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How to Insure your Wine Collection

February 20, 2017

Some people enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. Others just keep a few bottles on hand for when company comes over. Then there are the collectors. These people store hundreds or even thousands of bottles at home or someplace else.

Which one are you?

Taking the time to build that collection requires a lot of time and money. Whether it is an investment strategy or just a hobby, if a collection is growing in size and value, knowing how to insure your wine collection should be a priority. We can help with that. Let's talk about it.

What you will learn:

Insurance for Novice Wine Collectors.

If your wine collection is valued less than $10,000, you have two coverage options: homeowners and blanket coverage.

  1. Homeowners policies generally have additional add-on coverage designed to protect a small home cellar from serious loss. The down side with most of these policies is a high deductible. Say a collection is valued around $3,000 dollars and the deductible is $1,000. In the event the entire cellar is lost, the policy will only cover $2,000.

  2. Blanket coverages offer more than available in the average homeowners policy. The first step is to have the collection appraised and determine its true market value. The insurance company would then customize the policy based on its true market value and scenarios that would require coverage. In the worst-case scenario, any damages will be covered up to the agreed upon maximum, meaning that if a collection is valued at $5,000 and it’s lost in a fire, the insurance would cover the total value.

Insurance for Serious Wine Collectors. 

If your wine collection is valued over $10,000, you should consider bottle-by-bottle coverage.

Insurance companies can only insure up to a certain amount, meaning there could be complications with huge collections. However, with such a large collection, there are going to be some that stand out, regardless of sentimental or monetary value.

Thousands of dollars could be spent to insure an entire collection. The prized bottles could also be covered separately. This is a much more customizable option, allowing each bottle to be considered as its own entity with a specific worth. If the bottle is damaged, compensation would then be based on the projected loss.

What every collector should consider

The wine market is often shifting, so it’s always wise to have a collection regularly appraised to keep up with the current trends and ensure every bottle is accounted for. Regular appraisals will also allow any collection to be protected based on its current market value.

Keeping an up-to-date and accurate inventory is the easiest way to manage what is within a collection. Whenever adding, selling, trading, or drinking a bottle from the collection, the insurance company should be informed and coverage adjusted.

Whether it be within a home cellar or a third-party vendor, take the time to consider storage options. Home cellars are notoriously difficult to maintain, even with the best upgrades. Ensure that any additions made are added into the policy, especially since standard policies will not cover loss due to electrical or mechanical malfunctions. Third-party vendors often seem like an ideal choice, but keep in mind that regardless of where a collection is kept, problems like power outages, temperature changes and natural disasters are always a possibility.

Whether it is a recent purchase or a long-standing favorite, considering transport insurance is yet another way to mitigate risk. If a bottle is mishandled and shatters on the way to its final destination, it’s still covered, right? Most policies do not cover a bottle just because it has the collectors name on it. Whenever a significant addition is made, be sure to notify an agent as soon as possible.

Other Factors to Consider
When estimating the value of a bottle, you should consider the bottle as a whole and not just its contents. Would that bottle still be valued the same if the label was tattered and torn? What if the seal was damaged? Keep a detailed description of high value bottles and note any changes that occur.


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