Insurance for Lionel

Hello all-

As I get more into this great hobby I find myself having 4 sets & various bridges - And was wondering if it is time to insure my growing train collection- Can anyone reccomend a reasonably priced insurer & let me know if it`s even worth it or stay with a basic homeowner`s policy that i know will not be as good- Any Ideas? I live on Long Island..

          Thanks, Sal

Original Post

Sal,

If you are a member of TCA, there is an insurance program available, underwritten by a third party carrier.  You may also be interested in Collectibles Insurance Services ,formerly Collectibles Unlimited. C. I.  offer a comprehensive coverage program.  Although a long time TCA member, my coverage, for years, has been with Collectibles Insurance. 

Premiums are reasonable for both.  Exclusions, by both, are minimal as well.  Look these programs up on the internet.  Details are well covered and there is contact information.  Coverage, via homeowners policies, is totally inadequate for train & toy collections, antiques, art work, etc.  Such specialized coverage is available, usually only by additional rider on the basic policy,  and limits are minimal.  You want to be able to adjust your coverage as the composition of your collection changes and values rise or fall.  

This is a popular topic and comes up regularly on the forum. If you use the search function, there should be some threads with good information.


I use the TCA insurance policy, which is available in either blanket or itemized form.
Mine is itemized. Should I ever have a claim, values are predefined.
The cost for an itemized policy is 60 cents per hundred.
I think the blanket policy is 75 cents per hundred.

One issue with any policy is defining the value of the loss.
Even if you have "replacement value", it may not mean what you think. (this may be more of an issue for collectors as opposed to operators)

C.W. Burfle

I would check with your home owner's insurance agent first about what is included in your coverage already. I did that a few years ago and they covered up to like $5k-$10k or something in that range. After that, I never pursued the special train insurance any further as I think that more than covers mine. I have forgotten exactly what all they told me back then? Guess I should call them again and refresh my memory a bit.

You can also get a rider on your homeowner insurance if you want to specify it, if your standard policy won't cover it (for example, your homeowner insurance might cover it if it is stolen, but they won't cover it if it is damaged, but another policy might cover it for damage, like if the basement floods or something....). I suspect with what you have, unless it is rare collectibles, your homeowner's policy might cover it the way it would any other household goods. The real problem might be the valuation and how the company does it, if your collection gets stolen, do they cover it for the replacement cost (ie bought new or in comparable shape), or do they pay out at what they think the value is based on 'current market conditions', and if so might pay out where you can't replace it even on the used market with what they pay. Whatever insurance you go with, you need  to look at how they pay out, what they base it on, and it may not be as simple as let's say car insurance, where it is based on the blue book value, I doubt there is anything like that for trains in terms of insurance companies (tca may be better at that, plus is likely going to be a competitive rate, generally member only programs like that are). With trains, unless it is a collector item the value likely drops from the time you bought it. With collectibles it is the opposite problem, if they appreciate it it is important to get them re-appraised ever so many years, so you know how much to cover it for, especially if it becomes 'hot' or something.  

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

You could look into an agreed value policy for your trains. I have one on my old Thunderbird (commonly called a collector vehicle policy). The insurer and the policy holder come to an agreement on how much will be paid out if the car is a total loss. Then you pay a yearly premium based on that amount. I'm sure you could get some kind of similar policy for a train collection. 

Santa Fe, All the Way

rtr12 posted:

I would check with your home owner's insurance agent first about what is included in your coverage already. I did that a few years ago and they covered up to like $5k-$10k or something in that range. After that, I never pursued the special train insurance any further as I think that more than covers mine. I have forgotten exactly what all they told me back then? Guess I should call them again and refresh my memory a bit.

Although it IS a good idea to know what your homeowners policy covers (and not just for trains), the devil is in the details, and it's unlikely that your agent will understand your train collection.    

In addition to the coverage limit being far less than my trains are worth, on MY policy, the amount of coverage for an item that is no longer produced was minimal.  For example, regular homeowners insurance doesn't understand that replacing your roadname X passenger cars from 2005 with currently-produced ones that have roadname Y isn't good enough.

Many years ago, when my collection was much smaller, I had a policy with what I considered to be vague wording about covering my trains.  I drafted some wording and got my agent to sign a letter stating that my policy would cover the trains under my contents coverage.  I doubt that an agent would be willing to go on the hook in that manner today, though.

That is very good advice, but I really don't have anything that could not be easily replaced. It's all new from 2011 to present. I don't have any old trains of any value like some folks here d have. Just plain old ordinary stuff that they still fill the catalogs with, although I might have to wait a bit for a specific item or road name to be remade.

All I have is modern diesels (no steam) and freight cars, don't have any passenger cars. The policy I have is for replacement cost, but without asking my agent, I don't recall the exact amount covered before requiring a rider for collectibles, valuables or whatever they called it? 

If I ever acquire anything of value that is not easily replaceable, I would probably go with something from a specific 'toy/model train insurer'? Might check with my agent first, but I agree that the train specific insurers would probably be a better bet in that case.

I have been meaning to buy Toy Train Insurance for 22 years, however just never did. I do have a great homeowners insurance that would cover what I have, as long as I have pictures, proof of current values.  In my opinion, you need to see what the cost is for what you have, versus your homeowners policy.  I live in a good neighborhood and have (knock on wood) never had any issues....I have sold much of my collection,  however have some pricy Locomotives, Structures, Rolling Stock.  The layout, is not going to retain a high value, track, turnouts, etc, used for 22 years???? So, weigh the yearly cost, versus the homeowners cost, then do the math.  Good Question, Happy Railroading....

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