You will probably want to give some considerable attention to insuring your collection. Of course, your decision to insure or not may depend on the value of the collection and the cost of the insurance. Keep in mind that the value of collectibles in general has increased tremendously, and you may be quite surprised at what your items are worth. Naturally, insurance will only allow you to recoup some money: it does not necessarily follow that you can replace the lost or stolen items. One uniqueness about collectibles is that you generally cannot go to a local store or call a dealer and expect to buy another copy of the item that is now gone.
My advice is that you should be safe, not sorry. On finding insurance, you should think about a number of things. Start with your homeowner’s policy. I have seen some homeowner policies that insure collectibles, and others not. It really depends on the type of items. More traditional household collectibles such as fine art, may be covered, even though you very well may want to have a special fine art insurance policy. Sports collectibles, among other types of items, are not your usual household items, and likely are not going to be covered in a homeowner’s policy.
But if indeed your items are covered by your homeowner’s policy, be aware of a few things. First, there are usually limits on each item lost, and chances are that the limit on each loss will not cover the value of the lost items. Likewise, your claim cannot exceed the amount of your coverage. For example, if your losses actually are $200,000 but your coverage is $125,000, the maximum you can recover is $125,000. Also, look carefully to see what type of hazards your policy covers. For example, sometimes collectibles are ruined due to floods, but it is possible your policy may not cover flood damage. In that situation you would be in an unenviable position of trying to persuade the insurance company to make you an exception.
Many collectors will obtain special insurance for their items. These particular policies may be through the insurance carrier that insures your house, or from a different insurance carrier altogether.
For example, most collectors of fine art will have a special policy. Even though a homeowner’s policy may include fine art, most policies will not cover the artwork if it is on loan to a gallery or a museum or even in transit. With artwork, the most common cause of loss is fire, smoke or water damage, or breakage, — not theft. Special collectible insurance policies will cover such situations, whereas standard homeowner policies may not. Surprisingly, special insurance, whether it be for fine art, sports items, pop or presidential memorabilia, will probably be less expensive, and more comprehensive, than a standard homeowners policy. Of course, no matter what type of policy you have, any safeguard you have, such as an alarm system, will lower your cost.
As a collector, it is your responsibility to keep informed of the value of your items, and adjust your coverage accordingly. The cost of special insurance may be more affordable than you think. Although insurance premium costs can surely run the spectrum, you may be looking from as low as $1 for every $1,000 of coverage, up to five or ten times that amount. One dollar for every $1000 of coverage would mean that $1,000,000 of coverage could cost $1000.
There are a limited number of insurance companies specializing in collectibles, but one exceptional company is Collectibles Insurance Agency of Westminster, Maryland. You may wish to contact that company.
Jeff Figler is a Professionally Certified sports memorabilia appraiser. Learn more about Jeff on his website www.collectingwithjeff.com. He can be contacted at Becky.Collectingwithjeff@outlook.com or at 877-472-3087. His baseball book The Picker’s Pocket Guide to Baseball Memorabilia can be purchased on Amazon or from his website.