Insuring Your Collections
by Bob Brooke
estimated that only 27 percent of antique and collectible collectors
insure their collections. While the Number One reason to insure your
antiques and collectibles is theft, there are others, including fire,
flood, and natural disasters.
Antiques and collectibles cannot be replaced as easily as newer items,
such as computers, televisions, and furniture. In fact, some antiques
may be one-of-a-kind. So you’ve probably shied away from insuring your
collections because you figure that if you can’t replace the items, why
bother. What you fail to consider is the value of the items you’ve
Since many collectors are amateurs, they don’t think about insurance on
their collections. What if a thief stole or destroyed some or all of
your Depression Glass collection? Would home owners’ insurance cover the
loss? Would the insurance company take your word for what pieces you
had? Would you be able to remember each piece and the value of each
piece in your collection? In most cases, the average collector doesn’t
have enough content insurance to cover both the normal contents of his
or her home and their collection?
Some insurance companies won’t cover the lose under a regular
homeowners’ or an apartment contents policy. They usually require
special antique insurance for such items. Other insurance companies will
cover a collection under regular homeowners’ insurance, as long as the
policy has sufficient value to cover everything. It’s important for you
to check with your insurance carrier for their requirements.
Options for Collectors
find many options for insuring your antiques and collectibles. But
getting the right amount of coverage and knowing where to start can be
both frustrating and confusing.
There are four types of insurance policies that you can choose from:
insurance with adjusted
antiques and collectibles coverage.
—homeowners insurance with an antiques
and collectibles rider.
—a separate policy with your homeowners
—a separate policy with a specialty
The first is the best
option if you have a small collection or are just starting one. The
second works well if you have a small to medium-sized collection. The
third is the best if you have a large collection or one with rare items.
And the fourth works well if you have a very large, specialized
Types of Items Are Covered?
Your homeowners policy will only cover personal property. And while you
can argue that anything you own is personal property, insurance
companies don’t see it that way.
they consider personal property to include the contents of your home,
only some antiques and collectibles have limited coverage. For instance,
artwork, collector items (that can mean just about anything), sports
collectibles, and items designated as “collectibles” such as Royal
Copenhagen Christmas plates or Hummel figurines. Don’t wait until you
have to make a claim to find out what’s covered. Check with your
insurance agent to make sure the items you expect to be covered are
Remember, every insurance company, government and country have different
rules and regulations regarding insurance claims—and insurance fraud.
As with any other purchase, shop around on the Internet for different
policy and coverage options and rates.
Collectibles Insurance Services, of Westminster, Maryland,
offers policies for collectors ranging from an annual premium of about
$32 for $10,000 to $238 for $100,000 in coverage. These policies insure
just about any collectible except jewelry, expensive watches, fine art
paintings and art objects, and motor vehicles and require no
professional appraisal. You estimate the value of your collection. And
the insurance company bases the claim payments on replacement value. For
unique or difficult to find items, replacement value is the estimated
auction price the item would sell for in a room full of specialist
collectors or on an Internet auction like eBay. Any loss over the
minimum deductible of $50.00 is paid in full.
American Collectors Insurance, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in
business since 1976, provides coverage only for collectors beginning at
around $75 for $10,000. Unfortunately, its policy doesn’t cover paper
collectibles, china ware, jewelry, coins, watches, flatware, firearms,
and fine art.
To be sure to collect if you have to make a claim, it’s vitally
important to document your collections. You’ll need to prepare an
itemized list of all the items in your collections and should include
the following information:
—The date you bought the
—The amount you paid for the item
—Any serial numbers, marking, or signatures
—Damage or repairs the item may have
—Information about the item i.e. date it was made, where it was
what it was
made of, has it been in the family and for how long
—Past appraisals, estimates of value or valuations you many have had
—Detailed Description of the item
—Other information you think would be helpful to an appraiser.
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