Collectibles fall under a unique category as household possessions. They are not necessarily antiques, and in some cases, value is a perception versus reality. There is also the question as to when possessions become a collection. Do you have to own three, four, five, or many more before the hoard is afforded status? There are many unknowns in this curious world, but one thing is for certain – your collectibles are important to you. As such, you want to revisit your homeowners insurance to ensure that they are covered as best as available policies allow. While their damage, destruction, or loss from flooding, fire, and theft is unthinkable, the risk is an absolute reality. Below is a breakdown of what you need to do.
5 Tips to Ensuring Maximum Insurance Coverage for Your Household’s Collectibles
I. Take an Inventory Right Now
Take an inventory today. You may have done so months ago, but collections grow. Your written inventory should be accompanied by photographs and/or video for proof of ownership and condition. Photographs and video should capture all significant details, including dimensions, signatures, and any distinguishing features about an item. With certain items such as comics, graphic novels, and toys, a small publisher/manufacturer variation can have a massive impact on value, so don’t skip a thing. Remember to update this inventory in “real time” as your collection grows.
II. Get Appraisals When Available
Once your inventory is complete, take it to an appraiser to assess the value of your items. They will provide you with a written and digital copy of the appraisal. Keep written copies of this documentation in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box, and backup digital copies on your computer and to the cloud.
III. No Appraisals? Let the Market Dictate Value
There are not appraisers for every type of item. This is especially true for pop-culture collectibles that those who are not in-the-know would never deem worth insuring. Need an example? If your son/daughter collects Squishmallows, they could have a collection so valuable that it could pay for their first semester at college. The issue, is that trending pop-culture items such as these do not yet have established values on the traditional antiques and collectibles market. Most appraisers won’t touch them. However, you know that they are worth far more than what you (or your household’s collector) have paid for them. What can you do to help append value? Document their current value on the digital marketplace.
As soon as your inventory is complete, take screenshots of listings of exact-match items on eBay, Mercari, and any other online marketplace where the items are being bought, traded, and sold. There are also dedicated fandom websites for all sorts of collectibles. These online resources have quickly become authorities in setting the value of items. Be sure to bookmark listings of those that you own. Anything that you can do to create a digital footprint of the value at the time of inventory can go a long way to ensuring that insurance covers the current value of your collectibles. It’s not an exact science, but it’s better than depending upon receipts that don’t speak to the post-purchase increase in value.
IV. Provide Adequate Protection in Storage or Display
You should be able to prove that you have taken every reasonable measure to protect your displayed and/or stored collectibles. If you’ve left your LP vinyl collection on the ground next to your home’s broken-down hot water heater you may have little recourse in claims court. Whether on display or in storage, keep collectibles in an item-appropriate display case, above ground, and in a climate-controlled environment (etc.). That way, if needed, you can show and prove that you’ve done all that you can to protect them from the elements. As per guideline #1 above, take follow-up photos/videos to exhibit that your collectibles are displayed/stored in a sufficient manner.
V. Have an Independent Insurance Broker Review Your Existing Policy and Make Recommendations
Once you have completed all of the above, you may now get in touch with an independent broker to receive a comprehensive review of your homeowners insurance policy. As a collector you are proud to show off and talk about your collection. A broker will be happy to hear about it because they are here to ensure that you have adequate coverage for what’s important to you. If you are in BC, contact Park Insurance today to find out if there is a way to better cover your household’s cherished collections.