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Insurance is available (at a cost, of course) via TCA and NMRA.  It may or may not be less expensive than what you can get with a rider on your homeowners insurance.

Your homeowners policy's contents coverage will offer some protection, but it's rarely adequate for a train collection.  Whatever you get, be sure you get it in writing, and don't just rely on the agent's word. 

There have been other threads on here regarding this subject.  However, one thing I've never seen is a report from someone who has actually made a claim.  Unfortunately, that's when you really find out how good your coverage is.

@Mallard4468 posted:


There have been other threads on here regarding this subject.  However, one thing I've never seen is a report from someone who has actually made a claim.  Unfortunately, that's when you really find out how good your coverage is.

A few years ago we had a kitchen sink drain back up and water was on the kitchen floor. The floor slopes to the center of our home and the train layout is located so that an area about 4 x 6 got water dumped on it.  An MTH Northern, Sinclair gas station and a couple of cars got the shower.  I called USAA.  I said I could sell the items, report that amount and compare it to what I paid for the item.  Not replacement cost, not current value, not less depreciation- original price.  When   I listed the items in the For Sale forum I described what happened.  All items sold very quickly and USAA sent me a check for the difference between the total sale price and what I paid for the items when I purchased them new.  The Northern had to be at least twenty years old and the gas station probably fifteen years old.  Items were not on the PAF, just as contents on the homeowner's policy.   John

Last edited by rattler21
@ADCX Rob posted:

There is no special limit on toys on a homeowners policy, so I'm good.

Doubtful.  Generally speaking, model trains, especially items that are not currently produced, are not considered toys by the insurance company.  Suggest that you read your policy carefully (and ask the company for an interpretation of your position) to avoid disappointment in the case of a loss.

(At one time, I worked as a property and casualty underwriter, so I'm not just pulling this out of a dark place.)

Last edited by Mallard4468

Doubtful.  Generally speaking, model trains, especially items that are not currently produced, are not considered toys by the insurance company.

So, we will need a tipping point specified & defined, then, when does a toy become not a toy but something else, like a collectible?  Pretty sure anything I have now can be replaced with a current or recent production item.

@ADCX Rob posted:

So, we will need a tipping point specified & defined, then, when does a toy become not a toy but something else, like a collectible?  Pretty sure anything I have now can be replaced with a current or recent production item.

It all depends on the specific items, the nature of the loss, the wording in a particular company's policy, and how their claims department interprets it - there's no definitive answer for everyone - that's why I have repeatedly (in this thread and others) suggested checking with your insurer and getting it in writing.  Some companies consider collectible trains to be "fine art".  To your example, if you would be satisfied with a mint Postwar F3 being replaced with current production (or perhaps a Menards F3), then you're probably right about your coverage.

It's also important to remember that the contents limit is generally half of the value of the structure.  Many train folks have tens of thousands of dollars worth of stuff - in the event of a total loss, this can quickly eat into money that is needed to replace clothing, furniture, electronics, appliances, etc.

Your house, your trains, your money - it's up to you regarding how much risk you're willing to absorb and the amount of time, effort, and money you're willing to invest in fighting an adverse decision.

A detailed list, (of all model train related items), is important.  Purchase price, and date.   The average adjuster would have limited knowledge of (model trains).  That would apply to a lot of our possession.  Actual, or full replacement value ????  A yearly review, of the insurance products, you have purchased over time, is a good idea.  You might find that (insurance) products you purchased, years ago, don't apply, today's world.

Last edited by Mike CT

I thought of another guideline which may be helpful in deciding whether or not one needs additional coverage.

If determining an item's replacement cost involves checking sold results on ebay, auction results, train meet prices, or use of a price guide, then it probably falls under the fine arts limit, which is usually relatively small.  If the value can be determined by looking at a manufacturer's current catalog, then there's a good chance that it falls under the contents coverage (up to the policy limits, of course).  IANAL and YMMV!

It's also important to remember that what is right for one person may or may not be appropriate for others.

Due to increasing property losses in recent years, insurers have been adding more and more restrictions on what they cover.  You'll get new pages every year which list updates to the limitations and exclusions - READ THEM!  (Hint:  These changes are rarely in your favor.)

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