Ammo & tornadoes and insuring collections


I was driving home when the radio interrupted to kindly tell me that somewhere behind me, deep in cental New Jersey, there was a TORNADO. And I started thinking…what if I lived in Jersey (what a horrible thought!!). What if my house were hit by a tornado? What would happen to all my cartridges? Some of you live in areas where tornadoes are like pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Could you share your wisdom of how to prepare for such a catastrophe?


In addition to just that scenario, one thing I have been thinking about as my collection is gaining monetary value is insurance.

If anything happens have you all checked if your homeowner’s insurance covers your collection?

Does anyone have any suggestions on getting a personal protection plan from any insurer?

I had contacted my old homeowner’s insurance and they would only cover my guns not my ammo. The new one wants me to get an appraisal and it looks like they will cover it. I had also contacted John Thorton ( who handles Client Insurance Services for CHRISTIE’S (auction house) and he gave me a quote too for the whole collection (This was pretty expensive though.)

In addition are there any suggestions for who to get an appraisal from?


I highly recommend Collectibles Insurance Services, LLC

I have both business and personal collection policies with them (and have for more than 10 years) and am very satisfied. I had one claim to make and there was no hassle.

As a brief summary (read their actual policy language, don’t take my word for it…) Basically you set the value on the items (lump sum for everything, but individual values may be needed on some high dollar stuff, and premium is based on that amount and that is what is paid in case of loss.

They will insure virtually any type of collectible- guns, bayonets, uniforms, stamps, coins, paper dolls, postcards, tea cups, etc, etc. They actively seek business from gun (and ammunition?) types by setting up at some of the bigger gun shows, and are nice people!

Do they cover loss in a tornado? I don’t know, but I doubt if anyone else will provide more complete coverage.

Most of the homeowner or fine arts type policies want nothing to do with any type of guns (and presumably ammunition) and their rates are much higher with all sorts of sneaky exclusions.

This is just an endorsement from a happy customer, and I don’t get any kickback from them or anything.


My homeowners policy (Safeco) is of the type that if something is not specifically excluded from coverage, it is covered. Guns, ammo, etc. are not shown among the exclusions. However, and fortunately, I’ve had no opportunity to see if this works well or not.

Everyone should be aware of the fact that most, if not all, insurers demand proof of possession before they will pay off on a loss claim. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take close-up pictures of ALL items (not just guns) in your residence, and store them safely offsite somewhere, maybe in a safety deposit box or at a friend or relative’s home. I have taken several pictures of each of my guns (and everything else of any value I have), including serial numbers written on a card showing in each picture.

NRA offers gun loss insurance to its members. I don’t have it, so I can’t say how well it works or the premiums. I do know there is some difference in how high value collectible guns are covered vs. more ordinary guns.


I wrote an article for a past issue of the IAA Journal about the experiences of a collector home-owner in Florida who lost his ammunition through a catastrophic fire. I was hired by the insurance company to inspect the cartridge residue and what little was left of the burned storage shed, and determine whether his claim was reasonable. From that eye-opening job, I can tell you that at three things are critical: 1.) a good insurance policy, 2.) a good inventory of your collection (even if it’s not required by your insruance company when the policy is written), and 3.) reasonable care on your part to protect your collection from hazards. If you don’t do 2 and 3, your insurance company will correctly determine that you don’t think your collection is valuable, and they will adjust your claim with that in mind.



A little off topic but but I hope the moderators get the point I am making.

In the OP the reference is made to tornados being like pigeons in Trafalgar Square. A neat reference but the truth is today there are no pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Political correctness, again, too many complaints of clothing being damaged and talk of “toxic bio hazards”.
First it became illegal to feed them so the food sellers who had been there for generations lost their business. Now they fly hawks to keep them away.

I hope the parallels are not lost on those who read this. Why ban them? If you don’t like pigeon “effluent” don’t go there but let those who don’t mind go and feed them.
The last time I was there there wasn’t a pigeon anywhere to be seen.