Think your belongings are insured? Think again

Expaters, think you’ve got your personal items insured? Think again.

One of my first priorities when we move to a new country is to get insurance set up. But here in Chile it’s proving a little tricky.

Travel insurance, health insurance, home insurance; they all exist. But insurance of personal items taken outside of your home, but within Chile, does not.

Fellow Expaters based in other countries who’ve read the small print on their policies tell me much the same.

So if you’re carrying a fancy handbag, sporting a fancy camera or wearing a fancy engagement ring out and about in the city it’s very unlikely they’d be insured in the case of theft.

When we first arrived here I asked around ‘gringa’ buddies for insurance firms they’d recommend. Various banks, department stores and insurance firm names popped up, including BCI, Falabella and Banco de Chile, and I asked around for quotes.

Most of their home insurance policies do cover against theft, earthquakes, flooding and so forth, but only for items kept within the home.

But insurance against theft of personal items taken outside of the home? No, nope, nada.

None of the banks in Chile I contacted offer this type of policy. I reached out to more dedicated insurance providers, who confirmed that ‘no such policy exists here in Chile’.

Department store Falabella does offer insurance against some personal items taken outside, but not including jewelry. Watches are covered, but… with a maximum pay out of $200USD. I was never any good at maths, but even I know this is a rubbish deal. Even the Falabella consultant agreed with me.

As a Brit, I find this all rather baffling.

Out of curiosity I went to Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Hermes stores and asked them what their clients do. One manager suggested keeping goods within the home at all times (Vuitton dress up parties at home, anyone?) Others said to just replace the goods when (not if) they get stolen.

I also asked my relocation consultant. Her advice? Never mind the insurance – do not carry any valuable items on you, ever. You’d be attracting the wrong sort of attention. She only wore her good jewelry in Europe, when covered with travel insurance, she added.

Most of my things are worth more on a sentimental level than in terms of street market value. No insurance company can compensate for a ring passed down generations.

But I’m still curious and I’d like to get a policy set up for some peace of mind.

So I’ve been in touch with specialist expatriate financial planning advisors, IUK. As consultants on all financial issues pertaining to expats, including pensions, mortgages and tax, apparently they also know their stuff about insurance and are looking into this for me.

It seems they’ve found one company that can help. I’ll keep you updated Expaters

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