How insurance deals with property theft outside your home

It’s a good feeling to have your home and its contents insured. If there’s an issue with theft or an accident, you know you’re covered. But what if you’re a victim of theft while outside your home or even abroad? In such an event, it’s off-premises coverage (OPC) that’s going to look after you. Simply put, OPC is a clause of your existing homeowner’s insurance which extends beyond the property defined in the policy to provide protection for your possessions. Your homeowner’s insurance may already have OPC built in (if it doesn’t, then it’s possible to add it). If it does, there may be certain limitations.

So, what’s covered?

If you have OPC, it typically covers 10% of your policy’s personal property limit. Your car or vehicle won’t be covered (as that’s an auto insurance issue) nor will any items connected directly to the car. If you have any personal items in the car, in a bag, or on your person, then these will qualify. If you’re traveling and lose your luggage or someone covered by your insurance loses property while they’re away from home, then these situations also qualify under OPC.

Depending on the value of what you lose, it should be weighed against the cost of your deductible before you consider filing a claim. The deductible may be capped at a certain amount, so if something is particularly valuable to you, it may be worth insuring separately. It’s also prudent to be aware of whether your insurance covers your possessions for their replacement cost value or their actual cost value. In this instance you may consider adding a rider (also called a floater) to your original policy that’s specifically tailored to protect the items you treasure.

Who does OPC protect under my homeowner’s policy?

You and anyone else included under your existing policy will be able to benefit from the same level of OPC, meaning your spouse or partner and any dependents will be covered. A typical concern for a parent or guardian is if a child goes off to college: will OPC still apply to their personal possessions? The answer is that it will even if they’re not living at home (but usually only when they’re living in a dormitory). OPC can also be dependent on the area in which you live: high-crime figures may contribute to higher premiums.

If you like to move around, you’re covered if you lose your property while travelling anywhere in the world. You’re also covered if you have to store your possessions off-premises. If you have a credit card stolen, your OPC can take the edge off by up to $500. Remember: “losing” your property has a caveat. If you’re a victim of theft, then that’s something OPC will cover. If the loss of your property is your own error, that’s not going to be covered. To be really safe when on a trip, consider adding travel insurance to your protection package.

If you’re a business person and lose property on a business-related trip this could also affect how OPC comes into play. Make sure you’re clear with your policy provider on the line between business and personal claims.

Do I have to own my home to be covered by OPC?

The good news is “no”. If you’re paying renter’s insurance (RI) then it’s likely you’ll have a degree of OPC (and be covered for other things besides).

How to REALLY make sure OPC is working for you

Like every category of insurance, it’s essential that you check with your policy provider to be certain what degree of liability coverage you’re paying for. Additions and riders can be added to your policy if you feel it needs a little strengthening. Whichever insurance you’re thinking of adding, always consult with professionals who’ll be able to tailor a policy to your unique needs.

Avante Insurance is a South Florida family owned and operated insurance agency providing an array of insurance services to meet the individual needs of our customers. If you need any information on insurance, you can call us at 305-648-7070, request an insurance quote, or contact us with any questions or comments.