Do you have a Nolan Ryan rookie card in mint condition, a one-of-a-kind collage signed by Cal Sr., Cal Jr. and brother Billy Ripken, or albums of no-acid sheaths holding error cards from every sport, game and tobacco company?
Trading cards can be a big investment. Even if your collection is more for pleasure than gain, it’s wise to insure these special memorabilia properly. Your homeowners insurance likely won’t be adequate even if you just have a few valuable items.
Why your home insurance isn’t enough
Home insurance has several drawbacks when it comes to insuring trading cards.
First, it limits coverage for collectibles and may cover only a small fraction of their value.
Second, if you have actual cash value coverage, which many homeowners, condo owners and renters do, you would get only the value of the items that were damaged or destroyed as of the date you bought them. There would be no accounting for their increased value over time.
Third, you might have to “schedule” them, meaning list the cards you want covered, which could be very time-consuming if you have many.
Note that home insurance could exclude hurricanes and drain and sewer backups, unless you add those perils to your coverage. You can buy a personal articles floater policy for trading cards, but you need to read the exclusions in that floater to see what perils, such as floods, are excluded.
If you travel with your cards to show, trade or sell them, you may also lose coverage unless your insurance allows coverage outside your home.
An alternative to home insurance
Some collectors prefer to insure their trading cards with collectibles insurance specifically for sports and memorabilia cards. Collectibles insurance may be written to cover your collection at home, on the road, on display and in transit.
You can cover your entire collection under a blanket policy. Moreover, some blanket policies include theft and other things your home insurance covers, as well as earthquakes and floods.
Since these insurers specialize in trading cards, they offer fair market value coverage instead of actual cash value. They also don’t require an inventory of your cards, just those with high values (such as $5,000 or more). That said, it’s smart to keep an inventory with photographs and receipts. If you need to make a claim, this documentation can speed the process.
If you are a dealer and a collector, inform your insurance agent. Your risks may be different from someone who is only a collector, and your policy will need to reflect those risks so you have full coverage.
Take measures to prevent damage
You are the first line of defense for your trading card collection, so do what you can to prevent damage. That includes:
- controlling humidity and exposure to light
- securing your home, shop, showcases and vehicles to prevent theft
- preventing pets and curious kids from doing damage
- having a disaster preparedness plan to protect your collection in an emergency
If you are trading or dealing, research the best methods of packing and shipping so your items arrive undamaged. This may mean obtaining hard card holders for shipping and showing.
Invest in preservation and good insurance. This will help you, your family, your friends and your trading partners enjoy the history immortalized by your trading cards for generations to come.
This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
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