Traveling Abroad Antiquing? Some Help Requested

A reader of Inherited Values is in the beginning stages of planing an antiquing trip abroad and has asked me about travel insurance. Since I’ve, unfortunately, not yet left the country for this sort of thing, and never even considered what happens if you get ill overseas (I shudder to think of it now!), I thought I’d ask here and see if any of you savvy antiquing travelers have any advice on the subject. Obviously, some of this depends upon what health or medical coverage you have in general, and where you are going, but I think what she really wants to know is, is it a big gamble to go without it?

She specifically asked about travel health insurance, saying she thinks she has covered all the other angles — but please feel free to add tips about traveling and antiquing, such as packing and shipping things back, etc.

Putting a Price on Priceless

Anyone who has watched even a little television in the last decade will know the popularity of shows where experts help ‘average people’ look through their possessions in the hope of finding something surprisingly valuable. Except, it shouldn’t really be a surprise because nearly everyone, or so you would be forgiven for thinking, has something worth thousands of pounds sitting around in their house.

Whilst this is perhaps not strictly speaking true, most of us do own items of some considerable value, though whether they’d make their way onto an antiques programme is another matter. Even things we may not consider to be all that valuable can be worth a lot of money, so it’s important to keep their protection in mind.

Home insurance is the first line of defence. Home insurance is a blanket term covering two separate types of insurance: buildings insurance (which covers the fabric of your house) and contents insurance (which covers anything which you would take with you if you were to move). Whilst both forms of insurance are extremely important (and they’re often sold together) it is contents insurance that is really vital when it comes to things like antiques.

The trick with contents insurance is to remember that you are looking for value rather than price. The cheapest deal is not going to be the best one if it doesn’t provide the level of coverage that you are looking for.

But what is the right level? All the advice says the right amount of coverage is the sum you would have to pay if you had to buy everything you own again. Except, sometimes you can’t buy things again, because they are unique and antique, or because they have sentimental value.

Unfortunately, sentimental value doesn’t mean too much to insurers, but the unique and the antique does. Make sure you get an independent valuation and, if something is worth a particularly large amount, get it insured separately, you’ll have to pay a touch more for the privilege but you will guarantee that you’re fully covered for everything.

Another tip is to always keep a comprehensive list of everything particularly valuable that you own, along with (if possible) up to date images of each object to vouch for the condition of the objects. This will make it much easier if you ever have to make an insurance claim.

Finally, don’t be put off by all the competition in the market. Finding an insurance policy can be daunting, so use the competition to your advantage and strike a hard bargain, that’s the best way of getting a good deal. Check out comparison websites, specialist insurers, and even for antiques it’s worth taking a look at the odd mainstream insurer like Legal & General (who offer a wide range of home insurance policies), you may be pleasantly surprised.

Image Credits: Maid Cleaning the Silver Ware Photographic Print by Nina Leen; via