Yesterday, two of my musician friends had their instruments stolen. That got me thinking about insurance. And my question to you is simple, "Do you have your audio gear insured?"
Many of you are thinking, "Sure, my gear is insured. I've got it covered under my home-owner's/renters' contents policy." But do you really have it covered? Have actually read your policy to see what your limits are? Again, most of you are thinking, I've got $100k+ of contents coverage, so I'm all set." Not always...
There's a term in the insurance industry that even non-industry types like you and I should be aware of. The term is "targeted items." A "targeted item" is something that has a higher risk of loss, such as jewelry, silver, or art objects. Many insurance policies have limits on their theft coverage for such items, so even though you have a total of $100K for your home's contents, you only have a maximum of $5K coverage for jewelry loss from theft. Any value in excess of that initial $5K requires a special rider to the policy. Musical instruments, art collections, and in the case of audiophiles, stereo equipment, are also primary candidates for specific insurance riders.
My insurance agent told me, "Insurance companies look for situations that aren't normal. If they find something that's out of the ordinary, it triggers a red flag." Having over $50K in audio gear in a $150K condo or apartment would be just such an "abnormal" situation. Some insurance underwriters would consider a $20k pair of speakers abnormal. If you have any questions about whether all your gear is covered, now, before a claim, would be a good time to enquire.
Once you've determined whether your gear IS actually covered under your current insurance policy, the next thing that you need to do is make sure you have documentation of ownership. An invoice in your name is an excellent proof of ownership. Another excellent document is a video of your room showing the gear. This can also be invaluable in case of a fire, when remembering exactly what you had can be difficult. If you have any kind of video camera, taking a slow pan of each room of your house is easy and can save you immeasurable aggravation later.
Keeping an up-to-date list of your gear, with serial numbers is another useful tool if you ever need to file an insurance claim. I have an excel spreadsheet on all my gear that includes the date of purchase, serial number, purchase price, and any unique features of the component.
So, stop and take a few minutes to look over your insurance policy to check to see if it has any limits on targeted items. Then make sure you have some current videos of your stereo. Put the videos somewhere safe, off premises, such as a bank security box. Finally, hope you'll never need to use any of it.