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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a topic that potentially affects many of us who have purchase a lot of large scale train equipment. For example, LGB is very scarce now and many items are out of production forever, so collection insurance is pretty vital.

I recently received a packet in the mail from a company and was wondering if anyone had any experience with them. I have absolutely nothing to do with them and am NOT promoting them - just seeking feedback if anyone has experience with them. The company is American Collectors Insurance. Their URL is http://www.americancollectors.com/ . Or has anyone checked them out and found a better deal with another company?

I would appreciate any substantive feedback since I am shopping for collection insurance.
Thanks
Al
 

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Here are a few things that everyone should be aware of regarding collections and claims.

Collections are usually an exception to coverage on household insurance policies. This is throwback to the days of stamp and coin collections because there was seldom any proof of purchase of the individual pieces and the value of lost or destroyed collections in progress was impossible to evaluate.

As in any claim, the burden of proof falls on the claimant. You must have proof of ownership and value to support an insurance claim. The claims processor will be looking for documentation such as photos, receipts, appraisals, etc. to support your claim. Their boss is not going to cut a large cheque because you seem like an honest guy. Don’t blame them, 20 percent of all insurance claims are exaggerated.
Replacement Cost Policies only provide replacement cost if the goods are lost or totally destroyed. You must file a timely and substantiated claim in order to obtain permission from the insurer before replacing them. If you do not replace the goods, you are only entitled to the “market value” of the goods. The claimant usually thinks replacement cost for my priceless treasures; the insurer thinks garage sale value for your old junk.

If the goods are damaged, the insurer has the right to have them repaired. If you do not wish to have them repaired, you are only entitled to a cash appearance allowance which is usually considerably less than the repair cost.

The best thing to do is talk to your insurance agent. Unless you have a very large and expensive collection of trains, an inexpensive rider to your current policy may be all that is required. If documentation is required, they should let you know what would be considered sufficient to substantiate a future claim.

As an example, I had a 13 year old, red Volkswagen Rabbit convertible. If it were stolen, the book value would have been less than the deductible. But it had never been winter driven, was in excellent shape, ran well, had low mileage, and turned heads wherever I went. After speaking to my agent, I had appraised at a Volkswagen dealer for $7500. I then provided my agent with the appraisal and several good colour photographs. Fortunately it was never damaged or stolen, and I sold it when it was 24 years old for $4800.
 

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You don't need to join anything or worry about the reputation of some unknown insurance company and its policies. If you have home owner's insurance (or something similar), you can easily get a rider on the policy to include hobby items--including model trains of any scale. The price is ridiculously low for coverage that will pay for full replacement value because you already have the basic policy paid for. As I recall my rider from a company that does business throughout the United States for coverage of a very large "collection" is about $1.50/month. Yes you may have to prove ownership in the event the item is stolen but that is no different from the proof you will normally need to collect on the theft of your wife's crown jewels. My rider includes all perils so if I take some of my locomotives and rolling to a train show for running, as I often do, any that happens that creates a loss is covered. If I try to pick up my USAT Big Boy and accidently drop it and destroy the frame, it's covered. Not a bad plan at all.
 

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Something to keep in mind and perhaps top ask is - at what point is it realistic to file a claim. I know that many insurance companies will cancel your policy as soon as your claim is paid. I'm not saying it's not worth getting the rider, it's just something to think about.
 

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Posted By thekollector on 06/22/2008 5:15 PM
Join the TCA. They have an agreement with the top model train insurance company in the world!




30,000 members! These guys know how to handle toy train insurance.
 

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The TCA website states:
"Collection must be stored/displayed at collector's residence."

To me that says that you can not take your trains to use or display anywhere away from home and still be covered by the policy. That doesn't work for me.
 

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Fred
If I recall correctly the Michgan group insures throughout NMRA as part of membership requirement which I believe to have a good policy to cover the hobby...
 

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I checked with my Nationwide agent (even showed them the website) and they said the stuff was covered under my homeowner's policy. I still need to get decent photos of everything, tho....
 

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I'm pretty sure my trains are covered under the homeowner's policy, as Rick suggests.

My policy already has several 'named' items on a rider that are insured for a stated value, like my son's 19th century cello and my wife's diamond ring. If I had a $10,000 Aster Big Boy, I'd put that on the rider at the appropriate value.

At the moent, most of my trains aren't worth as much as the deductible!
 

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Posted By chooch on 06/23/2008 6:53 AM
The TCA website states:
"Collection must be stored/displayed at collector's residence."
To me that says that you can not take your trains to use or display anywhere away from home and still be covered by the policy. That doesn't work for me.




Fred,

This is what I found: "Location - Items are covered while within the continental United States and Canada. Items are also covered while in transit up to $15,000. Higher transit limits can be negotiated."

http://www.jabash.com/tcaindex.htm

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jack - Thanks for the link to the TCA Insurance carrier (Bash). Good for comparison.

Everyone - Many thanks for your input. I have a call into my home insurance agent to see about riders, terms, etc. If they can't accomodate me to my satisfaction, then I will check with the American Collectors and Bash companies. Looks like I will be taking invetory and lots of digital photos... Probably should have done that sooner but at least now I found that "round tuit". ;)

This is great thread for reference on the topic. Thanks to Shad & MLS members as always. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/satisfied.gif

Al
 

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Jack,
J.A. Bash is also who I insure through. I don't know if the rates are different or not, and if the coverage is the same or not. The policy I have with them will only be issued as long as I am a NMRA member in good standing. I believe the base policy gives $16,600 of insurance for $110. Additional coverage is also very reasonable. Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers is a NMRA group. To belong to the group you MUST be a MNRA member. This is because we are covered at all club events with a $1,000,000 liability policy. The bonus is the Bash insurance. My homeowners policy does not offer the type of extensive coverage that I get from Bash at any price. I can get collection insurance with the homeowners, but that will not allow traveling with the locomotives to attend events. That would be additional coverage that they do not offer.
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Here is a link to FAQ for NMRA coverage through Bash:
click here
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Here is a link to the NMRA programs page:
click here
 

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Chooch,

You are correct. The Bash site offers links to both organizations. Homeowners policies also don't understand multiple collections. Always attempt to talk to an adjuster rather than a salesperson. Their answers can be quite different!
 
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