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Before Purchasing Collectibles Insurance, Learn the Value of Your Collection

Bookmark and Share Your collection is valuable to you. Whether your items are family heirlooms, a financial investment or a hobby, protect your treasures with collectibles insurance. To ensure you purchase adequate insurance coverage, use these resources to find the value of your collectibles.

Gemr

Founded by collectors and designed for collectors, Gemr focuses on the collector's journey of acquisition, discovery and appreciation. This means you can learn the value of your items, connect with like-minded people, display your collectibles and buy and sell items.

Go Antiques

Discover your collection's value and history then browse virtual warehouses filled with collectibles from over 1,000 dealers worldwide. You'll gain valuable information about your collection and have fun.

iGuide

Created to answer the question, "What's it worth?", iGuide.net lets you search through thousands of listings. Use the site to identify your items, authenticate them and find their value.

Kovels

Search the price guide on kovels.com to find out what your collection is worth. Then browse the archived newsletters to learn more about the history or your collectibles.

Krause Books

Learn more about your collection and discover its value when you visit krausebooks.com. With this site, you can also connect with buyers and sellers and read current hobby news. 

My Granny's Attic Antiques

Use this website to research your antiques, art and other collectibles. Not only will you discover what they're worth, but you'll also learn more about them and gain a greater appreciation for your collection.

thoughtco.com/collecting-4132647

This website offers valuable information on almost any collectible imaginable. Written by collectors, it compiles hundreds of articles that help you discover your collection's worth and learn more about buying and selling pieces.

Value My Stuff

Specialists in over 40 collecting categories will appraise your items and email you an online certificate that verifies your item's value. Simply upload pictures and details of your items.

WorthPoint

Find almost any collectible and its worth when you chat with a professional appraiser on worthpoint.com. You can also connect with other collectors and share information and stories about your items.

For specialized collections, check out these sites.

  • American Philatelic Society - stamps
  • Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. - classic, ancient, medieval and British coins
  • CoinInfo.com - coins and precious metals
  • Comic Book Collecting Association - comic books
  • Vinfolio - wine
  • Warner's Blue Ribbon Books - Swarovski crystal
  • YuleLog Software - Hallmark Keepsake ornaments and Department 56
Collectibles are often valuable financially and for sentimental reasons. Protect your investment with adequate collectibles insurance. Learn more about the value of your collection by visiting these websites or talk to your insurance agent.
 

Benefits of Owning Your Own Home

Bookmark and Share It has always been the American dream to own a home with a yard surrounded by a white picket fence. Although this might be a bit of a cliché, it is certainly grounded in truth. For many Americans, home ownership marks the entrance into the world of investing.

Why is home ownership such a good investment?

The answer is simple. Because over time, as your mortgage balance decreases, your equity increases, even if the value of the home fails to follow. And equity grants you the ability to take money out of your home, and use it as the need arises. No matter how much rent you pay over the course of your lifetime, you never establish equity.

Another huge benefit of home ownership is in regards to taxes. Homeowners can claim mortgage interest deductions that aren't available to renters. In addition, the profit you earn from selling your home might be exempt from the capital gains tax you would pay on profits earned from an ordinary investment. Under the current tax code, if you sell your home and it was your primary residence for two out of the past five years, you don't have to pay any capital gains tax on the first $250,000 in profits. If you are married. the amount exempt from capital gains tax increases to $500,000.

Home ownership also creates leverage. Leverage is a strategy that allows a person to use borrowed money to their financial advantage. When you buy a home, you typically make a cash down payment of 20%. The other 80% is financed through a mortgage. During the next several years, the value of your home usually increases, making it worth more than the amount you originally paid. When you later decide to sell, after you pay off your original mortgage, you will realize a profit equal to the percent of increase in the value of the home. This is what's known as leveraging debt to make a profit.

Of course, all of these benefits of home ownership are only available if you have the capability to afford a home.

So the next question is, how affordable are new homes to the average American?

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, nationwide housing affordability was near its highest level in 2009. Housing prices are low, and interest rates are affordable, creating a buyer's market. In fact, in the third quarter of 2009, the HOI showed that about 70% of homes sold were affordable to families who earned $64,000, the national median income.

Given the current, attractive market conditions, is now the right time for you to enter the housing market? Speak with one of our financial planners, and consider the possibility of realizing the American Dream.
 

How Does a Personal Articles Floater Work

Bookmark and Share Use a personal articles floater to insure the high-value items you own. It's an important addition to your current renters' or homeowners' insurance policy. Learn more about this valuable coverage as you protect your valuables and gain peace of mind.

What is a Personal Articles Floater?

Your renters' or homeowners' insurance policy covers your personal possessions if they are damaged, lost or stolen. However, you may own high-value items that exceed your policy's coverage amount. Your items could also be damaged in a flood or earthquake.

In these situations, your renters' or homeowners' policy may not cover repairs to or replacement of these valuables. You'll want a personal articles floater that provides additional coverage.

How Does a Personal Articles Floater Work?

To purchase a personal articles floater, contact your insurance agent. You'll probably need to get your items appraised because many insurance companies use appraisals to prove that you own the item and to verify its value.

You can insure individual high-value items or a group of items. You normally have between 30 and 90 days to tell your insurance agent about any new additions to your collection. If the item is damaged, lost or stolen during this grace period before you add it to your personal articles floater, it could still be covered.

If you ever need to file a claim against your personal articles floater, contact your insurance agent. The policy will cover your items anywhere in the world, and you won't usually have to pay a deductible.

The insurance company will evaluate your claim and mail you a check. It will pay the lowest of either the item's actual cash value, the cost to repair or replace the item, or the amount for which you have insured the item.  

What Does a Personal Articles Floater Cover?

Typically, a personal articles floater is available for items that are worth between $5,000 and $50,000. You can insure a variety of valuables with your personal articles floater, including:

  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • Rare books
  • Cameras
  • Coins
  • Computers
  • Furniture
  • Furs
  • Glassware
  • Guns
  • Heirlooms
  • Jewelry
  • Manuscripts
  • Memorabilia
  • Musical instruments
  • Silverware
  • Sports cards
  • Sports equipment
  • Stamps
  • Wine
Who Needs a Personal Articles Floater?

Anyone who owns valuables should consider purchasing a personal articles floater. It can pay you to repair or replace the item and gives you peace of mind as it protects the high-value items you own.

If you own high-value items, contact your insurance agent. You may wish to purchase a personal articles floater and gain the protection and peace of mind it offers.
 

How to Lower Home Insurance Premiums

Bookmark and Share There are several steps you can take to ensure you are getting the best Homeowners insurance rates possible for the coverage you need:

Before purchasing a home, it is wise to learn about its insurance loss history. If there have been past losses, be sure to inspect the home closely to determine if proper repairs were made. The CLUE and A-PLUS databases enable insurers to check the claim history of the property as well as that of the homeowner.

Raising your deductible is a great way to reduce your premiums. Higher deductibles on your Homeowners insurance could produce savings of 25% or more.

Consider upgrades to your home. Do you need to modernize your heating, plumbing, and electrical systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage? Are there upgrades you could make that would reduce the risk of damage in windstorms and other natural disasters? You might be able to save on your premiums by adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof, or buying stronger roofing materials.

Older homes can be retrofitted to make them more capable of withstanding earthquakes. If you do make home improvements, be sure to make your insurer aware of the changes.

Improve your home security. You typically can get premium discounts of at least 5% for installing a smoke detector, burglar alarm or dead-bolt locks. Some companies will cut your premium by as much as 15% or 20% if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that signals the police, fire department, and other monitoring stations.

These systems are not inexpensive and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you buy such a system, find out what kind your insurer recommends, how much the device would cost, and how much you would save on premiums.

Buy your Home and Auto policies from the same insurer. Some companies that sell Homeowners, Auto and Liability coverage will take 5% to 15% off your premium if combine policies with them.

Maintain a good credit rating. Most insurers use credit-based insurance scores to determine Homeowners and Auto coverage premiums. All else being equal, a person with a good credit score will pay much less for insurance than someone with a lower score.