Should You Insure Your Family Heirlooms?
A pocket watch passed down for three generations. A bayonet from the Civil War. A baseball card collection that once belonged to your grandfather.
Family heirlooms come in all shapes, sizes, and values. Whether you have an attic filled with heirlooms or one particularly cherished item, insurance is something that you ought to consider to protect your treasures.
The Value of Family Heirlooms
According to the Telegraph, the value of family heirlooms has increased as older generations become wealthier. In the United Kingdom, research has found that 40 percent of the population inherits valuables. On average, the heirlooms are worth £3,000, with one in five holding a value of more than £10,000. This equates to $4,850 and $16,168 in US dollars, respectively.
Yet, even when people inherit something of great value, they don’t always know or appreciate its worth: two in three people don’t have their heirlooms evaluated while nine in ten don’t have adequate insurance for these possessions.
The Pros of Insuring Family Heirlooms
Insuring a family heirloom has many pros in its favor. First of all, insurance helps protect the monetary value of the item in the event that it is lost, stolen, or damaged. This is of particular importance when the value of the item is high. Otherwise, unforeseen circumstances can cost you — and your heirs — thousands of dollars. Second, you should be able to obtain insurance as an add-on to your homeowner’s insurance policy, allowing you to place your entire estate’s insurance with the same company.
Another benefit to insuring family heirlooms, per Insurance Magazine, is that the value for which the heirloom is insured can be a good prediction of its asking price in the event you ever opt to sell it. While most people prefer to hold onto their family heirlooms, some have to liquidate these items in trying times.
Depending on the item in question, insuring a family heirloom can also allow you to enjoy it more. If an antique doll is insured, for example, you may be more apt to allow you children to handle, admire, and cherish it than you would be if the item wasn’t insured.
The Cons of Insuring Family Heirlooms
The cons of insuring family heirlooms are minimal. One possible con can be that heirloom insurance works the way most of your insurance does: you pay money up front to protect you in the event something happens, and then nothing harmful occurs. If nothing ever happens, you are technically out of money via the monthly premium you’ve been paying. It is a very small, though admittedly tangible downside to paying for insurance.
Depending on the insurance company, you will likely be asked to have your heirloom appraised before a policy can be written, especially if it’s very valuable. You will also likely be required to file a police report in the event that your insured heirloom is stolen. Finally, if any activity seems suspicious, it is always possible that an insurance company will investigate you for possible fraud.
Ultimately, insuring family heirlooms has many more benefits than drawbacks. It might take a little effort to get the heirlooms insured, but your resulting peace of mind will be worth it. Not having heirlooms insured simply sets you up for heaps of regret down the road.