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  • Insuring Your LEGO Collection

    Ed Mack

    There comes a time, in some LEGO collector's lives, that their hobby of collecting LEGO sets and bricks becomes something a little more than a hobby. The AFOL(Adult Fan of LEGOs), with the so-called 'hobby' of collecting little plastic bricks, has ended up spending years and thousands of dollars on these 'toys.' The last thing anybody wants to happen is to lose the entire collection to fire, flood or theft.

    LEGO sets and bricks, like coins, stamps, and rare art can be worth a pretty penny and should anything horrible happen to the collection, a person needs to make sure that, although these things may be seem irreplaceable, the LEGO collector needn’t lose everything that they invested in them. With the proper insurance, a person can enjoy their collection and sleep soundly at night.

    If the LEGO collector already has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, they may feel pretty safe, but most policies cover household goods, such as televisions, stereo equipment and jewelry, but may take a different view towards the collection of plastic bricks, set boxes and instructions. Even with insurance, a person would be wise to check with their insurance provider and discuss a “collectibles floater” which is a separate document allowing you to declare that the things listed on the floater are greater than the value they originally sold for.

    In some cases, such as your collection being worth more than $2,000, your insurance provider may require you to start an additional policy that covers collectibles. Check with your provider to make sure they offer this service. However, keep in mind that this coverage will still probably be limited to the usual coverage enjoyed by your LCD TV, but what happens if a flood in your basement destroys that $2000 MISB(Mint in sealed box) 1st edition Star Wars Millennium Falcon (set# 10179) or a fire wipes out an entire LEGO collection that took years to obtain? For that, you may need a policy with a bit more kick.

    There are insurance agencies that focus only on collectible insurance, such as Collectibles Insurance Services(http://www.collectinsure.com). Their website offers collectors the ability to get a quote, fill out a policy application and answer any questions you may have. According to their website, the LEGO collection will be covered in the event of:

    • Mail loss
    • Theft
    • Fire
    • Flooding
    • Natural disasters
    • Breakage

    The benefit of using the services of a collectible insurer is that the policies are very affordable. They usually cover beyond the usual fire and theft and they will have a better understanding of the fact that the LEGO collector's Market Street (set #10190) is selling for $1000+ on auction sites, something that may take some convincing over at the big box agencies.

    Don’t surprised if the insurance agencies don’t take your word that the LEGO collection is worth thousands of dollars. Although you may find a better understanding from a specialist agency, most insurance companies are not knowledgeable about the climate of the LEGO collectible market. Another problem is that LEGO bricks are a relatively recent addition to the collectible world and therefore it may not be common knowledge that a MISB Statue of Liberty (set #3450) could command the same collectible price of some of the rarest coins or stamps in the world.

    An appraisal from a certified 'antiques appraiser' will go a long way when attempting to insure the LEGO collection for the full amount it’s worth. In fact, many insurance agencies will require an appraisal for specialized coverage such as a “collectible floater.” Check your local directory for nearby antique stores that may offer appraisals, and be wary of online appraisal companies because a rare collectible, with its widely varying degrees of condition, really needs to be seen in person to determine the most accurate value. Also, once you’ve found an appraiser, make sure that they are certified by the ISA(International Society of Appraisers) to insure that they are qualified, properly trained and have the in-depth knowledge the collection requires.
    Although an appraisal from an antiques appraiser might be necessary for some insurance companies, others are a little more lenient in their requirements. Collecting LEGO sets for investment purposes is an idea that has flew under the radar of the public for years, but the popularity of these little plastic bricks has exploded over the last several years. It is this popularity that is making LEGO bricks a viable investment vehicle, thus requiring insurance on the investor's collections. More and more insurance companies are insuring LEGO, Barbie Doll, and Matchbox Car collections and realize that antique appraisers might have zero idea how to value LEGO sets.

    Basically, the more lenient insurance companies are adding an addendum or rider to homeowner or renter's policies for an amount based on the total amount of the collection. They are requiring receipts, photos and a documented list with current market values of all LEGO sets. Receipts and photos are relatively simple to supply, but what to use for current market values? Here is where BrickPicker.com comes in handy. Brickpicker.com offers a tool called My Brickfolio. With the Brickfolio tool, the collector can input their entire LEGO collection and get up to date values for individual sets and the entire collection. Brickpicker.com utilizes market data from the world's largest online auction site, eBAY, which on any given day, might have over 100,000 listings for LEGO products. With this information in hand, the collection can now be insured.

    Once the LEGO collection is appraised and insured, it’s more important than ever to keep the LEGO sets stored properly and maintained. Keep the LEGO sets out of direct sunlight and in a dry location. Use proper shelves and limit stacking of boxes, because it causes shelf wear and collapses the boxes. Maintaining the LEGO collection will insure that the LEGO sets will keep their condition rating and collectible value.

    This seems like a lot of work for a bunch of plastic bricks and cardboard boxes, but insuring a large LEGO collection is a way to give a LEGO investor piece of mind that their years of hard work and their thousands of investment dollars don't go up in smoke or down the drain...

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