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Collectibles Insurance

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Insuring Your Collectible Cars

Is your antique car properly insured? If you are a relatively new collector, you should be aware that this type of vehicle often requires specialized coverage, which we can help you obtain.

Remember that collectible cars, defined as those built 30 or more years ago, have unique insurance needs compared to traditional automobiles. As you know, regular-use vehicles are on the road every day, but antique or classic cars are typically used for limited pleasure driving, auto shows, and parades. In addition, while normal vehicles depreciate in value, antique or collectible vehicles often significantly increase in value over time.

The following are some issues to consider when procuring coverage for collectible cars.

Vehicle Condition—Many specialty insurance companies may want to insure only classic cars that are in mint condition; if your collectible has prior damage or shows extensive wear and tear, it may be difficult to purchase coverage. But most specialty insurers are willing to provide coverage (with increasing values) if you are actively renovating the vehicle.

Vehicle Usage—Most specialty insurance companies stipulate maximum mileage limits per year, such as 3,000 or 5,000 miles. Thus, it is important to verify the limits and keep track of the mileage on the vehicle.

Vehicle Valuation—Agreed-value policies are better than stated-value policies. Agreed-value policies guarantee that, in the event of a total loss, the insurance company will pay you the full amount listed on the policy, less any applicable deductible. Stated-value policies, while rare, are often open to interpretation concerning the vehicle's value. You should also consider inflation guard coverage (automatically providing increasing limits every quarter or year) for your vehicle.

Vehicle Storage—Antique and collectible insurance companies normally require that these vehicles be stored in a fully enclosed, locked garage or storage facility when not in use. Failure to abide by this requirement could jeopardize coverage.

Finally, please call us concerning your collectible; we can assist in the arrangement of the best insurance at the best value for your car collection.

We write collectible cars under Chubb, American Collectors, Hagerty, JC Taylor, Grundy, Safeco, and American Modern.

Copyright © 2008 International Risk Management Institute, Inc. 


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Make Certain Your Antiques are Properly Insured

Many Americans own valuable antiques, which are often inadequately insured under a standard homeowners policy. Homeowners policies may contain restrictive limits and coverage for these valuable items, and the valuation may only be provided on an actual cash value basis. Even if the personal property replacement cost endorsement is added to a homeowners policy, the endorsement explicitly lists any antiques, fine arts, paintings, and memorabilia as ineligible properties. Coverage is also restricted to a limited number of perils. For example, the homeowners policy does not provide any personal property coverage for breakage or accidental scratching. If you possess extensive and valuable antiques or fine arts, consider the following risk management tips.

  • Properly inventory and document your antiques and other collectibles. Videotaping should also be utilized; be sure to videotape the item from every angle.
  • Arrange an appointment with your insurance agent to review your antique and fine arts coverage. Bring as much information about your portfolio as possible, including photos and any appraisals.
  • Consider utilizing the services of an experienced appraiser who specializes in antiques. Some antique and fine art dealers perform free general value assessments online for lesser value pieces if acceptable photos and descriptions are provided. For extremely valuable items, most appraisers want to personally inspect the piece, which normally involves a fee. All appraisals should be prepared in accordance with the codes and requirements of the American Society of Appraisers and the American Appraisers Association. High-quality appraisals normally include a description and comment on the antique, an auction value of the item, and replacement value.
  • For valuation assistance on less valuable or more common items, consider visiting eBay and other Internet auction sites to help establish various items' market value. An examination of the item's closing price, not its initial asking price, is more representative of its true value.
  • Ask your agent about procuring a personal inland marine policy or endorsement that can be added to your homeowners policy. This policy/endorsement allows you to schedule your items on an exclusion, which may be eliminated for an extra premium.
  • Take steps to safeguard your collection, with adequate security precautions and appropriate storage.

Copyright © 2008 International Risk Management Institute, Inc. 


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Protect Your Valuables

Most consumers protect what they own with homeowners or renters insurance. Homeowners insurance covers personal property for a percentage of the insured value of the home. For instance, a $300,000 home might have its possessions insured for 50 percent of that amount. While $150,000 might seem like a large number, the value of clothing, electronics, furniture and kitchen appliances in the home adds up. Homeowners coverage will reimburse a consumer if those items are damaged by fire or stolen.

Around the holidays, the value of what you own can change quickly. Rest assured that, when someone in the family gets new electronic equipment or jewelry for Christmas, those items are automatically insured by homeowners or renters coverage. But that coverage might be limited, so it's timely to check your insurance now. There are two limitations on coverage for possessions:  (1) amount of coverage and (2) risks covered.

Amount of Coverage.  Homeowners insurance may cover personal property for actual cash value and not replacement cost, depending on the policy. For example, a piano purchased five years ago has declined in value due to wear and age -- this is known as "depreciation." Your insurance contract may reimburse the actual cash value (original cost, minus depreciation) of the piano, and not for the price of a new piano to replace the one that was damaged in a fire. By contrast, replacement-cost coverage is based on the amount it costs to buy a new piano. Replacement-cost coverage costs about 10 percent more, notes the Insurance Information Institute.

Additionally, many homeowners policies put a dollar-amount cap on certain categories of property. So even if you have a large amount of personal property coverage on your homeowners policy, you might have a "sub-limit" of $2,000 for jewelry. In that case, a new pair of diamond earrings, combined with an engagement ring, might push the value of the jewelry above the limit. (Even replacement-cost policies have sub-limits for certain types of property such as furs and jewelry.)

Deductibles on homeowners policies reduce the amount of any claim check. Deductibles are a way that the homeowner shares the risk loss with the insurance company.

Risks Covered.  Homeowners policies provide coverage for, at a minimum, loss or damage of property due to fire, lightning, and windstorm as well as theft and vandalism. Depending on the policy, additional risks such as water damage may be covered. However, for personal property, some typical risks might not be covered. For example, if a toddler picks up a diamond ring off the bathroom counter and flushes it down the toilet, that loss likely is not insured.

To provide additional amounts of coverage and to insure against additional risks (including breakage and accidental damage), many consumers should consider "valuables" coverage. Sold as an add-on to a homeowners or renters policy, this coverage is sometimes called a "valuable articles floater" or a "valuables rider."

Valuables coverage is suitable for expensive items such as jewelry, furs, art, antiques, fine furniture, and fine rugs. Valuables coverage either gives you:  (a) a "schedule" or list of individually-listed items covered, or (b) coverage for categories such as jewelry, fine arts, etc. Scheduled items typically need to be appraised by a third-party appraiser, or have their purchase price documented.

One consideration in buying valuables insurance is whether you need to protect the financial value of the items, and not merely the sentimental value. Another criterion: if the item is likely to appreciate in value, check out valuables coverage. A valuables policy or rider typically provides all-risks coverage for the items listed on it.

If you're a collector of items such as collections of dolls, trains, or NASCAR© memorabilia, a different type of policy might be appropriate: Collectibles insurance. Available on a stand-alone basis, collectibles coverage provides a few thousand dollars of coverage for a small premium. Homeowners or renters coverage might pay only a small reimbursement if these items are stolen or damaged. Collectibles coverage also protects against more risks than homeowners coverage.

Insurance is the last line of defense against financial loss, though. There are two vital ways to protect your property, especially as you add to it during the holidays:

-- Keep an updated inventory of what you own.  A written record of the cost, date/place of purchase, and description of your possessions is invaluable in knowing what you own. It's easier and faster to get claim payments when you can document what you lost. Homeowners insurers and consumer software offer home inventory spreadsheets, including some that allow you to keep photos and receipts. Give a copy of the inventory to your Trusted Choice® insurance agent or broker, and keep a copy outside your home.

-- Protect your property.  A secure home, with especially valuable items kept in locked cabinets and/or fireproof boxes, is the best way to deter the thefts that cause so much financial loss.

Your Trusted Choice® insurance agent or broker can guide you as to which type of coverage you need for what you own.

We write your collectibles under American Collectors, MiniCo, homeowner's policies, and more.


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Going to Canada?

Ask us for a Canadian ID card. "A U.S. traveler in Canada is required to carry a motor vehicle liability card, plus vehicle ownership papers. A copy of the automobile policy is recommended to be carried. And a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card is strongly recommended. U.S. travelers who do not carry a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card and are stopped by Canadian police or are in an accident while driving in Canada risk being fined or having their vehicle impounded until proof of proper coverage is obtained."