Insuring a cartridge collection

Hello,I’d like to re introduce myself. I’m new to the forum but not new to collecting and have been a member in the past. I was an avid collector (addict) for decades and have put together a decent collection over the years. A recent incident at my house made me start to think about Insuring my collection. I guess my questions would be. Has anyone done this? The last “blue book” was published in the mid 80,s" (Butwiellers small prices realized book) who would place a value on some of the rarer specimens. With about 1000 people in the world serious about collecting,It’s not like appriasing a car. Is this doable or do I pack my collection in a fireproof safe…Larry

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Welcome back! If you were still a member of IAA you would be receiving our excellent publication, The Journal, which has evolved into a top knotch hard copy and an equally good E-copy. In each edition their is a section that features current prices of select catagories of cartridges and this is an excellent source for values but they are not all in one place. As a shotshell collector, I rely on the ENCYCLOPEDIA AND PRICE GUIDE OF AMERICAN PAPER SHOTSHELLS by Iverson and Strauss which was done in 1991. Though it takes a bit more time, checking the various auction sites online for what individual items sold for is perhaps the most reliable and up to date method. Some houses publish their auction results. It is not as simple as looking up an item in something like a Blue Book but there are ways to establish a collection value. I can only assume their are some folks out there qualified to value collections, as appraisers.
I have my collection covered under my home owners policy, as a rider I think. They have not asked a lot of questions and I don’t have any single piece that requires itemization. I did this after 1 of my shells was damaged by insects but I have not made a claim.
Hope you decide to join the IAA again.

I have business liability insurance which is good to frame and hang on my wall but from what I glean from work related websites that’s probably about all its good for. So many stories of people making genuine claims and just getting stonewalled.

Insurance companies can be tricky, when they want money off you everything is fine but as soon as anything goes wrong they start backing off big time. Don’t assume that insurance means what you think it means. It should, as Shotmeister says, be covered on your household policy anyway as ‘personal effects’ and this should be verified.
Whatever happens they are going to want proof, proof and more proof if you try to make a claim.

I added my collection as a rider on my homeowners insurance a couple of years ago. As Vince said, it’s all about proof. They demanded a list of every item and an estimated value for every single piece in the collection. I primarily used the values out of the IAA Journal plus some auction invoices and brst guess on the remainder. They started out saying that “Fine Arts” was the only pigeon hole they could put it in but then just ended up listing it under “household goods.”

Thanks for the welcome back. I slid into the world of milsurp rifles and shooting them the past few years.When it comes to insurance and Proof of ownership, I guess the name of the game is photos,and plenty of them or it’s a good place to start. Putting a value on my specimens is gonna take some work. In the hieght of my collecting,I had buttwiellers auctions,Pete Decoux,Lecliar&Davis catologs rolling in regularly.Sadly Jim Tillgast passed away as I got into the game. I do have stacks of old catalogs,but once agian, these would be 25 years out of date. As far as appriasing them with current prices,that’s gonna take some work.igt has been years sice I’ve been to a cartridge show. I do have a list of what I paid for the items origianaly,but there are quite a few specimens I purchased from a pawn shop owner in ME in the early 90’s for a fraction of thier value. The 303 britsh greener multi ball is worth more then $15.00 I paid ect…Larry

I highly recommend the Collectibles Insurance Services, who specialize in doing just that.

Many years ago they started serving stamp collectors, but now cover all sorts of collections- including guns, knives, postcards, coins, decoys, comics, quilts, toys, trains, doll houses etc, etc, etc. They even have staff members set up at many collector shows, including many of the major gun shows, as well as the other collecting fields.

Their rates are very reasonable, and except for very high dollar items, you do not need to “schedule” specific individual items. Premiums are based on the declared values and if a claim is made, that is the basis for the coverage.

They are good people, and about 10 years ago I had to make a claim for loss of an item during shipment, and there was no hassle, just prompt payment.

Many homeowner policies have limits on coverage for “sporting goods” and all sorts of restrictions and demands, and politically correct denials, as well as usually much higher rates. I urge you NOT to even consider using a homeowner’s policy for collections, but get a policy with the Collectibles Insurance Services.

Their web site is:

A few years ago I tried to insure my collection with my homeowners company. I found that a flat $500 for “Collectables” would be the maximum they would cover. The only way to get a higher coverage was to do “Scheduled” coverage for each individual cartridge, which involved an annual appraisal by a “Certified” appraiser in the field of your collectible. I doubt if such an appraiser exists that the insurance company would accept, plus the cost of the appraisal, except for a few VERY rare items, would cost more than the value of the item. So, at least in my experience, a homeowners policy offers little to no protection.

It sounds like the company JohnS suggests might be a good place to start. I don’t know if it is feasible or not, but perhaps a “Group” policy that all the IAA members that are interested could be purchased from the company JohnS suggests.

Bumping this up.

Just talked to my Historic/Eastern insurance rep. He said they do cover ammunition collections, but it must be either be truly unique or over 25 years old. They do not cover generic modern ammo stockpiles and ammo forts, but old crates/tins of stuff no longer made is ok. The rep is a collector of .22 ammo and boxes so he knew immediately what I was asking for.

It’s blanket coverage, non-itemized unless the value of an item goes over $10k.

Caveat: They have a minimum coverage of $35k (about $100/yr) so I’m not sure many people would be interested. I have them for my firearm collection, so adding a bit more blanket coverage for the cartridge collection was no problem.

How about a link to this company so people can check further if interested?

Ask and you shall receive.

ETA: 5% discount for NRA or other club members… Wonder if IAA counts?

ETA2: A link to collectible as well, even though I don’t use them.

After reading an old post by Mel about an insurance case, I called Eastern (aka Historic) again to ask about storage requirements for cartridge and antique ammo collections.

His first question was how much was it worth, and only seemed worried if it started going over 50k.

He told over the phone that there are no requirements for it to be stored in a vault/safe etc. I have mine all in filing cabinets and a locked display case, he was fine with that. He mentioned “as long as it’s not just scattered all over the place”.

I’m requesting a copy of terms/conditions/limits/etc to get it in writing.

Confirmed with Jack @ historic/eastern that the blanket coverage will cover collectible ammo and how they define it.

"Our cut-off date for “Collectable Ammo” (regardless of era, genre) is 1975.
Modern contemporary ammo-current or active shooting ‘ammunition’ is covered to a maximum limit of $5K.
Collectable Ammo /Cartridge Board, boxes, series etc., prior to 1975 is ‘COLLECATBLE’.
Cartridges post 1975 required for series or genre collection integrity /COMPLETION is OK.

This is a link to their policy document