policy’s deductible and coverage limits.

For example, most homeowners policies limit coverage for possessions to up to 75% of your dwelling coverage. If you have a policy that provides $100,000 in coverage for your home, you also would have no more than $75,000 in coverage for all of your possessions. (Bing: Why buy homeowners insurance?)

The policy also may cover only the depreciated value of the items, not the replacement cost. That can make a big difference with something such as antique furniture, which can appreciate with age.

Coverage for certain items, such as jewelry, typically is limited to $2,000 to $3,000 total, unless you buy separate coverage for each item.

Although your general policy may cover items for fire damage or theft, they may not be covered for other damage, mysterious disappearance or theft from a location other than your home, such as your car.

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But you can buy special coverage for certain valuable items; this is called "scheduling it separately," and it can eliminate the deductible and add coverage for breakage, disappearance and off-premises theft. Scheduled items are insured for their appraised value, or the cost to buy the items at their retail price, rather than their depreciated value.

Read:  10 things that can lower or raise your insurance rates

Plus, some specialty insurers, such as Fireman's Fund and Chubb, can add up to 50% beyond the coverage limits if the price of an insured item has increased since it was last appraised.

What's your home worth?

When deciding whether it's worthwhile to insure items, look at the price per $1,000 of insured coverage. The cost to cover a piece of art can range from 90 cents to $2 per $1,000 of insured value, for example; coverage for jewelry tends to cost more. You may get a discount if you have a home-security system or if you keep your jewelry in a safe.

Consider buying special coverage for individual items that are worth at least $10,000. Or get blanket coverage for an entire collection, rather than buying coverage for each item separately.

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