It’s easy to assume that your collectibles are covered by homeowners or renters insurance, but that’s not always the case. Often you’ll only get the partial value of your collection if it’s lost or stolen, and sometimes you won’t qualify for coverage at all. Here’s a look at what collectible insurance offers, how much it costs, and when to get it.
Why traditional homeowner insurance might fall short
Homeowners or renters insurance is a great way to protect the cash value of items in your home, as they will cover damage from hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, wind, fire, and theft. Unfortunately, these policies won’t always cover the appraised value of your collectibles, which can be significantly higher than their cash value. Additionally, a standard policy can have limits on coverage per item, anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
Collectibles insurance, on the other hand, differs in a few ways: It can cover the full appraised value for a wider array of disasters (like accidental breakage, flooding, and damage through the mail); it has zero-dollar deductibles; and it can be portable, allowing you to make claims outside your home in certain scenarios, like if your collectibles are damaged while traveling to an exhibition or trade show. The trade-off with all this extra coverage is cost. Most collectibles can be insured for 1% to 2% of the piece’s value per year, according to Investopedia.
When to get collectible insurance
Although you won’t necessarily need an appraisal to apply for collectible insurance, you still might want to appraise your collectibles to know for sure that they’re actually valuable (this Lifehacker post can walk you through the process). If the amount of your collection exceeds the per-item cash value limits of your homeowners or renters policy, then you’ll want to consider collectible insurance.
After that, your next step is to speak with your homeowners insurance carrier and see what they can offer. Make sure they understand the nature of your collection, its estimated value, and ask if your current policy will cover theft or damage for the full appraised value. You’ll also want to confirm what type of damage is covered, and whether flooding or accidental breakage is included.
At this point, you can shop around, too. If you know other collectors, ask them for recommendations or search for insurance providers online, many of which specialize in this type of coverage. Lastly, like all insurance policies, carefully review all the terms and small print before signing.