Are Your Guns Insured?

These inoperable sporting arms represent how your arms collection might appear after a house fire. Top to bottom:  1.  What was a M14A1 with a bipod and the remains of a scope mount. The scope and much of the mount has melted, the barrel is warped upward, the entire stock assembly has been consumed along with many of the thin metal parts. 2.  The Marlin Model 336 appears in better shape than some of the other arms, but the barrel/magazine tube assembly is warped, the stock and forearm are gone, and only the heavy forged steel receiver appears reasonably intact, although the action is inoperable. 3.  The barrel of this AR-15 HBAR is slightly warped upward, as is the bolt carrier. However, the aluminum upper and lower receiver units, and synthetic stock and forearm did not fare well. 4.  The Remington Model 37 target rifle was a massive design constructed almost entirely of steel and walnut. The stock was consumed, but most of the metal parts survived, even the receiver sight, which is not shown. The heavy barrel is warped slightly downward and to the right. 5.  With their thin barrels, side/side and over/under shotguns do not come through house fires as well as pump and auto loading shotguns which tend to have heavier barrels. The barrels of this 20-gauge SKB over/under are literally falling apart, having been burnt through in several places.

These inoperable sporting arms represent how your arms collection might appear after a house fire. Top to bottom: 1. What was a M14A1 with a bipod and the remains of a scope mount. The scope and much of the mount has melted, the barrel is warped upward, the entire stock assembly has been consumed along with many of the thin metal parts. 2. The Marlin Model 336 appears in better shape than some of the other arms, but the barrel/magazine tube assembly is warped, the stock and forearm are gone, and only the heavy forged steel receiver appears reasonably intact, although the action is inoperable. 3. The barrel of this AR-15 HBAR is slightly warped upward, as is the bolt carrier. However, the aluminum upper and lower receiver units, and synthetic stock and forearm did not fare well. 4. The Remington Model 37 target rifle was a massive design constructed almost entirely of steel and walnut. The stock was consumed, but most of the metal parts survived, even the receiver sight, which is not shown. The heavy barrel is warped slightly downward and to the right. 5. With their thin barrels, side/side and over/under shotguns do not come through house fires as well as pump and auto loading shotguns which tend to have heavier barrels. The barrels of this 20-gauge SKB over/under are literally falling apart, having been burnt through in several places.

Are your guns insured for an amount that will replace them in case they are lost in a fire? Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover personal losses only up to a set amount. Unless, of course, you realized you own some items – jewelry, antiques, firearms, first edition books on a specific subject, and the list goes on – that are worth more than average value, and you insured them appropriately.

Let’s say, for example, you have a homeowner’s policy that will pay $20,000 for personal effects in case of fire, theft, etc. That amount will hardly cover your clothes, much less other items you value. It probably will not cover the six shotguns – including Granddad’s old M1891 Winchester – four rifles and three handguns you have in your gun cabinet or safe. What about the reloading equipment and components, spotting scope, cameras, reference library and trophies you’ve won over the years? Even money can’t replace some of the items, such as the M-1897 your granddad gave you on your 16th birthday. Anyway, it’s better to be reimbursed for some of the items lost than to lose all on both fronts.

Items having more than average value need to be insured separately by adding riders or inland marine floaters to your regular homeowner insurance policy. There is a catch. In order to insure the items separately, you need an itemized list of the items, with receipts and/or bills of sale or a qualified appraiser’s statement of value. Photographs of the more valuable items will help establish you have what you claim.

If you have only a rifle or two, insuring them separately may not be worthwhile. That’s something you have to determine.

The premium cost of additional insurance is normally priced at so much per $100 value. The amount per $100 depends on the firm you have as the carrier, and possibly on several other factors: geographic location, etc. A local insurance agent, for example, quoted $1.36 per $100 of value. Thus, an $8000 over/under shotgun could cost $108.80 per year to insure separately. If your gun room contains several rifles, shotguns, etc., but with a combined replacement value total of $8000, the premium cost would still be the same, or possibly less, and each of the items would have to be listed on the floater.

Several firms specializing in insurance for gun collectors advertise in gun-collecting magazines. These firms often have better rates than local agents, and those in business for several years usually have a good track record. One such firm, in business since 1966, lists $3000 worth of coverage for $13, $10,000 for $43, $25,000 for $108 and $100,000 for $430.

Above $100,000 the rate was $2.15 per $1000 – definitely better than $1.30 per $100. A list of the guns was required, but for other valuables – knives, books, reloading equipment, etc. – no list is required unless an item is worth over $5000.

One thought on “Are Your Guns Insured?

COMMENT