Almost everyone owns physical belongings that they consider near and dear to their heart to the extent that losing them would feel like a tangible loss. In the terrible event that these belongings do become damaged or lost, while they cannot be replaced, it is helpful and emotionally compensating to receive their value back through insurance. Many people rely on their home insurance to provide them this support, but it is important to realize now that those fine art collections and antique dolls are not necessarily covered by your current plan alone.
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Working With Your Current Policy
Home insurance policies are often created to serve the average household. While this keeps the price lower, it also means that only your common household items will be covered. If you have accumulated a valuable collection or assortment of antiques, it is important to make sure they are protected. There are a couple of options for doing this. First, you should speak to your insurance provider or personally read through your policy to see what you are currently covered for. Some policies may include a limited amount of protection for your antiques but read carefully because it will likely not cover enough of their value, and only cover a few scenarios. However, your insurance provider may have more options for you. Often you can add a “rider” (or endorsement) onto your current policy, which will be an add-on to your policy to cover the collection or antiques that you want to be specifically protected. This will likely be the easiest option if it is available because you are simply expanding your already active policy, so contact your current insurance agency to inquire about this option.
Another option is to obtain a separate and specialized collectibles insurance. These policies can be a good choice because they will consider risks that may be special to collections and antiques. Consider talking to other collectors in your community to see how they insure their items; they may be able to recommend companies with collectibles insurance policies that they use and trust. If you are using a separate insurer be sure to shop around and get several quotes to find a policy that fits your price range and scenario checklist. If you move your collection around to shows or events then do not forget to ask about insuring transportation risks.
Knowing the Value of Your Collections
Carefully documenting your collection and determining its value is critical to this process. While it may be a tedious task, it is the only way to make sure that you have the right policy, and that your expectations match the reality of what you will get back for your collectibles if needed. It can be difficult to pin down the value of an antique because its value changes over time and depends on other people’s interest in the item, and insurance companies will likely care the most about their current cash value. The process should begin with careful documentation. If possible, take pictures and make note of every item in your collection, when it was obtained, how much you paid for it, along with any receipts or other important information. You may be able to determine their value through your own knowledge or doing research on collector sites and other places where antiques are sold, like eBay. However, this may be very time consuming and it could be difficult to pin down a realistic value. The best option would be to get an appraisal from an expert. Getting an appraisal may be difficult or simple depending on what you collect, but it will help you to be aware of what you have and will provide valuable support for any claim you may put in.
While insurance is important, it is ideal to never have to actually use it. Depending on the object, you can take steps to further ensure the safety of your cherished collectibles. This can include keeping them in a fire-proof safe or a safe deposit box, making sure objects on display are securely fastened and covered, or storing larger items in a secure place away from the elements. Where and how your collectibles are stored can have an effect on your policy, and if they are well protected you may be offered a lower price for coverage.
When looking for insurance for your collectibles and antiques:
- Contact your current home insurance provider to see how they can help you.
- Talk to other collectors in your community to see how they keep their collections safe.
- Keep or develop lists of what you have and any important information including their purchase price and their current value.
- Decide on an insurer.
- Take steps to keep your special belongings safe and protected to avoid having to use the insurance at all.