Insuring the Not So Usual
Do you own artwork? Do you have fine antiques? Family heirlooms? What about collectibles? You may find that your current insurance policy doesn't really allow for such unique and valuable items. In fact, you will likely need special riders that will provide you with additional insurance coverage. You'll also have to do that for each treasured item individually.
Why would insurance companies require these belongings to be inventoried and insured individually? In reality, it's because most insurance companies work in the realm of statistics. They deal on a daily basis with the average. That's why most companies take your word for it when you submit a list of belongings to them in your claim. Why? Because insurance companies have a good idea of what kinds of things are owned by the average middle class family. They may even provide you with a checklist, so that you can better provide them with an inventory of your belongings, because they know what to expect to find in each room of a house.
However, when you begin to get into collecting unusual items or very expensive items, your insurance company can no longer take your word for it. They will need these items individually inventoried, preferably independently appraised, and since these items will be outside of the realm of normal, they will sometimes need to be individually insured.
Can your current insurance company give you the insurance you need? This is an excellent question. Some insurance companies do not have much experience in the realm of art, antiques or collectibles. In this case, it may be worth your while to find an insurance broker who has some experience in this area. Such a person may be able to help you find the right insurance company. If you are collecting art, your favorite art magazines can be a good resource when looking for such service providers. You should look out for companies with an established reputation as well as a successful and dedicated claims department. That claims department will be very important to you, if you ever need to make a claim.
While individual insurance for your treasures may be required, if your artworks are individually worth less than $10,000 each, you can go for a blanket policy. Under such an arrangement, you will not have to list all the items involved. However, the most you can claim for any single artwork will be $10,000. So, you will have to keep in mind the value of your items.
And you need to be ready for the value of your items to go up. In fact, if certain collectibles become hot, the value can escalate very rapidly. Many policies recognize that prices can quite unexpectedly and dramatically escalate in value. Under such specialized policies your claims can be settled for up to 150% of the artworks original insurance amount. This can help to protect you if you havent had a recent appraisal or havent recently reviewed your insurance coverage.