From Furry Friends to Life’s Big Events: Sure, You Can Insure It!

Cat wear a cone and one front leg is in a cast

When you think of insurance, the obvious might come to mind: health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and homeowners or renters insurance. But life is full of many other important things and defining moments. Should you insure those, too? Here’s a look at some lesser-known policies that offer important coverage to those who invest in them.

Pet insurance

Pets are cherished family members for many, and there’s little owners wouldn’t do to prolong the length and quality of their pets’ lives. As veterinary advancements progress, however, the treatments used to aid sick or injured pets have become more and more costly. Pet insurance can ease the financial burden of medical care. It can also cover the loss or death of expensive exotic breeds. Pet insurance policy options can include:

  • Accident only — This is typically the least expensive policy type available and provides basic coverage. It can help pay veterinary bills if a pet is involved in an accident or succumbs to an emergency illness.
  • Time limited — This type of policy allows pet owners to make claims for eligible conditions up to a specified amount during a predetermined period, typically 12 months. When a 12-month policy expires, an owner can renew the policy but it would exclude any conditions for which claims had already been paid.
  • Maximum benefit — With this policy, no time limits exist on making claims for certain conditions, but a set monetary limit does. Once the insurer has paid out the claim, the pet owner must pay all remaining expenses associated with that condition out-of-pocket.
  • Lifetime — This is the most comprehensive and expensive basic pet health insurance option. It covers veterinary fees up to a certain amount each year for the life of the pet so long as the owner keeps the policy active.

For some, animals are more than loving companions. They can also be a person’s livelihood. Imagine losing a dog slated to compete at the esteemed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show or a prize racehorse: It could mean financial disaster on top of heartbreak. In these cases, animal mortality insurance can cover an owner’s financial losses if an income-producing animal dies, is injured, falls ill, or is stolen. What is and isn’t covered in an animal mortality policy can vary depending on the carrier, so those who rely on animals for their income should research all options to find the policy that best suits their specific needs and situations.

Personal watercraft (PWC) insurance

For some adventure seekers, there’s no greater thrill than a high-speed pursuit of white-capped waves aboard a Jet Ski, Wave Runner, or Sea-Doo. The insurance industry calls these “personal watercraft,” or “PWC,” and classifies them into two types: stand-up PWCs used by a single rider who stands or kneels while operating and sit-down PWCs used by one or more riders who sit while operating. Most insurance companies that offer boat insurance also offer PWC policies.

PWC insurance requirements vary by state but, required or not, it’s a smart choice considering the risky nature of personal watercraft. A variety of PWC coverage options exist including liability, collision, comprehensive, medical, total loss replacement, as well as on-water towing and labor. Policy types will determine rates as will other factors like the PWC make and model, horsepower, engine specifications, storage location, as well as owner credit and accident history.

Be forewarned: Exclusions may apply. If a carrier discovers a policyholder was operating the PWC without a proper license, was using it after dark, or had modified the PWC to operate at speeds higher than the manufacturer intended while investigating a claim, the provider may deny the claim.

While other nonmotorized watercraft like kayaks and canoes can certainly be insured, they may be considered personal property covered under homeowners or renters insurance policies, depending on their value. Talk to a knowledgeable insurance broker about your options for such watersports coverage.

Wedding insurance

The amount of money and time spent on the perfect wedding can be staggering. In 2016, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was just over $35,000, and most weddings take many months or even a year or more to plan. With that kind of money and time invested, insurance can be a savior if an unforeseeable circumstance crashes the wedding. What if the bride, groom, or close family member were to get sick or injured right before the wedding? What if a weather event like a tropical storm or ice storm rendered the wedding venue unusable? What if the caterer or wedding dress boutique were to suddenly go out of business and wouldn’t return your calls after you’d made a hefty deposit?

Basic wedding insurance can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, depending on the wedding cost and selected coverage options. Even a mega-wedding costing $175,000 can be insured for around $1,000. That may be a small price to pay considering the huge investment at stake.

One very important reminder for brides and grooms planning their big day: Get everything in a written contract from each vendor you hire. If a vendor fails to perform as outlined in a written, signed contract, having that documentation makes it much easier when filing an insurance claim to recoup any funds that vendor cost you.

And a final caveat to wedding insurance: It covers a lot of potential scenarios — but cold feet is not one of them. If a bride or groom backs out, the only thing a wedding insurance policyholder might get from his or her insurance agent is condolences.

Moving insurance

It’s difficult to realize how much “stuff” we have until all our possessions are boxed up and stacked in a moving truck. What if the moving truck was to pull out of the driveway and was stolen or in a bad accident? While it may be impossible to replace the sentimental value of certain belongings, moving insurance can at least reimburse those on the move for what they could lose. Here are some important points for those relocating to keep in mind:

  • Federal law requires all moving companies include “released value protection” to customers. This is liability insurance that covers the moving companies if any or all the moving truck contents are damaged or stolen. However, they set the value at 60 cents per pound, so that doesn’t do much for those who lose $500 pieces of art that weigh 10 pounds.
  • To offer added protection and a more realistic reimbursement cost, movers can purchase “full value protection,” which takes into account the real value of the contents in transit. Full value protection costs about 1% of the total valuation. So, if the items being moved are valued at $100,000, the protection plan would cost approximately $1,000. It may seem like a big investment if everything goes smoothly from Point A to Point B, but if disaster strikes, it could seem like the best $1,000 you’ve ever spent, considering the time and money involved in replacing everything you own.

Be smart with what you let others move for you: If something is simply too valuable to ship off on a moving truck, make special arrangements to transport it yourself. This is especially easy to do with smaller items like jewelry that may have both high sentimental and monetary value.

Life is full of unique events and circumstances. Offering protection for these important elements can be very subjective, which is one reason why the insurance industry is so complex. For some, pets are far more important than vehicles. For others, a wedding could be the biggest financial investment they will ever make. To ensure you have coverage for the most important aspects of your life, find an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands the options available for protecting what matters to you. Even if the coverage is a bit unconventional, that doesn’t mean it’s not available.