Sunday, May 15, 2011

Need Insurance?

Firearms collections should be insured.  Homeowners' policies likely don't and won't cover more than a certain amount.  Aside from protecting your firearms from theft with a safe or vault, you should protect your financial investment by way of insurance, just as you do with your house, car or you would with jewelery.  Below I've republished the VCDL article on insurance.


         Do you know how much your firearms are worth?  Do you know how much your insurance covers in the event of a fire or theft?  We found out the hard way when my son’s house was broken into.  The thief stole a small safe which was temporarily not bolted down due to some painting going on.  This safe held 3 handguns.  The insurance covered up to $5,000.00, which sadly did not cover the cost of replacing these guns.  That led me to my search for affordable insurance without having to provide the insurance company with an itemized list of all of my guns.

         What I found was that there are companies out there that specialize in insuring collections.  Some specifically insure gun collections.  The company that I settled on does not require that you provide them with an inventory of your guns, nor do they call for an appraisal.  It is important to note that the exception is when a single item is valued at over $5,000.00.  In that case, that one item must be listed on the policy.  In addition, this policy covers ammunition and accessories (think reloaders, holsters, scopes, safes, etc.).

         So how does this work?  You would need to make a list of all your guns that you wish to insure.  You keep the list.  I have a form in my computer that I fill out each time I purchase a new gun (or sell one for that matter).  The form lists a description of the firearm, the serial number, any distinguishing marks, the date of purchase and purchase price, the current value and date of valuation, any included accessories, etc.  It also has a place for the date sold and to whom.  When I buy a new gun I fill this form out and include pictures of the gun making sure to photograph the serial number and any special features.  You can also incorporate a scanned copy or a photograph of any receipts.  This goes into a file that is backed up off site.  Let me say that again…the file is backed up off site!  That way if there is a fire and my computer burns up with my collection I have a surviving record to give the insurance company.

         After you make your list you must do a little research to value your collection.  This can be done online pretty easily.  Once you assess the value, simply fill out the application and submit it.  The company I chose has an online application process complete with online payment options.  It is important to note that filling out the application does not bind the policy.  You will have to receive confirmation from the carrier before your coverage takes effect.  Also, as you add to your collection you must be careful that you notify the insurer if your new value exceeds your coverage limits.

         I have included a link to three different insurance companies, but I encourage you to go online and do your own research.  There are several companies out there that insure collections and you may find that another firm better suits your needs.  Here are some sample rates for Collectables Insurance:

                     Stated Value               No Safeguards                   With Safeguards

                     10,000                         $56.00/year                 $56.00/year

                     25,000                         140.00/year                 140.00/year

                     75,000                         420.00/year                 380.00/year

         These are just a few figures off of a rate chart that goes from $3,000.00 to $200,000.00 in value.  As you can see, these rates are pretty affordable.  From what I have researched, these prices are much more reasonable than adding a rider to one’s home-owners policy.  Requirements about the safeguards can be found on the web site listed below and individual quotes will likely vary depending on circumstances.  Here are the links:

Collector’s Insurance
11350 McCormick Road
EP #1 Suite 700
Hunt Valley, MD  21031
(888) 837-9537 toll free
(410) 876-9233 fax

Another alternative is ArmsCare Plus, an NRA endorsed company.  They require scheduling any one item valued at over $2,500.00, but do not require serial numbers.  There contact info is:

Individual NRA Members Insurance
1-877-NRA-3006 (Option #3)

Club Affiliates & Business Affiliates

NRA Endorsed Insurance Program
Property & Casualty Plans
PO Box 410679
Kansas City, MO 64141-0679

               The third company is Core-Vens Insurance.  Their rates begin at $300.00/year, but they specialize in larger collections and also insure big game trophies and so forth.  They tell me that if your collection is over $60,000.00 in value that they are usually very competitive.  They can be reached as follows:

Core-Vens Insurance
Post Office Box 1028
2301 N. 2nd Street,
Clinton, Iowa  52733-1028

800-796-9907 phone
5633-242-5242 fax


         Again, I urge you to do your own research.  Whatever company you consider, ask them to provide you with a sample policy to look over.  Also review your homeowner’s policy, life insurance policy and auto policy.  It would be a shame to have a claim denied because your policy doesn’t cover you in a self defense situation!  This is a time when you most need your insurance. The important thing to keep in mind here is that you need to read and understand your policy.  If you don’t understand it, ask your agent for clarification.  In addition, when you renew you need to read and compare the renewal to the old policy.  Insurance agencies can change terms, covered items and exclusions.  When done during a policy period they must send you notice, but when done at renewal it is a whole new contract and they can easily slip things past you if you are not alert. I hope you never need to file a claim, but if you do I hope you have found this information helpful.

No comments: