That Depends on Whether You Have Insurance.
It was the moment all collectors fear most. Trying to balance his valuable Sideshow Predator 2 statue on a top shelf, Sean Michael watched it tip over, like in slow motion, and crash to the floor. "It was kind of surreal. I felt so stupid. How did I ever do this? My girlfriend rushed in from the other room, and knew instantly what happened. We both stared at it for a couple of minutes, in silence."
Sean, a customer service rep, had an eerie feeling about this moment, but because he was prepared, he was not stuck with the loss. After the shock wore off, he got on the phone to Collectibles Insurance Services. "I had really never thought about insurance before," said the collector of high-end Cinemaquettes, Sideshow Premium Formats and replicas from Hollywood Collectibles Group. "I didn't know you could buy insurance for your collection. I saw Collectibles Insurance on a thread somewhere. When I looked into it, I found out homeowner's doesn't regularly cover this kind of thing. The pros outweighed the cons, and I got it."
You all might have seen Collectibles Insurance at Comic-Con. They're very interested in the toy and figure world, and they're a figures.com network sponsor. "We're at the San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con in October, C2E2, Baltimore Comic Con, Wizard World Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Comic Con, the York PA toy show - all over the place to make connections with people who collect toys, figures and statues," said Annemarie Fitzpatrick, Director at Collectibles Insurance Services.
"The big problem for collectors is that their homeowner's or renter's insurance most of the time doesn't cover their collections," Annemarie said. "Our company specializes in collectibles, and we understand that collections are not properly covered by regular homeowners insurance. The person who runs our claims program at McLarens Young International used to be a Risk Manager at Sotheby's. If you have a problem, you want to get paid. That's what we do."
At Collectibles Insurance, you can talk to the person who works on your account. "When the claims adjuster contacted me," Sean Michael said, "They asked me what I wanted to do. I of course wanted to replace the statue. They said to find one for sale. I found the least expensive one available on eBay and they said go ahead and buy it. I gave them the receipt and they verified the eBay auction and they paid me. A very, very smooth process, and I got the statue-diorama back like nothing ever happened."
Sean was pleased. "It was a great experience... easy going, no roadblocks of any kind. It really felt like they wanted to take care of you."
I live in Missouri, so I asked Annemarie how much it would be to insure collectors here, and this is what she told me:
- $38/year for $5,000 in coverage
- $293 for $50,000 in coverage
- $639 for $100,000 in coverage
The rates are fairly consistent across the country and only differ slightly. You can get a quote for your collection by phone (888-837-9537), online (www.collectinsure.com) or by email (email@example.com).
G.I. Joes, Batman and early Spawn are Joseph Steuri's toy interest. He is retired and living in Wisconsin, seemingly home to more toy and figure collectors per capita than anywhere else on the planet. He ran into Collectibles Insurance at the Kane County show about ten years ago. He was having trouble getting his homeowner's insurance to understand his collecting.
"The collecting was just something that became a monster. Most people refer to my house as a warehouse. It's a disease that knows no cure. So at Kane County, Collectibles Insurance had a booth. They seemed geared to more what we were looking for," Steuri said. "I've never had a claim, but I talk to them every year. Still a lot cheaper than going through what I call the 'standard' insurance people. The standard homeowners people don't understand what collectibles are all about. The only other advice I have for collectors is to do it because you like it, not because you are going to get rich. That and if there are any collectors of WaterWorld out there, please get a hold of me. I can make you a heck of a deal."
Right now, Annemarie said that anybody who calls or emails from figures.com, rebelscum.com, yojoe.com, onesixthwarriors.com or any of the sites on the network gets a 5% discount off their first term premium. So if you call them or email them, be sure to mention the Figures.com Network web sites in order to receive the discount. Quotes are available online by answering six simple questions, you can download an application online and email or fax it back.
Once the policy is issued, there are four underwriters who manage the accounts. You can discuss your policy with your underwriter over the phone and request changes via email, fax or mail. You can also request changes and make payments online. Collectibles Insurance sends renewals by mail 45-60 days ahead of the effective date. Premiums are due on the effective date but you get approximately a 10-day grace period from the due date. The agency contacts customers whose premiums are past due to remind them their renewal is due.
Just so you're covered.