Hiscox have launched what they say is a unique insurance policy allowing collectors to value their own items and sign up online for cover in minutes.
Hiscoxcollections.com should mean an end to the
annual chore of valuing and listing individual items in an art and
antiques collection to meet the requirements of 'home and contents'
insurance, say the firm.
Under the terms of a policy which is already
available online, collectors will be able to get instant insurance
cover by simply giving their own estimate of the value of their
Any collection of items in the usual
recognised categories* will be accepted, from majolica to
mechanical toys, up to a limit of £250,000, provided that any
individual object worth more than £10,000 is noted separately.
While Hiscox acknowledge that the
arrangement brings a level of risk that items will be over- or
under-insured, they argue that collectors will not be penalised.
"Larger collections, over £250,000, will be subject to a referral
and will require more information for them to underwrite the risk,"
said a spokesman.
Hiscox say that where collectors unwittingly
fail to list an item worth £10,000 or more separately because they
believe it to be worth less, the policy will remain in force but
the client will only be able to claim up to £10,000 for that
The policy makes sense, says Robert Read,
Head of Art at Hiscox, because most collectors of things like toys
and ceramics amass lots of items of modest value rather than a few
high value acquisitions.
This means that under the terms of their
'contents' policy they have the unenviable task of recording the
details of every last item before they can enjoy the full benefit
of insurance protection.
For those collecting, say, Worcester or
snuff boxes, this could involve listing dozens or even hundreds of
entries. The great majority of collectors, with collections valued
between the low thousands and £250,000, have limited choice. They
can either stick everything on the 'contents' policy and hope for
the best - or spend hours drawing up a long personal catalogue of
Hiscox's new 'self-valuing' digital policy
calculates the premium automatically and allows for a 10% increase
in the size and value of the collection without penalty.
"We think this will appeal to collectors and
hobbyists," Read continues. "Provided their collection of items
falls within the £250,000 limit, they will only be paying to insure
their body of collected possessions as a whole."
Policyholders with 'star lots' will be able
to identify a few special items as being worth over £15,000 with a
simple phone call, rather than having to repeatedly re-address the
whole question of insurance.
Cover can be quoted and arranged in a matter
of minutes from a tablet, mobile phone or PC.
Hiscox believe that insuring a home,
chattels and furnishings under one policy and collectors' items
under a separate no-quibble, self-valuing policy will give
collectors greater protection at a lower overall cost.
* The scheme currently covers ten of the most popular areas
of collecting in the UK including art, antiquarian books, ceramics
and glass, coins and medals, furniture, clocks and barometers,
stamps, arms and militaria, toys plus sporting and pop