Your Collection Deserves to Be Protected


A vintage New Yorker cartoon pictures a character surrounded by his collections. The caption reads: “Possessions are part of the self.”

If you’re a collector of something – and many of us are – you’ll relate to the cartoon character. Whether it’s a prized art collection, Beatles memorabilia, or antique teapots, it means something to you, and it should be protected.

Many collectors underestimate the value of their collections, and while no one wants to consider the impact of a break-in, flood, or fire on their valuables, they should. Do consider insuring your collection before you’re faced with a disaster. To any serious collector, the alternative is just unthinkable.

Homeowners insurance: The assumption many collectors make is that homeowners insurance covers these items. However, this policy is typically limited in coverage and has maximums that are probably insufficient to cover your collection. To ensure proper coverage, consider adding an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy, or purchasing a separate floater policy that offers the right amount of coverage. Of course, this means knowing what your collection is worth. Even if you know what you paid for an item, its value in today’s market may be quite different. And that means getting a current appraisal.

Appraisal tips: To have your collection appraised, follow these steps.

  • Make a list of items.
  • Gather as much information as you can, including purchase receipts, restoration records, and other relevant details.
  • Let the appraiser know the purpose of the appraisal.
  • Avoid using an appraiser who also buys and sells the types of items you want to be appraised. It may constitute a conflict of interest.
  • You do, however, want an experienced appraiser. Get references from dealers, museums, and organizations such as the International Society of Appraisers.
  • Get a detailed, itemized report. This will provide the documentation you need in the event you need to file a claim.