Personal Property Insurance – What Counts As Personal Property?

There are many terms people use to describe the items in their home and/or business. Personal property, contents, belongings, chattel and assets are the terms used interchangeably. provides this definition: “A type of property which, in its most general definition, can include any asset other than real estate. The distinguishing factor… is that personal property is movable. That is, the asset is not fixed permanently to one location as with real property such as land or buildings.”

Let’s visualize a building, whether it’s your house, apartment or business. Imagine cutting the roof off and lifting the building up in the air. Now, turn it upside down and shake it. Everything that falls out is personal property. It’s that simple to determine what falls under this category and what will be covered under that section of your insurance policy.

Therefore, all of the items in your home, apartment, or business that are furniture, electronics, appliances, clothing, jewelry, toys, tools, decorative items, etc., are all personal property.

This is a common discussion I have with our inventory clients. Often when providing this service, we’re asked to make sure we get photos of built-in bookcases, their newly installed granite kitchen counter tops, their closet organizer system or brand-new hardwood floors. We always take the time to explain the turn-your-house-upside-down scenario to our clients. Until this discussion, many didn’t realize that all other items – the ones that do not fall out when flipping the building upside down – are considered part of the structure.

In addition to the items listed above, built-in appliances, carpet and other flooring, kitchen cupboards, closet organizers that are built in, light fixtures, fireplace mantles, and other items like these, are not personal property.

Now that we’ve covered what counts as personal property, why is it important to know this? Your homeowners insurance is divided into two sections. One is the structure insurance and the other is the personal property insurance. (This is also what is covered when you purchase renter’s insurance.)

Another key reason to understand how your insurance policy covers your contents is to help determine if you’re property insured. When you create your home inventory, it’s important to remember what is considered personal property and what is considered part of the structure. If you list the items noted above, it will inflate the value of your contents, thus you might purchase more insurance than is necessary.

Having this knowledge will help ensure you are neither under- or over-insured.

Cindy Hartman is Co-Founder of Hartman Inventory Systems LLC, a complete personal property inventory turnkey business package. This franchise alternative guarantees success when following the established program. It provides all the tools and resources needed to start and grow an inventory service company. Major components are hands-on training, national certification, complete marketing package, life/business coaching program, guaranteed market area, and continued support. She and her husband also provide personal property inventory services through Hartman Inventory LLC, a woman-owned business.

Jewelry Boxes – A Guide to the Best Jewelry Box Makers

Whether you are buying the most basic kind of jewelry box or are in the market for high-end luxury boxes, it is a good idea to know which companies make the best boxes and to be able to identify the brand names associated with quality jewelry boxes. So, let me give you a short guide to the makers of jewelry boxes in the various price ranges.

If you are looking for the most affordable jewelry boxes, then you will be able to find a variety of high quality, mass-produced boxes. In this price range, a good choice are the products offered by the Mele Jewelry box company. They do a good job of combining quality construction and classic style with attractive prices. Over 100 styles are offered each season in prices ranging from $25 to $375

Their designs include child ballerina boxes, white wood girls jewelry boxes, travel jewelry cases, women’s wood jewelry boxes, men’s valet boxes and floor standing jewelry armoires.

Mele’s wood boxes are available in a variety of finishes including oak, cherry and walnut. They also offer faux leather and genuine leather boxes as well.

In case you are wondering about the manufacturer, the Mele Jewelry Box Company was founded in 1912 and managed to survive the Great Depression by building the boxes that held the Purple Heart’s given to war veterans.

They prospered in the late 1940s after introducing a jewelry box with an automatic tray that rose when you lifted the lid. In 1948 Life magazine listed it as one of the top ten holiday gifts. This was followed by a children’s box with a spinning ballerina, which also became top selling item. By the 1950s the company was established and was a household name. 50 years later, Mele remains as a leader in its field.

Another affordable brand to look for is Royce Leather. They do a wonderful job of producing quality genuine leather jewelry boxes, jewelry travel organizers and watch boxes at reasonable prices. Their most popular products are travel wallets which sell for $40-50 and watch cases which range in price from $60-100. These items can be personalized with your initials and are available in a variety of colors. Royce’s leather products feature hand-selected leather hides and quality stitching.

Royce has been in business for 35 years and they have established a reputation for finely crafted and innovative leather products.

In the mid range of jewelry boxes one of the leading manufacturers is Reed & Barton. Their jewelry boxes range in price from $100 to $400. They are crafted in old world style and tradition and big enough to house full jewelry collections. The two most popular Reed & Barton jewelry chests are the “Regal” jewelry box and the larger “Athena” jewelry box. Both are popular gifts for Christmas, weddings, anniversaries and graduations.

Reed & Barton boxes, with their traditional design and generous jewelry storage, make a perfect heirloom jewelry box gift. Their newest styles which are more contemporary have also been well received by those looking for a fresh take on the classic jewelry chest. Reed & Barton is a well-known company, renowned for producing high quality flatware and giftware. They have been in business since 1824.

In the luxury range of jewelry boxes the RaGar name is a brand to look for. Their boxes are distinguished by original designs, high gloss finishes, brass hinges and luxurious linings and range in price from $100 to 1450. Every RaGar jewelry box is shipped in a two piece white gift box. In the past 15 years RaGar has established itself as a leading manufacturer of luxury jewelry boxes.

Another high quality box maker is Jere Wright Global. Their Constantine line of products are handcrafted with exquisite attention to detail.  Each individual jewelry box takes over 20 days to complete.  The care and attention this manufacturer gives their products is clearly evident in over 80 unique styles including exotic wood jewelry boxes, fine leather jewelry travelers, watch cases and winders and crystal trinket boxes.

When you are shopping for jewelry boxes, whatever the price range, lookout for these quality brands and you will surely find a quality gift item or box for your own cherished jewelry collection.