Wine with your insurance?


My suspicion is that most people reading this blog don’t have wine cellars, but an article from Reuters about insuring vino did catch my eye. I have friends who have been bitten by the grape bug and increasingly consider themselves collectors. I don’t really understand it all, but at some point a bottle is dubbed right to be consumed and a special meal or gathering is planned, the cork removed, and much incomprehensible talk about the quality of the stuff ensues. There’s generally something about over and undertones and some mention of “bouquet.”

My friends are not in the class of collector discussed in the article, but I was stunned to read that 12 bottles of 1982 Lafite auction for $45,000 and the price for the Bordeaux was $60,000. Of course, this probably jumped out at me because I was watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow while I was poking around on the net and the appraiser had just looked at a baseball and two letters from one of the guys who signed it and said the whole “collection” was worth north of $15,000.

Yes, a baseball and two letters is a “collection.” One of the saddest stories I can relate in this genre is that of an elderly woman who had three fine pieces of jewelry. The time came in her financial life when she needed to sell the pieces and they were nowhere to be found, apparently lifted by a less than scrupulous housekeeper. The items, which were set in platinum had never been appraised, photographed or . . . and here’s the kicker . . . put on the lady’s homeowners policy. Granted, she would likely have required a rider to the existing policy to get the coverage, but she would still have had something when the stuff turned up missing.

When was the last time you did an inventory of your possessions and made sure your homeowners policy accurately reflects what you own — or do not own. Are you still paying for coverage on something that’s no longer in the house? Did you just inherit Aunt Ethel’s prized necklace? Is it worth anything? Are you sure? Returning to the analogy of my wine drinking friends. For the time that expensive bottle of wine is in their possession it is, arguably, an asset. And, if they plan to wait a year or two to drink it, and in that year the house burns down, their investment in the bottle of wine goes with it.

All of these reasons point to the necessity of an annual audit of your homeowners policy. Your life and possessions change and your coverage should change with them.

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