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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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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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