How to insure valuables

The professional journal

has dealed with the protection of valuables under the title “Secure valuebles better” (German) in its current issue. There is also required our expert opinion. You can read the article here:

This is reason enough for us to deal with the issue of valuables in more detail and to eliminate as many ambiguities as possible through our blog.

Reading time: approx. 6 minutes

What are valuables?

Everyone defines the term valuables a little differently. For some it’s the Ronaldo autograph, for the other the expensive golf clubs. Some also consider the collection of surprise egg figures to be particularly valuable. However, this has little to do with valuables in the insurance-technical sense. These are very clearly defined in the insurance conditions:

  • Cash and amounts of money loaded on cards or other media;
  • Certificates including passbooks and other securities;
  • Jewelry, gems, pearls, stamps, coins, medals and all things made of gold or platinum;
  • Furs, hand-knotted carpets, tapestries and works of art, as well as (previously unmentioned) silver items;
  • Antiques over 100 years old, except furniture.

Since electronic goods are not among the valuables, many modern households today have practically none or just a few valuables.

Valuables are household effects

However, if valuables are present in the household, the question quickly arises about the insurance cover. Basically, valuables belong to your household contents without any special mention. That is why they are automatically covered by household contents insurance against the dangers of fire, burglary, water and storm / hail. With good contracts, there is also protection against natural or unnamed hazards.

Which restrictions are there in the household insurance?

At this point we would like to have finished our blog article. However, there are many clauses that restrict the insurance coverage of household contents insurance in valuables considerably. This is done in 3 steps:

Step 1 – Flat Valuation: The insurance limits the total value of all insured valuables. For many tariffs, this limit is 20% of the sum insured. So if you have a household policy with a sum insured of 65,000 € (equivalent to 100m²), your valuables are insured up to 13,000 €. Some policies provide different value limits, e.g. 40% of the sum insured or lump sum € 50,000.

Step 2 – Limitation on certain valuables: In the depths of the terms of insurance, certain valuables are again limited separately. The sum insured quickly shrinks, for example for jewelry then to 10,000 €.

Step 3 – Safes: The step 2 constraints are exacerbated by the requirement to be placed in safes. If the valuables are not stored in the safe in the event of a claim, the sum will continue to shrink. Cash outside safes is insured in some tariffs sometimes only up to 500 €!

How good a safe should be to meet the requirements of the insurer is defined in detail in the respective terms of insurance. Conceivable is the demand for a VdS approval, a minimum weight or the walling of the safe. Incidentally, storing the valuables in the safe is not only important in the event of theft. The sum limits generally apply to all damages. For example, if your jewelry is damaged by a fire because it was not in the safe, there is less money from the insurance.

Is not that better?

Sure, of course! The pressure from us insurance brokers has led to some good insurers have significantly increased their totals limits. For example, individual providers completely waive the flat-rate sum limits (step 1 + 2) and have raised the individual limits outside of safes to up to € 50,000. Most households are sufficiently secured with such a solution.

It is also worse!

But the insurance industry would not have such a bad reputation if there were not even negative outliers. If you have a particularly popular provider on Check24, you must explicitly specify all items of considerable value upon submission of the application and then register for later purchases (provided you have seen the corresponding clause when concluding the contract).

Even the self-proclaimed stars in digital insurance heaven are not good at valuables. They simply exclude all household items that exceed certain value limits (in some cases, it is € 1,500!).

Our tip: If you have valuables of considerable value, have your consultant or insurer confirm in writing how high and against what your valuables are insured. Why this is so important is shown in the next section.

Special insurance for valuables

So far, we have only written about the amount of hedge. But at least as important is what you are actually insured against. We would like to describe a real case that actually happened. Luckily, none of our customers were affected.

For the 10th wedding anniversary, a woman gave her watch-loving husband a 15,000-euro wristwatch. Then she called her insurer and asked if this watch was included in her household contents insurance. She received the clear answer “Yes, the watch is insured.” It came, as it had to come. The watch drove into the X-ray scanner during the security check at the airport, but did not come out again. Apparently, an airport employee had long fingers. The customer reported the theft immediately, but did not receive a cent from the insurer.

What happened? The insurer relied on the terms of insurance. These state that insurance protection exists against burglary and robbery. In the specific case, however, it was a so-called “simple theft”, that means the thief did not have to break up a building or container. There is no insurance cover for such damage in most household policies.

If your valuables run the risk of being used outside of your own home, the coverage may need to be extended. Possible are, for example:

  • Burglary outside the apartment
  • Simple theft (Attention: mostly significant sum limits)
  • Robbery outside the apartment
  • Trick theft (Attention: Often limited to the apartment or for the elderly)

For fear of burglars, many store their valuables in the safe deposit box. Again, caution is needed. Not every bank is automatically insured when a bank robber or thief steals the items from the bank. Even if there is an insurance (sometimes has to be bought extra), there are often limits or insurance against other hazards such as fire or floods is excluded.

To solve these problems, there are special policies for high quality household effects. Thus, the insurance cover can be tailored to your personal needs. For this, however, we rely on your trust, as the existing valuables must be made transparent to the insurer upon conclusion of the contract. Of course, such rates are not very cheap. With about 600 € minimum contribution per year you have to expect in most cases.

What to do in case of damage?

At this point, we want to make it very clear that the claim will not be a easy, even with the best policy. Mostly we talk about damages in the five- to six-digit euro range. Insurers therefore check very carefully whether full insurance coverage exists or not. The most common issue is the value of the items. The insurer compensates no lover prices, but realistic market values. These are usually determined on the basis of an expert opinion or requested from special dealers.

Valuations of jewelry and carpet dealers from the 80s and 90s are particularly critical. At that time, certain valuables (such as brooches, Persian rugs) were still very valuable, but have now suffered a significant loss of value. You should have an up-to-date opinion therefor.
In case of damage, you are also required to prove that you have really owned the stolen or destroyed items. We therefore recommend that you document the possession of valuable household items well. Ideally, this happens through ownership deeds, valuations or sales invoices. If this is not possible, also photos can be useful. These should, if possible, not only show the thing in itself, but also a proof of the time (for example, with a current newspaper).

We are happy to assist you in concluding the contract for the secure documentation of your valuables and, of course, we can also assist you in the event of a claim. Do you have questions about household goods and valuables or would you like an offer?

Please feel free to contact us.

Incidentally, you can download the complete article of Pfefferminzia here: Full article

©Picture: Markus Spiske on Unsplash