by Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley
Why should you worry about insuring sports memorabilia you own? Because the biggest threat to your collection of baseball cards, signed footballs or basketballs and game jerseys is not that your wife or significant other will clean out the home office and throw them away. You also have to worry about fire, theft and even water or other damage to your items.
Even if you have homeowners insurance, you may not have the coverage for your collection that you think you do. Standard policies typically include contents coverage, which protects things you own against loss due to fire, wind and other specified events. However, collectibles and memorabilia generally have only limited coverage.
- Buy a personal articles floater – a separate policy, usually from a specialty insurer.
- Schedule an endorsement to provide extra coverage for your collection under your existing home insurance policy.
Which is the best option for you? That's something you should talk over with your agent, who can tell you what your policy will do and give you an idea of what additional protection your current carrier can provide. Then you can shop coverage with a specialty provider and compare prices, coverage and limits.
Many experts recommend buying the separate policy, noting that lots of these won't have deductibles and will give you more flexibility as items in your collection fluctuate in value. Many times premiums can be lowered according to security measures you put in place for your memorabilia. In addition to sports memorabilia, specialty insurers offer protection for coins, jewelry, wine and comic books, among many other categories of collectibles. So, they’ve got experience taking care of collectors just like you.
On the other hand, some collectors choose to schedule an endorsement on their existing homeowners policy which simply extends coverage for their collection. For example, let’s say your current home insurance policy offers up to $300 for replacement of your collection in the event of water damage, however, your collection is valued closer to $3,000. Scheduling an endorsement on the policy can extend your coverage up to the $3,000- and usually for only a small premium. Sticking with your current provider also offers the security of dealing with a company you're familiar with – there will be a lower chance of surprises along the way.
Regardless of which method you choose, there are some steps you should take in conjunction with obtaining coverage:
- Get a fix on your collection's value. Before you buy any type of insurance, ask a professional appraiser for an opinion on how much your memorabilia is worth. Your carrier likely will require this anyway in order to set a value for your policy or endorsement.
- Maintain an updated inventory of your memorabilia. Keep a detailed accounting of your items, with photos and any receipts or certificates of authenticity you might have. Update the list every time you add to your collection. This will be invaluable if you have to document a loss. One thing to remember: Keep both hard copies and electronic copies of your inventory, and store at least one of each off site. After all, the inventory won't do you any good if it's destroyed in the same event that destroys your collection.
- Reconsider your coverage at scheduled intervals. The value of your memorabilia can rise and fall quickly. Make sure you've always got adequate coverage, because you never know when a problem will arise.
- Take protective measures. Keep your collection where children won't be tempted to play with it. Put jerseys in jersey cases, and take similar measures for the rest of your memorabilia. Don't broadcast that you have items of extremely high value – you don't want to give burglars any ideas. At minimum, install deadbolt locks to all entryways to your home. You might also want to invest in a monitored security system.
There you have it. If you haven't thought about insuring sports memorabilia, you know you should. You'll have peace of mind knowing that something that's a treasure for you won't turn into a treasure for anyone else.
Carrie Van Brunt-Wiley is Editor of the Home Insurance.com blog. Carrie has been writing insurance news and consumer information since 2008. She graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington in 2005 with a B.A. in Professional Writing and Journalism.