3 steps to determine if your collectibles need insurance

Perhaps you’ve seen the television program, Antiques Roadshow, where an attendee brings in a few family heirlooms, only to discover that the collection they’ve stored in their hallway closet for 20 years is a national treasure.

Chances are you won’t hit the jackpot. Still, it’s important to know whether those fur coats you inherited from your grandmother have any worth, or if the coins you’ve acquired over the years should have a value placed on them for insurance purposes.

Take these three steps to help determine if you need additional coverage:
  1. Get an appraisal
    Just like on the show, the first step to determine whether you need additional coverage is to know how much your collection is worth. After you get an appraisal, it’s really up to you to decide whether your collection warrants additional coverage. There is no minimum coverage in most cases, and limits can be as much as $100,000. It’s important to note, however, that insurance cannot cover an item’s sentimental value. 
  2. Contact your agent
    When you decide you’d like to insure your collection, provide your agent with a description of each article, the date of purchase (if applicable), and the current value. Assuming your items can be covered by your insurance company, your agent can add their value as an endorsement to your existing policy.
  3. Determine if you need blanket coverage. Furs, jewelry, and fine art often have blanket coverage. This means that your entire collection is covered even if you add to it or sell an item, as long as the total value remains within the blanket limit. The advantage of blanket coverage is that you don’t need to call your agent every time you add or remove an item from your collection.

    Not everything qualifies for blanket coverage, however, and may require that you list each item separately and disclose any changes. This may include coins, stamps, guns, silverware, musical instruments, or any number of items. When in doubt, check with your agent.
Adding coverage to your homeowners policy for most collectibles is easy, and the cost is usually nominal. Not all collections are the same, nor are all insurance policies. If you have very unique or one-of-a-kind pieces that are irreplaceable, you may require specialized insurance. Your independent agent can help you determine the best coverage.