What you need to know about floater insurance

We all know it's crucial to make sure your home is fully protected with homeowners insurance. But these policies can have gaps in them. Many don't cover all your possessions.

To make sure your valuable items are covered, consider obtaining additional coverage called "floater insurance."

Most basic homeowners insurance policies have very limited coverage for items that are easily transported, such as jewelry, expensive electronics, antiques and artwork.

And most policies will cap the amount you can receive for an insurance claim. That means if your stolen jewelry collection is worth more than the cap, you are out of luck. And accidental loss for such items is generally not covered.

To ensure that your valuables are protected in case of theft, fire, or loss, work with your insurance company to add these items under floater policies.

To confirm each item's value, you might need a written appraisal or a receipt.

The good news? This extra coverage is not expensive, usually less than $1 for every $100 in value. And there are usually no deductibles.

Two final tips: Be sure to revisit these policies every two or three years to ensure that the valuations are current. And remember to add any new items -- such as birthday and holiday gifts or new purchases, so that all of your possessions are fully covered.

  • Mellody Hobson

    View all articles by Mellody Hobson on CBS MoneyWatch»
    Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News and CBSNews.com.