Building A Home Theater: Don’t Forget The Insurance!

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to own a home theater. The amount of time and research I’ve put in to the project has been usurped by only one thing: cost. Home theaters can be expensive — in fact, they’re almost guaranteed to be, ranging anywhere from $15,000 to $2 million, depending on what your goals are. Regardless, when you add this type of room to your home, you’re incurring a lot of additional items in need of coverage. High-quality DLP projectors like the kind at movie theaters can run $40,000 or more. Surround sound audio systems can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Then, there are whatever design choices and props that you add for ambiance. And let’s not forget the lighting!

Yes, you can rack up a fortune in a hurry when you turn your love of movies loose on the inside of your home. That’s why we’d like to caution you to take the following steps.


Step One: Meet With Your Insurance Agent.

Schedule a sit-down with your agent and bring your inventory list along with you. Explain to him (or her) that you plan on building the home theater for x amount of dollars, and you want to ensure that everything in the room is covered in the event of a fire or natural disaster. While you’re at it, ask your agent to clarify whether electronics are supported by the standard homeowners insurance policy. (They usually are, but it pays to be sure, so if adjustments need to be made or additional riders purchased, you can do so on the spot.)


Step Two: Update Your Policy More Frequently Than Your Equipment.

If you do a home theater right, then your equipment will last you a long time, and electronics prices are relatively consistent, even tending to get cheaper over time. We do recommend you update the coverage amounts when you need to replace something, however. As for building materials, you need to treat the room like you would the whole of your house. Update your policy every year to reflect the cost of rebuilding, not the cost of actual value. This will ensure there are no gaps in coverage should a storm strike or a fire burn out the room.


Step Three: Be Thorough And Log Everything Of Value.

Most insurance companies have features within their mobile apps that allow you to take pictures and make notes on the items you own. With high-end, high-dollar theater equipment, you’ll want to snap photos and save them to a cloud-based client as well as a solid-state drive so they’re always accessible. In addition to documenting the equipment through pictures, hold on to the receipts or snap a photo of those as well. A $40,000 projector, for instance, really needs to have its full value accounted for rather than a simple estimate.


Step Four: Verify That Personal Injury Protection Coverage Is Adequate.

When you own a home theater, you’ve just got to get used to the fact that your long lost friends and relatives will be dropping by more once they discover it’s there. With more people coming through your house — and with the confined, close-quarter nature of many home theaters — you’ll want to make sure that you have adequate coverage in the event of an accident or mishap.


In Summary

For some of us, the magical home theater experience will have to remain a distant dream, but for those of you fortunate enough to have one — or plans for one in the near future — we urge you to not overlook this important part of taking care of your baby. And if you ever need some company, I know where you can send an invite!

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