The hazard of fire is also ever-present. Not a few articles have been written on insurance; the subject is well covered in the James E. Serven book The Collecting of Guns and in several American Rifleman articles. In broadest terms, antique and collectors’ firearms are not best covered under the most commonly used “Home Owners” policies.
In most circumstances under that type coverage, a maximum fixed percentage (usually 10 percent) of the total value of the policy would apply to items such as firearms. Also, a limit or maximum dollar value would be set for any one piece, coverage generally applies only to guns actually on the premises and claims most often are paid on an actual cash or cost basis or even according to replacement cost less depreciation.
Establishing some of these factors often entails considerable administrative as well as emotional problems after a loss has occurred. Special waivers and riders can cover some contingencies, but experience has shown that collectors rarely bother to adequately investigate their coverage for antique and collectors’ guns under a Home Owner’s policy.
The result is very much a case of closing the barn door after the horse has gone. One of the best and broadest types of coverage for antique and collectors’ firearms is under policies known as “Fine Arts Floaters.” Any good, knowledgeable insurance agent will be familiar with them. A number of attractive plans are even offered by some of the larger collecting organizations.
The key feature of the Fine Arts policy is the fact that each and every gun in the collection is itemized and valued and kept on record with the insurance company and agent. These policies normally have provisions allowing for coverage even when the guns are on exhibit at a show and in transit. Should a loss occur, settlements are normally quicker and are generally for the amount on the scheduled list.
It is, of course, quite necessary to continually update the schedule as prices change, or as items are bought or sold. Coverage under Fine Arts policies has not only been found to be broad in scope, but often features advantageous rates. They are well worth investigating.