Valuable Collectibles Need Special Insurance
Protect your Prized Possessions. The Best of Insurance for your Best Valuables could be a Floater Policy
While basic homeowners, condo or renters policy should provide ample protection for ordinary possessions, if you own collectibles, you may need to boost your coverage, says Mark Carrasquillo, an insurance broker with E.G. Bowman Company in New York City.
"Standard policies provide little coverage for collectibles," he says.
The easiest way to insure most collectibles is to add an endorsement to your home policy, he says: "All insurance carriers that write home insurance will cover valuable articles unless they're extraordinarily valuable."
In insurance lingo, that's called "scheduling" the items-establishing a value for each set of items and insuring them specifically.
Collectibles are listed or scheduled on what is commonly referred to as a floater or valuable articles policy.
"Yes, the same insurance that protects your jewelry would protect your trading cards, china, memorabilia, toys, rare books and magazines, dolls, coins and many other things. Some collectibles have mostly sentimental value, while others are worth cold, hard cash," Carrasquillo says. "If yours are in the latter category, your insurance agent or broker can advise you what steps to take."
Some insurers often aren't too stringent about documentation for collectibles worth less than $5,000. But for more valuable things, carriers will want to see a verifiable appraisal, with a detailed description and photo or a recent sales receipt if the item was just purchased. This provides an insurable value and proof of ownership.
Carrasquillo says for the unusual items or unique tchotchkes such as figurines or porcelain dolls, where obtaining an appraisal may be difficult, collectors' magazines that list market and auction prices can help establish value.
Insurance isn't expensive for most collectibles. The cost of insurance varies by the kind of item. A $2,000 diamond ring could cost just as much to insure as $5,000 collection of baseball cards or dolls.
Insuring valuable collectibles is smart and has a lot of advantages. Scheduled coverage is "all risk," Carrasquillo points out. The standard home policy covers only specified causes of loss, such as fire, storms and theft. Losing something, like dropping a ring down a drain hole, isn't covered. Nor is having the family dog or someone bump into a display case and destroying valuable china.
But both accidental loss and damage from household accidents are covered by an "all risk" collectibles floater. And there's no deductible on scheduled items. If the item is stolen, destroyed or lost, you'll get a full payout, Carrasquillo says.
Founded in 1953, Manhattan-based E.G. Bowman offers all types of commercial and personal insurance. It is one of America's premier minority-owned independent insurance agencies. More information is online at www.egbowman.com, www.facebook.com/egbowmanco and www.twitter.com/egbowmanco.