Tolkien Collector's Guide
Insurance Appraisal
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By Larrin

Insurance Appraisal

Oct 12, 2011 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
Oct 12, 2011
Posts: 1

Hello,

I am a brand new member, although I probably have been here in spirit for a long time. I've been collecting Tolkien books for as long as I can remember, and although no one piece is extremely rare, it would be difficult to replace everything if calamity struck. I currently have homeowners insurance to cover all of my household items, including books, but am considering adding a rider to cover amounts above and beyond what the insurance will pay. (Note: I live in the US - not sure if our insurance laws are different from the rest of the world)

How does one go about finding a knowledgeable appraiser? I think that my most valuable pieces are a group of those academic pamphlets that were a part of Tolkien's library. Of the six I have two have Tolkien's handwritten notes, and the other four are addressed to him in some fashion or another. I have the original detailed receipt from the seller (Ulysses Books, London) although I suspect they are no longer in business.

I also have a number of books that are in the US$50 range. Again, nothing is particularly valuable, but I've done quite a bit of shopping over the years. My insurance rep is of no help, and just tells me that they will pay "replacement value" for any lost items. She can't tell me however, just how they determine what replacement value is.



How do others handle this? Do you have any advice for me?

Thanks in advance...


Re: Insurance Appraisal

Oct 13, 2011 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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Every time I go to PBFA fair I get some flyer about a company who provide specialist book (collection) insurance --I don't have the information to hand, and have no idea how reputable they are, but clearly there are companies out there providing this kind of service. That aside, all you can do is insure to value. I mean, never mind if you could replace them (i.e. if they are one-off's) --what would they cost right now to acquire? And make sure you are insured over and above this. If your house burns down --what have you lost in monetary terms?

BH
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BH

You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: Insurance Appraisal

Oct 13, 2011 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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From California, USA
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From my personal perspective:

The insurance company will let you declare your "personal property" for any value you want. They typically cover a certain percentage of the value of your house by default in your homeowner's policy. (If you are a renter, renter's insurance is a good idea but another topic). If what you delcare is higher than the default, they will make you get a rider (additional insurance). They may ask you to get it appraised if it is very high value, but that is up to them.

If (fingers crossed never) you have a loss, they will not pay you until you can prove your loss. This is key - before you have a loss, you should either get an official appraisal, or you should self-document - photographs of what you own, receipts from purchase, etc. - everything needed to prove "replacement value". They WILL NOT take your word for a loss - if you can't prove that pile of ash (or broken window for theft) was a $1000 copy of The Hobbit, they will pay you $20 to go buy a new hardcover copy. That's replacement value, in their book.

Your self documentation needs to be stored offsite (in a safe deposit box, for example) for obvious reasons.

I have not had to file a claim yet, so this is just anecdotal from conversations I have had and my own conversation with my insurer. I do not know if digital pics would be accepted, given how easy they are to scrounge off the Internet they may not take it as evidence you actually owned the book(s) in question.

Just my opinions, again...

In any event, it is a good idea to have documented what you own, what you paid for it, etc.

Good question!
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- Jeremy


Re: Insurance Appraisal

Oct 13, 2011 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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From California, USA
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Posts: 1869

One other thought on the appraisal - it is less important to get an appraisal now, as they will pay you the value at the time of loss, not at the time the policy was taken out. They leave it to you to guess (or get an expert opinion) on the value of your collection and choose how much you insure it for. Then, at the time of loss, if the official appraisal (based on the documentation you have for the books you lost) comes in lower than your policy, they pay the lower value. If it comes in over your policy amount, they pay the policy amount and you are out of luck for the difference.

So basically, your best bet is to insure your collection for how much it will appraise for when you lose it.

Again, the insurer may well ask you to get an appraisal when you get the policy.
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- Jeremy


Insurance valuations

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum (edited)
Joined:
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Posts: 700

Have any of you had your collection valued for insurance purposes? How did you go about finding a valuer? If you're in the UK, could you tell me who you used?

Thanks

- wellinghall

EDIT: Topic Merged
Khamul


By laurel

Re: Insurance valuations

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum
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I havent had collection professionally valued as little point in my mind. I guess most of us will know the value of our books ie the cost to replace (not the amount purchased for) better than any valuer you could find as realistically they are very unlikely to be specialised enough.

In the event of a claim the onus is firmly on you to prove ownership and value. The first can be easily evidenced with photos and documentation. So long as you have these you could then price up up at any time even fer a loss. Or I have a running list of all my books and i update once /twice a year with current values or costs needed to replace.

Even if you had a professional valuation that does not mean an insurance company would automatically pay this figure. For example you might have valued a peoples of middle earth book at £600 to replace following the one sold a few years ago. In reality it would cost £300 max to replace now so this is the figure that would be paid.

Most insurers cover books within standard contents cover but you need to make sure you have enougth total cover and no specific item maximums.

Personally i have increased my basic contents cover to cover my books ,have a mass of photos on a USB stick stored along with list of items which i review once a year or maybe more often if i buy a signed Silmarillion!

Hope helps
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Re: Insurance Appraisal

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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From Scotland
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Posts: 1898

Note I merged this Wellinghall.

Hmm, I'm not sure. While I have no evidence either way (regarding books specifically) & don't want to test this suggestion --I don't see insurers asking for photographic evidence for anything else that is insured. High value electical items & gold/silver etc only require to be specifically named. They don't ask for receipts & photos before paying out.

BH
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BH

You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...


Re: Insurance Appraisal

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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Posts: 700

Thanks for that, Khamul.

- wellinghall
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By laurel

Re: Insurance Appraisal

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum
Joined:
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Well merged.
I am not saying they would ask for photos but would normally insist on evidence. If say books were water damaged then it I'd likely you would still have them so that would be the evidence . However imagine if they were stolen- they would almost certainly ask you to prove their existence and your ownership especially if worth a lot of money.
My recommendation remains log your collection and take a mass load of photos and most importantly make sure all your contents plus books are the total insured amount.
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Re: Insurance Appraisal

Feb 21, 2012 - in General Collecting Forum (edited)
Joined:
Aug 16, 2007
From Scotland
Group:
Shirefolk
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Posts: 1898

Seriously, I don't think (books aside) you always need evidence of items, if they are stolen. I've never heard of anyone having a mobile phone stolen, for example, and having to prove the original purchase; or if they even still owned it (say, two or three years after purchase) when a house was broken into, for example. Do you? When you get contents insurance (aside from individual high value items) have you ever been asked by your insurer to provide evidence of why you want, say, £50,000 worth of insurance? Your clothes, furniture etc --why would you have proof of these items, or their value?

I'm sure books, in regard to collectors, would differ. But there's no real reason why they should.

BH
_________________
BH

You drive a hard bargain – you can have it for £10 all-in – one consolation (for you) is that you do not have to hear the cries of my children, for bread...



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