Posted By Paul Atkinson
The first thing to remember is that in each state the way coverage is afforded on a homeowners policy can be a little different. However, generally, the meat and potatoes of the policy and how they work will remain the same. The best way to cover your equipment is on what is called an "Inland Marine" schedule. Some call them "Property Floaters." This is an addendum coverage to your homeowners policy and is very specific in nature. Each item you want covered must be individually listed with value and where possible a serial number provided. Most companies don't have a "telescope" schedule so they will likely place it as Camera Equipment. The way the coverage is afforded is the same regardless of what they call it and you can schedule anything that pertains such as mounts, eyepieces, filters, electronics, etc. A floater will cover things like "mysterious disappearance" or "breakage" and (if you let them know that you travel with it) "property in transit." That's right. If your 4 year old knocks over your $5000 refractor and tripod (breakage), it's covered. If you have your telescope out on your driveway and go in the house to use the bathroom and come back 10 minutes later and it's gone (mysterious disappearance), it's covered. If it includes transit coverage and you get in a car wreck and your telescope is broken, or if it is broken or disappears at a star party, it's covered. In most cases Floaters are not subject to a deductible if there is a loss.
If you are relying on your homeowners policy to cover your equipment that is probably a mistake. A lot of companies will not consider "high value" telescope equipment as standard contents. In other words, they may not look at it the same way they look at your furniture, clothes, television. Most homeowners policies have a set limit for specialized property (or in this case, telescopes). The average in FL is $2500. You would be subject to your policy deductible. A homeowners policy will not TYPICALLY cover breakage or mysterious disappearance. If you go to star parties the coverage might be even more restrictive since it would be considered property in transit and is off your covered premise. Typical property in transit coverage is a very minimal amount as they don't expect people to be driving around with all their homeowners possessions in their car.
In the end you need to talk to your agent and make sure they know exactly what you have and what you do with it. Discuss the options on your policy and how best to cover every contingent loss scenario.