You've got stuff. (Who doesn't?) And you know that insurance protects your stuff. But what you may not know is exactly what kind of coverage you need to protect all of your belongings and investments.
We've got a simple guide to help you understand the ins-and-outs of property insurance so you can get the best protection for all of your, well, you know.
Your Stuff is Called "Property"
In the insurance world, your stuff is known as property. There are two types of property: personal property and real property.
- Personal property is moveable. It's pretty much anything you can own, outside of land.
- Real property is immovable. It's land you own and anything attached to that land.
You don't have to own a home, investment property, or commercial building to own property. If you've purchased a couch, laptop, sporting equipment, or business inventory, you're a property owner.
Let's break down the types of insurance that will best protect the property you own.
It's not uncommon for renters to think, "I don't need insurance." But what many renters don't know is this:
The insurance your landlord has on your home (apartment, house, condo, etc.) covers the structure itself. But it very likely doesn't include ANY of your personal property.
That's why renters insurance is designed specifically to protect you and the money you've invested in all of your belongings inside the home.
If a fire breaks out, for example, renters insurance is meant to help you replace your personal property. Things like:
- TVs, laptop computers, tablets, video game consoles, and other electronic equipment.
- Couches, tables, chairs, beds, and other furniture items.
- Clothing, sporting equipment, artwork, and other personal items.
Imagine if you suddenly had to replace everything that you own in your home -- out of your pocket, with no help. Renter's insurance protects you against that possibility.
If you own your home or are looking to buy a home, then you probably already know a thing or two about homeowners' insurance.
Homeowners' insurance offers even more protection than renters insurance.
Not only does it protect your personal property inside your home -- like renters insurance does -- but it also protects your real property: the dwelling itself. It could even include other pieces of real property, like detached garages, sheds, fences, and other buildings attached to the land.
One of the most significant benefits of homeowners' insurance, however, is the liability component of a policy. Liability coverage protects you in the event of a lawsuit arising from third-party injury or property damage occurring on your property.
Imagine your teenager has a few friends over to swim in your pool one weekend while you're away.
Things get rowdy as the teens start to throw each other into the pool. Amid the fray, one teen slips and falls. She bangs her mouth against the concrete at the edge of the pool and breaks her two front teeth.
And now her parents are coming after you, the homeowners, for the money to cover the dental bills.
This example is the kind of scenario that homeowners' insurance liability coverage is designed to protect you against. Instead of paying for a new set of pearly whites for your kid's jack-o-lantern-friend out of your own savings account, you can submit a claim to your homeowners' insurance, instead.
Commercial Property Insurance
What about the personal and real property owned by your business?
Commercial property insurance covers businesses and other organizations against their buildings and their contents against covered losses, like fire, theft, and vandalism.
Commercial property can protect your business property investments, whether you own your building or just rent an office space.
Your policy will typically cover your investments in:
- Furniture and equipment
- Important documents
- Client property in your care
You can protect your commercial building, the contents of your building, and other people's property in your care and custody with a commercial property policy.
Intellectual Property Insurance
When you think about property, you probably think of something tangible. But your business may own a considerable amount of intellectual property -- an intangible asset that can be very, very valuable.
Intellectual property is a broad term for patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets that belong to your business.
Your IP may be your most valuable business asset.
Intellectual property insurance can protect your business in two ways:
- You unintentionally build something, write code, or create a product that infringes on an existing intellectual property right
- You want to protect your own IP against infringement
Which Property Insurance is Right for You?
Almost everyone can benefit from the protection of some form of property insurance.
Whether you want to protect your personal property that you've invested in over the years, the home you live in, your commercial property assets, or even your intellectual property, property insurance helps you keep your hard-earned money in the bank and protects your most valuable assets.