This looks like a great opportunity for collectors to share information! I would be interested in learning about insurance for autograph collections. Features to look for, what’s the process, who provides, etc. I think the subject may have been covered in a past Manuscripts issue. Any references to these past issues, or other articles or publications would be greatly appreciated.
When I have asked my local friendly insurance agency about coverage for collectibles, the answer that I have consistently heard is that good coverage rests on the collector having an up-to-date inventory with values determined and documented by a qualified appraiser. So what they are saying is that you have to hire an appraiser, give the appraiser the purchase records (invoices) and the items, and then the appraiser writes a report to include descriptions and values of each item in the collection. The insurance folks use that document as the basis for the value of what they’re insuring.
My experience with insurance for my collection goes back many years. In the beginning I obtained coverage as part of my homeowners policy. A few years later I learned that some companies specialized in collectibles insurance at substantially lower rates and I switched. I have not had claims as yet. I feel that the greatest risk for me is from water leakage (I’ve had close calls).
There are several companies offering collectibles insurance. They can be found through Web search. Some offer ‘instant’ quotes which you can do without obligation. Most all do not require an appraisal or even a detailed listing except for particularly valuable items. ‘Instant’ rates appear to be in the 0.3 to 0.4% range ($3-$4 per $1,000 valuation). One insurance company said that rates varied based on a number of factors including location, security conditions (alarms, safes, etc.) and collection total value, and can vary from 0.1 to 0.5%. A million dollar collection at 0.2% would cost $2,000 annually, a $100,000 collection at 0.3% would cost $300.