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Insuring Your Collectibles the Smart Way

If you have spent considerable time and money on a collection you probably want to ensure that it is well protected.  Homeowner’s insurance does not necessarily cover large collections and it is best to find out whether you are covered before an incident of loss, rather than after.  Most homeowner’s policies cover items such as jewelry, stamps or antiques, and value them between $500 and $2,000.  Generally, if your collection is worth more than $3,000 it is a good idea to purchase separate insurance.  Talk to your insurance provider to find out the cost of a specialized policy or ‘floater’ for your collection.  Compare this cost to that of a specialty insurer.

A specialty insurer focuses on fine collectibles and will help you determine what type of insurance is best for you.  Also, specialty insurers may charge less than most homeowner’s insurance rates.  A specialty insurer will also provide more extensive coverage for your collection, such as coverage while in transit, accidental breakage, shipping loss and fumigation from fire damage.

It is important to know what documentation is needed and when it will be required.  Some policies require documentation of the collection at the time of coverage, yet others may only want documentation in case of a claim.  The documentation requirement may be a listing of the items along with pictures, while some companies will accept a videotaped account or may require receipts of purchase.  Specialty insurers generally require an appraisal of your collection.  In some cases, you may underestimate the value of your items, so it is best to consult a qualified appraiser who can assist you in determining and documenting the value for insurance purposes.

Insurance premiums may be less if there is minimal chance of loss.  For example, if you have a valuable collection stored in your home, it might be prudent to install an alarm system.

If you own a valuable collection, make the decision to insure it and allow it to be enjoyed for generations to come.