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Issue #3 - The Need-to-Knows on Insurance and Collectibles

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

For anyone who is a collector, it's important to protect and preserve the value of items in your collections. Trading cards, comics, vinyl, sports or movie memorabilia are the hero of this equation and the villains are fire, flood, theft, grubby fingers, light exposure, the list goes on and on. To overcome these villains our heroes need a little help from a super power called insurance. And that is the topic of the day.

Meet Will Post, an insurance agent at Zinc Insurance by day, and an avid Pokemon enthusiast by night. Will has been an insurance agent for 16 years, and his experience has covered life, home, and auto insurance. Will found himself at the crossroads of his own hobby of Pokemon and his professional life in insurance. It's here his expertise in both made him a trusted adviser to his community and led Will to start his own speciality division of Zinc called Protect My Collection.

Protect My Collection, is an insurance broker that specializes in finding the carriers that understand your collection the best. Will anecdotally talked about how wine may seem very similar to bourbon but although there are several providers willing to write a policy to cover your wine collection, he had to search far and wide to find a carrier to cover bourbon.

Because Will understands the intersection of collectibles and insurance, he was a great resource in helping wündervault find an insurer to write a policy designed to cover our customers with true replacement cost for trading cards, video games, comics, vinyl and other collectibles. wündervault provides that coverage at a rate of $5000 per subscription.

I sat down with Will earlier this week, and we went in depth on some common questions for collectors. Below is a summary of our conversation and Will's answers.

Q: Why do I need to insure my collectibles? I already have homeowners insurance, can't I just add them to our existing home policies?

A: It's a great question. Typical homeowners policy language is structured in a way that is not appropriate for high value collectibles. There are a few things that you can insure on a homeowners policy. Things like jewelry, silverware, furs, firearms, things like that. I don't know who is collecting furs anymore, and I bring it up 'cause it makes me laugh. It's a really great indicator of how antiquated the insurance industry is as a whole, that you can still schedule furs on an insurance policy, but you can't schedule something like a comic book, trading cards, video games or any of these new items that people like to collect and put value on. The insurance industry is really far behind, and with replacement cost language, it does allow them to basically not do the job if you lose a high-value comic at home.

With traditional business insurance or personal insurance, they're going to look at replacement cost as replacing an item with something that is of 'like kind and quality.' An Action Comics #1 for example, is a comic book, and that comic book could be replaced by another comic book off the shelf and satisfy the policy language of 'like kind and quality.' They're not saying Action Comics #1, they're just saying, 'Hey, your comic shop has Superman comics on the shelf. Here, go get one. We'll spot you 4 bucks.' Collectable insurance policies have Market Value Coverage language in them. Every carrier that we use has that language, and it says that the carrier will insure you and reimburse you at market value.

Q:What if I call my homeowners insurance. Can I ask them for a collectible policy?

A: Sometimes if you call your personal insurer, they may, whether they know better or not, just try to do it. A lot of them just simply will not know because they don't have enough experience to know that it is not going to work. So, calling a State Farm or a Nationwide or Allstate or any of those carriers is going to get mixed results. Some of them will just say, 'Hey, we can't do it, it's not going to work.' Some of them will try to find a way to do it. Maybe they will be able to talk to an underwriter, and schedule a certain amount of coverage, but unfortunately the worst part about that is that you're really not going to know if it was done right until something goes wrong -- until you have a fire or until something is lost in the mail and suddenly you call and they're like, “No, that's not covered.” Not covered the way you expected it to, and then you're just you're up the creek. And finding out at the time of a claim is a really bad time to find that out, you just don't want to find out that it's not covered. And then what?

Q: I don't own a home, but rent, can I add my collection to a renters policy?

A: With renters' insurance coverage, you are relying on that personal property amount to carry your collectibles if something were to happen, and there are two problems with that. First, like we talked about already, the replacement cost language on that is just not the right kind of policy language for collectables. Second, if I'm renters, there's often not enough coverage in a renters insurance policy to take care of anything. A lot of insurance agents will write renters insurance coverage for $25,000 worth of coverage for contents. And if you think about it, about fully replacing everything in an apartment, all the furniture, all the electronics that you own, every piece of clothing, having to go to target or wherever you get your clothes, $25,000 sounds like a lot at first, but that gets tapped out really quick. And then if you're trying to add a high value collection on top of that and saying, hey, I've got $10,000 worth of, Magic the Gathering cards in here on top of my computer and my TV and my clothes and stuff like that, the $25,000 would get tapped out even faster. So there's just already not enough coverage in there even if they were going to replace it correctly.

So there you have it. Straight from the Pokemon Collector / Insurance broker's mouth. If you are a serious collector, I hope this article helped to shed some light on why you need to insure or protect your collection. For safe, simple storage with wündervault, check out our pricing plans. To get a quote for your home collection of comics, vinyl, sports or movie memorabilia, wine or even bourbon, contact Will Post at Protect My Collection.


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