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Input on insuring a mineral collection

Posted by John Stolz  
John Stolz July 19, 2012 01:10AM
I just picked myself off the floor after getting a couple of quotes for insuring my mineral collection. It seems that the insurer wants something around 1% to 1.5% of the declared value every year!

So 1st question is, is that in line with your experience?

Second, how do you deal with the valuation issue? Do you go by what you paid or by what it's worth (i.e., get an appraisal)? Do you "self-insure" to keep costs down (i.e., undervalue the collection?) How often do you update the policy?

I'd be curious to hear what dealers have to say about this.

Thanks, John
Alfredo Petrov July 19, 2012 01:24AM
John, You might be better off investing in a big safe and upgraded burglar alarm and alarm monitoring. Over the course of 5 or 10 years that will be cheaper than insurance. Your homeowner's insurance probably would cover part of the collection value already anyway.

You live in earthquake country, and that probably raises the cost of your premiums. So take the appropriate precautions, or move to North Dakota. Rubber cabinet restraints and cotton-filled boxes won't be enough in a really really big quake, but then you'll have bigger worries than your collection anyway :-(

And can any amount of cash replace the sentimental value of your rocks?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2012 01:29AM by Alfredo Petrov.
John Stolz July 19, 2012 02:54AM
Alfredo--the quote IS part of my homeowner's insurance--a rider for the minerals.

I want to display my specimens not hide them, so the safe won't work...

Jolyon & Katya Ralph July 19, 2012 09:35AM
> wants something around 1% to 1.5% of the declared value every year!

From what I've seen that seems quite a good deal.

Regardless of how you value it, because items are unique, you need to keep good records to be able to prove a value if you need to make a claim.
Rock Currier July 19, 2012 10:19AM
The percentage you quote seems about what I have encountered in the past and does not seem expensive. I would put the money instead into security. Make a nice strong room with steel doors and an alarm and a big strong safe for the valuable things. Good safes like good binocular microscopes retain much of their value over the years and they will give you good piece of mind. Also cataloger and photograph your specimens so you have a good record of what it is you have. Glue a label on each specimen. Minerals are a lot harder to fence than stamps or coins or gold jewelry. Leave some of those laying about so that if someone breaks in they can get those rather than your minerals. A lot depends on the value of your collection. Worth more than your car? More than your house? If someone wants to break in they will. About all you can do is to slow them down. With an alarm hammering and the police on the way and your neighbors alerted, I guarantee that any thieves will not be hanging around very long. A good security system will also give you a lot of piece of mind when you are away from home.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph July 19, 2012 10:22AM
Well, the percentage may or not be high depending on the value of the collection. I certainly couldn't afford to build a strong room for my collection for 1% of the value :)


ps. Or even for 100% of the value!
Rock Currier July 19, 2012 10:38AM
If you collection is worth say a million dollars, one percent of that is $10,000. How many years of 1% insurance premiums would you need to build a strong room or to buy a big safe and a good alarm system? A good safe, good alarm and a strong room will also add to the value of your house and may reduce your insurance premiums. Compared to what you could loose, is vastly more than these costs, and it would also not be like you were throwing it all away. Undoubtedly when you sell you house you would probably get back half of your investment. If you rent, you could take the safe with you and if and when it needed to be sold you could get a decent percentage of your money back as well, or perhaps all your money or more if you were lucky and bought a good second hand safe. These things don't wear out you know and if it is a big one it is unlikely that anyone is going to break in and haul it off.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
John Stolz July 19, 2012 02:33PM
The strong room thing is not an option for me--I want to be able to look at them. And I have a spacious condo, but not THAT spacious! Plus, I've done my share of moving, and I may not be done yet...

The value is high enough to fret over, but certainly modest based on specimens I've seen in private collections. We're not talking a million--but take off a zero, and you're there. This isn't something I'm relying on at retirement, but who wants to take a loss like that? The money would be poor consolation--but that kind of money would be nice to have after getting wiped out!

Also, this isn't all about theft--fire and earthquake are issues. My cabinets are strapped, but I don't have sprinklers. All minerals are on bases. All minerals are tagged, photographed, and catalogued.

So what about partial insurance--Do you guys--Rock, Jolyon, and Alfredo--carry full insurance? LOL, should we even be talking about this in open forum?

Regards, John
David Von Bargen July 19, 2012 04:21PM
Probably the only specimens that you have to worry about a burglar taking would be golds. They really don't have the knowledge as to what is really valuable or would want to spend the time properly wrapping things, or know where to sell them.
Bob Harman July 19, 2012 04:31PM
JOHN If you do get a homeowner rider policy for your collection make absolutely sure you and the company (representative) agree on exactly what is covered. And all the particulars. I had a large stamp collection and dealt with a friend and major company. Prior to my buying that insurance, we had a long talk on exactly what the coverage meant. Then I sold that (1997) and started minerals (Indiana geodes) in earnest. We talked at length again. Is natural degradation, decay or breakage covered? Is accidental breakage by either you (the owner) or visitors covered? With minerals your least worry might just be a home break in with stolen or damaged stuff. The collection could also be insured separately as part of flood or earthquake insurance and the rate just might be different from homeowners rider clauses. How are bought "repaired" specimens treated if the repairs fail? In the insurance game with things like minerals and fossils there are a lot of "what ifs" and gray areas in the insurance world and you don't need to be paying a lot of money and not getting true and proper coverage!

Another thing, with my company, they wanted an inventory which can take quite a bit of time to prepare. This included condition and some proof of values of the better specimens. For very hi end or delicate specimens they might even ask for an appraisal affidavit. CHEERS.......BOB

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2012 04:36PM by BOB HARMAN.
John Stolz July 19, 2012 04:45PM
Excellent points Bob! And interesting idea about insuring under EQ/flood ilo GL...
Rock Currier July 19, 2012 07:47PM
I would advise you to put your money into a good alarm system that would bring a police response.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Robert W. E. Neilson August 22, 2012 08:04AM
If you are going to the expense of insuring make sure it covers fire...unforunately a good alarm or even a safe may not protect your collection from that.
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