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Smart Moves to Make After a Major Purchase

Protect newly bought belongings by taking these five precautions.

Smart Moves to Make After a Major Purchase

The best time to think about protecting possessions is when you first buy or receive them. Here are five things to consider after you’re done shopping:

  1. Save receipts, warranty cards and instruction manuals, and file them safely. Include copies of receipts with a home inventory list.
  2. Be sure to record serial and other identifying numbers, such as vehicle identification numbers, in a log or with your home inventory documentation.
  3. Determine whether service contracts, offered frequently by retailers, are worth the cost. For example, electronics (e.g., digital cameras) become out-of-date quickly; it may not be worthwhile to repair them two years from now. On the other hand, a refrigerator, which usually lasts years, might be a good candidate for a service contract, depending on the price.
  4. Double-check your insurance coverage. If you doubt whether your policy covers a new possession, contact your insurance company at once. Your homeowners or renters policy likely covers a new TV. However, for certain valuables, such as jewelry, watches and collectibles, policies may have specific “caps.” You should check your limits. Often, you can purchase a scheduled personal property (SPP) endorsement to extend coverage limits for more expensive items.
  5. Whenever possible, etch identification numbers onto valuables. This works well with TVs, DVD players and computers. Check with your local police—many lend engraving tools free of charge. You can use the same number on all items—such as your driver’s license number, phone number or birthday—but be sure to record it. Try to etch items in places where number removal would not damage the valuable’s appearance. Of course, etching is not appropriate for all possessions—jewelry, for example. For valuables etching can’t mark, be sure you have good photo documentation, and an appraisal and receipt, if possible.

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