This holiday season, an indulgent family member (or really fantastic neighbor?) might take the opportunity to surprise and delight with an unexpected gift. But, unfortunately for homeowners, sometimes those surprises come with a surprise of their own: an unwelcome bump in their homeowner’s insurance.

So before you go big on that fancy gift, make sure you know what could affect someone’s insurance. Here are nine gifts to note.


That expensive bauble likely cost a pretty penny — and you want to make sure it stays safe. That’s why the owner will probably need an “endorsement” or “rider.” It’ll help cover certain types of jewelry that exceed the limits of regular insurance.

Fine art, antiques, or fashion

Oh, we’re not done yet! Jewelry is just one item. The list of things that might exceed your standard coverage and personal property protection can be long and includes most luxury items. While we love to give (and let’s be honest, mostly receive) these decadent items, it’s important to remind the recipient to check their insurance policy about what’s covered and what might need an extra layer of protection.

Electronic gifts, like computers and cameras

They’re expensive to buy and equally expensive to replace. Make sure your giftee double-checks what’s covered under their policy and in what conditions. A laptop, for example, might be covered if it’s stolen, but not if it’s damaged when a can of soda tips over and soaks the keyboard.


These can seem like a harmless toy. But they can also wreak havoc if not maneuvered correctly. And if the new pilot inflicts damage on a nearby resident’s home while trying to figure out how to use it, the recipient’s insurance could rise as the result of a claim from an angry neighbor.

Dangerous electronics

We’ve all heard the news about items like smartphones or hoverboards spontaneously catching fire. While most of the guilty suspects have been recalled, it’d be terrible to inadvertently give a gift that could cause a dangerous and damaging house fire. Before making a purchase, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, which keeps a database of items that have been recalled.

A car

We’ve all seen the car commercials — a new ride wrapped in a big, red bow. If someone has been very, VERY good this year and deserves a car, who are we to stop a generous Santa? But remember: car insurance policies vary depending on the cost of the car and who’s driving it. A new car could potentially drive up the cost.

A trampoline or backyard play structure

Many of the bells and whistles that make a backyard fun are only covered with a special policy that specifically covers what’s known in the industry as an “attractive nuisance.” It’s a fantastically descriptive phrase that proves insurance people are definitely a lot of fun. Ahem.

A hot tub

It’s easy to assume only swimming pools pose a danger. But their smaller cousin, the hot tub, also qualifies as an “attractive nuisance,” as we discussed above.

A pet

While you might guess that a dog would cause most pet-related injuries, the good news is that the majority of policies cover dog bites. Certain breeds could trigger a need for excess coverage, though. So check just to be on the safe side.

And some pets that are a little more on the wild side need a special type of insurance, known as “exotic pet insurance.” The safest route is to inform your insurance agent on any new four-legged friends to make sure you’re covered.

The best gift of all?

Prefer to give the gift of your time? You could do something that your friend or relative doesn’t have time to tackle. May we boldly suggest you help them do a home inventory? It’s the ideal way for them to keep tabs on all their property. And it’ll take an important “to do” off their list. Who could turn down a gift like that?

Insurance 101 | Homeowners 101


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.