Have a collection like this? It may be time to talk wine insurance / Getty
How do you protect the things you love, especially when it comes to something as complex and rare as a wine collection?
For some, the answer is to purchase insurance, which can reimburse policy holders against financial loss due to accidents or natural disasters like fire, floods and excessive heat that currently affect wine regions worldwide. Muys Snijders, head of art collections management for AIG Private Client Group, says that insuring valuable collections of wine allows collectors to spend more time collecting wine, anticipating its peak and enjoying it.
Your favorite bottles may already be insured by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. More likely, however, they’re not, as most policies don’t cover wine or spirits. Ken Sidlowski, who leads the private client practice at The Horton Group, an insurance agency, also says an average homeowner’s policy only covers up to $1,000. So, if you have $1,000 deductible, it’s a wash.
If you call your insurer to ask about protecting a wine collection, you may get a representative lacking the expertise to give you the information you need. It’s also a challenge to land a wine-only policy. Generally, insurance companies require a minimum amount of business from each customer, which is something to consider if you are not already a client of a financial services firm.
Wine Insurance Options (And Some Terms to Know)
Given the complexities of insurance policies and particulars, it’s useful to learn the lingo.
Unscheduled property means items that may be covered without being named on a policy. Note the word “may”—this is insurance, after all.
An insurance policy covering unscheduled property is known as blanket insurance. A named location, like your home, and everything within it is insured up to a certain amount, known as the limit.
Scheduling means adding coverage to an existing policy for specific items, named and valued based on a recent receipt or professional appraisal.
Standalone means a separate policy, with its own terms and conditions; a.k.a. monoline (what we call a “wine-only policy” above).
Experts say blanket insurance is doable for consumable wine and spirits, as opposed to bottles you hold for long periods of time. With blanket insurance covering your collection, you may not have to notify your broker every time you buy, sell or drink a bottle.