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tline3open  Insurance - what? when? how?

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Author Topic:   Insurance - what? when? how?
Scott Martin
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Posts: 11520
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 11:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Insurance - what? when? how?

Do members have their collections insured?

Do you insure all or part of your collection?

In my experience, paying for insurance is easy but collecting can be very difficult. Can you share any personal insights about how to make sure one gets a full & prompt insurance payment?

Collections are almost always being improved with items being sold off and new items being added. How to best manage the associated insurance issues?

What other insurance questions/suggestions might we pose to each other? For example: item is stolen. Insurance payment is collected. Many months/years later the item is recovered. Who technically get the item; you or the insurance company? What/who does it benefit if while the item was missing it went up/down significantly in value? Etc. etc.

(See also the question about ATPI -- Provenance -- Theft)

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Clive E Taylor

Posts: 450
Registered: Jul 2000

iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Clive E Taylor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can only comment from English law and practise but suspect US is similar.

You should always insure your complete collection, or you must specify each and every item to be covered. Otherwise the insurance company will apply what is termed averaging.If your entire collection is worth 10,000 dollars and you insure for 5,000, then you get 5000 dollars if all is stolen, and 2500 if half is stolen.You are assumed to have been covering the other 50% yourself.
If you have a claim, and are paid out for it, then the items belong to the insurers. Often they will offer to sell it back to you! If "averaging" has been applied to your payment , then you are entitled to the proportion of value that was not paid for by the insurers.
The art is to have a good agent, who fights on your side. But he must be helped. We keep as many receipts as we get (but the best deals are often for cash !) and an up to date base which we send to the insurers each year. They never read or load it onto their computers but in the event of loss you can prove you informed them. Valuation is difficult. I have a large collection of Georgian Silver buckles and a few years ago they asked me for a professional valuation. This would have been expensive and virtually useless as I am probably the only person capable of doing it ( I am also modest as well). I asked if they would accept a valuation by one of the top three London auction houses. I then contacted one (who I know fairly well) and suggested I do the valution, they checked it, and sent out in their name.For a much reduced fee of course. The auction house said no, but wrote theinsurers a letter to say, broadly, " Mr Taylor has we believe the largest active collection in the UK, and in our opinion is in a better position to value it than ourselves. We have no reason to doubt his integrety in a matter of this type" Insurers have not asked again. Sometimes you do get something for your buyers premuim.

Which brings me back to the fact that all insurance contracts in UK at least have to be of the utmost good faith. You must, by law , give all the fact that the insurers need to know, even if they do not ask, or even realise they need to know. If you deal with a smaller organisation you can get a good rapport, if you deal with the larger ones - they do not understand or care.
The best insurance is howver a very large dog!

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Posts: 602
Registered: Apr 2004

iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for argentum1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My agent says the item becomes the property of the insurer. He also said that the possiblity exists for reimbusing the company for the return of the property but it is an indivual matter.

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Ulysses Dietz

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a museum we have a blanket policy for a gazillion dollars that certainly would cover any piece of silver...but PERSONALLY I have my silver insured under a Chubb "valuable items/art" policy. You can insure silver under a general household policy, but if it is particularly valuable or rare (or even just rare and not valuable) it is better to insure it separately. Insuring silver is a lot cheaper than insuring jewelry these days. However, if, like me, you tend to snap up little odds and ends for fairly modest amounts, your policy may well be out of date and your new purchases are not adequately covered. For a valuable items policy, each object must be listed separately, and you must have a professional appraisal done. That way you can claim exactly what is lost. Reminds me that I've not had my appraisal updated in a while...Claims on damage to silver I'm not sure about, because I've never had to make a claim.

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Posts: 204
Registered: Oct 2004

iconnumber posted 11-30-2006 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kayvee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There have been some excellent points made about getting valuations for your silver and keeping them up-to-date. In addition, when shopping for insurance I would advise that you question potential providers about just what happens in case of a claim. Where I live, insurance companies don’t simply cut you a cheque if you’ve had a theft or loss, but prefer to pay for purchase of like objects up to the total value of your coverage. This can be the subject of long and complicated negotiations. These are the kinds of questions I’d ask. What will the insurer accept as a replacement and who decides what is acceptable? For example, if a Georg Jensen Acorn pattern flatware service with early marks is stolen, what will the insurer agree to replace it with - a modern Acorn pattern service or an early one? Who decides where to purchase the replacement? Is there a time limit to finding a replacement? What if your silver is more arcane than this and is quite literally irreplaceable? Will your insurer give you the cash instead of insisting on a replacement item? The difficulty in negotiating claims is another reason why so many collections live permanently in a vault.

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Posts: 40
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 12-02-2006 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for artlibrarian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Kayvee brings up some interesting points. Insurance companies are governed by state law in the US. The applicable definitions of value depend on the state where you are located (for example, "actual cash value", an insurance industry term, is equivalent to "fair market value" in California but not in all states). If your collection is scheduled, you are typically entitled to insurance replacement value (a retail value, not a fair market value anyway) but it does depend on the terms of your individual policy. Usually the scheduled items are to be replaced in as timely a manner as possible and in "like, kind and quality ", which means that if you have Jensen Acorn pattern flatware with early marks, and early marks are more valuable than late marks, then replacement pieces with late marks are not appropriate, as they result in a loss to you. Of course you need documentation that your pieces have the early marks, and they need to be scheduled in the first place for you to be entitled to "replacement value comparable". Scheduled appreciable residential contents like antiques, art and silver are not typically handled in the same manner as ordinary household contents (like furniture and electronics), which depreciate and can be replaced with either "brand new" or "used" comparable items (or the cash equivalents of either one of these) depending on the terms of the policy.

[This message has been edited by artlibrarian (edited 12-03-2006).]

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