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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the best option to protect your trains? Do you depend on your home owners policy to replace your trains when the house burns down, or is ruined, or do you rely on 'collectors insurance?" In my head I have between $8000-12000 invested in model trains from N scale to G, but I'm not to sure what I should do. I called and got a quote for 'collectors insurance' and it would be ~ $90 a year for $12,000 of protection... I don't have any really expensive locomotives (yet) but when you add track, RR cars, locomotives, RC/sound etc, it adds up. 
The other option is to beef up my home owners policy to cover my valubles?
Any ideas?
Craig
 

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I have both my computer and saxophone insured for theft and damage through our homeowners insurance. I think they could set up the same for your trains. The best thing to do would be to contact your insurance agent or provider and ask them what the conditions are.
 

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Mine are all covered by my homeowner's policy. One strange problem I DID confront about twenty years ago was that I needed to insure my VERY large scale ride-on equiptment. I have a 1.5 scale, 7.5 gauge live steamer, a 1.5 scale P.E. electric locomotive and numerous, 1.5 riding cars with a caboose. I have an investment of around 40K-50K dollars in this stuff. I used to use these things to pull the public at our local live steam club(Los Angeles Live Steamers in Griffith Park). I asked for a quote to add these items to my policy or have a "rider" for them specifically. The agent asked if these were ride-on and I said yes. The second question was: Do you pull the public other than your own family? I answered yes. AND then he said, If I were to include these items in any way with my homeowners ins., they would cancel my insurance immediately!  Liability! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/angry.gif
 

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Mine are covered by my homeowners policy.  (I hope)  Every year I ask my agent if I need a special rider to cover my trains and am told NO they are covered.  Between N and G scale I have over $ 40,000 Invested so I hope he is right.
 

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My home owners policy covers me but I have a big collection of photographs on CDs that are kept on file at the insurance office.  I even have pictures of things under my work bench and in my book case etc.  Everything!

My experience with this is that a good friend lost his big HO layout (about 1400 sqft) and had to list every detail of every item.  Got very well paid but it took three months to list it all.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's the thing I would be worried about the most is trying to figure out exactly what I have.  I should start taking pictures of everything and keep a record. I try and keep all my reciepts from the train store for big purchases, but that doesn't cover all that money spent of little stuff like couplers, screws, etc. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif
When I talked to my insurance company they said that they would cover model trains, so it sounds from everyones response that this is the best way to do it.
 

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This comes up from time to time.  

I asked my insurance company about it, and they told me I am covered.  I do need to document all the trains and put those pictures on a CD or something and put it in the safe deposit box.  

Thanks for bringing this up again.

Gary A- that is not surprising! But, if you were operating your equipment on the grounds of the park, wouldn't the park organization be the liable one?  Maybe not.  Does the general public have to sign a waiver to ride the trains?  I could see why your insurance company would drop you if you were offering rides on your private property. 

Mark
 

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Mark,

These are the same points I raised with my agent. I was told I could pull neighbors on my property and that they would have to sign an agreement about riding at your own risk. But, we all know you can't sign away your "right to sue". For many years, I was a member of Goleta Valley Railroad Club in Montecito, CA (just south of Santa Barbara). This railroad was located on the property of Seymour Johnson, CEO of Johnson Controls. He had a policy of having EVERYONE, including members, sign a waiver of liability, everytime they came on the property to run or ride. He had a couple of incidents where some people decided to sue for really minor scrapes and bruises (largely their OWN FAULT) and shut the place down until he could get corporate attorneys to get some kind of blanket insurance policy to cover the railroad and club members. The result of this was that a small insurance company, specifically for recreational railroads, was formed. Our club, here in Griffith Park, joined this insurance company, to provide for OUR liability insurance. ALSO, we are located on Los Angeles City property and we give rides to the public, as a return for the use of the land. The city WILL NOT pay our insurance. I'm not sure what the premium cost is per year, but I know a good deal of our dues go to pay for it! We've had a couple of bad accidents here and some people, who were not following the instructions given them by the brakeman before EVERY RUN, were injured. The LALS facility was shut-down about two to three years ago after one of these Sunday afternoon incidents. Of course the public believes these people who run these trains are ALL wealthy (far from the truth!) and sued BIG TIME. The city wouldn't let us open again until we actually added items similar to what Disneyland has for safety. WE ARE NOT AN AMUSEMENT PARK. We are hobbyists and give rides for the pleasure of the public and their kids. It's free, for pete's sake. I won't run my equipment anymore unless it's just my family and friends. It's not worth the hassle./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif BTW, the Goleta Valley Club shut-down for good in the early 90's when Johnson passed away. Since then the property was sold and the railroads have been completely removed, both the 7.5 AND the 15 inch gauge.
It's too bad when our sue-crazy society can destroy hobbies like this. Sorry for the rant.
 

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I have a clause in my Insurance Policy, that I have $20.000 of Large Scale Model Trains stored in my house, so that my policy covers me for Fire, theft etc. Track etc is not covered as this is out in the yard, it would need an earthquake or someting similar to damage this.
 

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Or Join the TCA and get access to reasonable insurance with a choice of itemized or gross value rates. Includes travel to meets. Wait till you need to file a claim on your homeowners policy, their memories become very short.

Jack
 

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My insurance company said I was covered by the standard homeowners policy. They also suggested that i document and photograph everything. I inquired about the stuff that was scratch built (most of my rolling stock) and they said it would be given a "like comparison" of factory made stuff for value.
They said they would be happy to make a "special" policy (read: take my money) that would cover my trains. But then it would put them in a collectors status and the price was outrageous with a giant deductable. I passed.
Terry
 

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Hi Warren,

That is what I was told by my agent. I too hope they are right.

Jerry

Posted By OzarkRR on 03/12/2008 8:34 PM
Mine are covered by my homeowners policy.  (I hope)  Every year I ask my agent if I need a special rider to cover my trains and am told NO they are covered.  Between N and G scale I have over $ 40,000 Invested so I hope he is right.
 

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Hi all,
  When I checked with my insurance agent about coverage for my train equipment and track, I was told that my homeowners policy (Citizens) would not cover my train 'collection'.  It would be different if I had a train set or two like many households have, but a collection was a different animal.  I would have to have a rider attached to my policy with all my items I wanted insured listed and valued.  Special items like some of my older Aster live steam locos would have to be appraised.  This insurance was pretty expensive, and I'm not too sure if I was covered while traveling.
  I ended up joining NMRA and getting fairly cheap insurance thru them and J.A. Bash.  I'm covered when I travel as well as if I buy a new engine, it is automatically covered for up to $2500 until I get it back home and can contact them to change the policy.  Not too bad as far as I'm concerned.  You can also insure your outdoor track with them.  I believe the first $16,666 in value is about $110. per year.  Over that amount has a % of value added to the total.  I've used them for several years now, and although I haven't had any claims, I have found them very helpful with any questions I had.
  I must say that this is for information and insurance options only.  I have no connection with NMRA or J.A.Bash orther than using their coverages and memberships.
 

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Friends,
I have placed a written 'rider' on my home owners policy and it specifically list each train item and its value. I revise it every year at renewal time. No extra charge for this with my company, but I am sure some are different. Best to get it in writing, no matter who they are and what they said!
 

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Went through this a while back.  My "collection" was NOT viewed as a collection by my insurance company.  Had some appraiser come out...and he said nope...not a collection.  Think museum or unusual value or a part of a rare set....to use the term "collection" properly.  Mine are insured as "toys" under my policy.

After our firestorm here in October...been hearing a LOT from those burnt out regarding insurance claims.  You really need as a minimum a photo of each car/engine...and a complete inventory...otherwise, the insurance companies get pissy.  Everyone with Allstate Insurance is so pissed they can hardly talk without spitting....

Also...if you don't have a "replacement value" policy, you get paid the depreciated value for your trains.  A new $85 LGB boxcar, becomes worth $17...even if you have the photos.  Less if you ever ran it.  With a replacement value policy...you just need the photograph and the item on the inventory.  

Best advice....go take a close up photo of every car / engine / building / switch / etc you have.  Burn em on a CD....put the CD in your safety deposit box.
 

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Mike,
  Be very careful.  My agent told me that $20-30K of trains are not considered toy models.  That much value makes it a collection.  I would not take an agents word on that much value.  I would want confirmation in writing to protect yourself.  I agree that pictures and documentation are very important.  Replacement value (as you stated) is a must.  Also consider deductibles.
 By the way, my agent was my brother.  I think I can trust what I heard from him.
 

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Wasn't disagreeing at all with ya.  I agree with your brother. That's what I meant by "unusual value". I'm certainly NOT in that range of investment...but many could be. The appraiser, not the agent, is the one I was speaking with. He also told me the insurance did not cover the outside layout material for other than simple damage.

My layout is in front yard, so I was concerned with vandalism...and he said the insurance would cover the material destroyed, after the deductable, but NOT the cost of any contractor to reinstall anything.  I specifically asked about reimbursement for different kinds of vandalism....like rocks being moved, vegitation being damaged, track being bent, trestles being broken, buildings kicked in, etc.   He said that the insurance would cover the cost of the material destroyed....like the track...but he doubted that stuff I'd built, buildings, rock outcroppings, trestles, ground cover, etc would be covered...but that was really an issue for the adjuster...and you're level of documentation.  I found that strange since the cost of a contractor replacing shrubs (in the event of a fire and reconstruction) was covered...even if I'd put the plants in before they were destroyed.

Like all my burnt out neighbors have said over and over recently...you can't believe the level of "hoops" ya gotta jump through to get reimbursed for a claim.  After hearing all them complain about the effort it takes, and in many cases, the dismal results (leading to lawyers and letters to the insurance commissioner of the state), I'm pretty sure that if a bunch of drunk kids trashed my layout, I'd get paid the replacement cost for the track, turnouts, and bridges...and not much more.  Insurance isn't a panacia....that's for sure...but, it's better than none...and documentation IS THE KEY.  Without it, you're sunk.
 

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Very good topic - kind of alerts us to somethig many of us often let lapse or forget to address...then suddenly it's too late....

From my experience I echo Mike Reilly's comments. Spoke with my agent and, no, mine was not a "collection" per se, but given the estimated value, she was concerned that I did not have a full list with pictures.  Told her I would assemble one post haste.  Assets in the back yard would be treated as any other yard fixtures (bird baths, birhouses, sun globes, pink flamingos, /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gifetc...) so installation would not be covered since it canot be done by normal contractors (ever price a garden railroad installer?  /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif WOW $$$$$$).

All those who replied here that their agent "told them....". need to ask themselves if they are really comfortable with a verbal assurance.  I know my own word is as good as gold, but have resigned myself to realize that I need to get other's promises and assurances in writing.  

Al
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the info. I guess I should find some free time and start taking lots of pictures of my stuff. It seems that a little organizational skills and some time are the best prevention and helpful when making the eventual claims. One of the major things I was worried about was scratch built stuff as how can you 'set a value' on it? I think I'll call my insurance company (USAA) to get something in written saying model trains are covered.
 
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