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Thread: Instrument Appraisals

  1. #1
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    Default Instrument Appraisals

    Questions to all: I want to insure my instruments. Who needs to supply the appraisal? Are there only certain places who can supply an appraisal for insurance purposes? For instance, I have an instrument made by maker "X" and maker "X" says it would be $xxxx.xx t remake it and that its used value, therefore, is $xxxx.xx for insurance purposes. My guess is that won't satisfy an insurance company. Any insights for insuring instruments would be appreciated. Thanks
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    If the instruments were made recently, a bill of sale will probably suffice.
    If they are collectable vintage instruments, Gryphon in Palo Alto routinely does appraisals.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    I've also been looking into it and have had Darryl Wolfe do some for my old Mandolins-Heritage I've heard is very reasonable to deal with from a few people, I got a file from Heritage to fill out and on it I don't believe they said anything about appraisals just what is it worth-that may come later as this may just be the general info on each instrument for price quote.

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  6. #4
    plectrist
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    What William said about Heritage is spot on. I've been with them for years and they're great to deal with. Fortunately i've never had to use the insurance but discussions from a sadly gone guitar site those folks who had to put in claims were very satisfied with the way claims were handled. Highly recommended.
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Yes I've been working on appraisals ever since Byron Berline's horror story of a fire, It puts things in perspective if you have some very fine instruments! Even if you have stuff that's worth a couple hundred bucks one should do this! Home owners probably doesn't cover what Heritage will? So I have a few more to get appraised,
    Do you have to get everything appraised as on the PDF file they sent me they just want info such as serial #'s, Years, Make+Models and value? Do they require appraisals on everything? I see they also do gear like amps etc...I'm new to this game and know very little but perhaps one of you who uses them can enlighten me some more? Thanks in advance!

  9. #6
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    I've used Heritage for almost a decade and never needed an appraisal.

    IIRC, they have two methods of insuring the instruments. (I might get this wrong a little) On modern instruments at least, you can choose something like "replacement value" and provide an appraisal to justify this, or you can choose "mutually agreed upon value" (or something to that effect).

    If you choose "agreed upon value" then you just put down what you paid or think the instrument is worth and send it in. I presume that the Heritage company has a way to see if they agree that your stated value is reasonable, and if so, you get a list of covered instruments, how much will be paid if one is lost or damaged, and, or course, the bill to be paid.
    So far, I've never had a stated value questioned.

    There is some fine print about deciding how much will be paid in certain cases and how up to date the appraisals need to be etc.

    I've never had to file a claim so far, so all of this is said without any experience of collecting a reimbursement.

    They are very easy to work with. When I buy or sell an instrument, I just send them an email with the info and request for adding or removing the instrument, and I get an email saying that it's done. If this changes the total amount my policy needs to cover, then either I get a bill for additional payment or a small check in the mail.

    Disclaimer: I could have some details mangled, so check with Heritage for details.

    NFI
    Last edited by Philphool; Jul-26-2019 at 8:07am. Reason: additional thoughts
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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    I've heard they aren't real expensive but I have some serious instruments that are very high end old 20's-30's stuff. I wonder what the cost will be, I guess I won't know till I fill out the form?

  12. #8

    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Based in insurance company requirements you can insure most anything with an inland marine attachment to your home owners policy. Again requirements will very.

    You can also have them added to your home owners. But you have to tell them about it. In that case a receipt or appraisal will be required.

    That's one of the benefits of the wife being a former claims analyst. She has seen all the pit falls.
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Years ago I used an Inland Marine attachment to my insurance. It covered them in all circumstances except an unlocked vehicle. Was cheap to buy but I never needed to collect. It did require an appraisal.
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  14. #10
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Quote Originally Posted by William Smith View Post
    I've heard they aren't real expensive but I have some serious instruments that are very high end old 20's-30's stuff. I wonder what the cost will be, I guess I won't know till I fill out the form?
    IIRC, the minimum is a premium of around $200/year and covers up to around $30K. Above that is more, but I don't know how it's calculated.
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Be very wary of the rider on homeowner's insurance. I had insured my instruments that way and when, after like 20 years, I went to up my insurance quite a bit, the agency told me that I'd actually never been covered because "I play out". I asked why they had been taking my premiums all those years, that the agent knew from the beginning that I was "playing out", meaning any performance in public whether paid or not. The person said that I'd never asked. Thankfully I never had a claim. Needless to say, they lost all my business immediately, home and business. Be careful. I have had Heritage for about 20 years. I've heard nothing but good things about them. NFI.

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    That's great info Dale, I'll just say I play a certain mandolin "Out" and stick to my guns because what ever I play it sure doesn't leave my site for a second! Insurance can be another one of the biggest scams out there, along with the different phone charges, taxes upon taxes on used car changes of ownership and now vintage instruments from dealers/ebay/reverb etc...I was just charged a bit over 3G tax on a vintage mandolin purchase as they said there is a new law where taxes must be paid! Anyway with a great carrier like Heritage I'm sure its well worth it from what I've been told by you all and a few other serious players/collectors and dealer friends!

  18. #13

    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    The rider on my homeowner's insurance covered a $3500 claim on damage while on a youth symphony trip, including several performances. I explained that the instrument would go on tour to Europe every other year. As long as it was not used professionally, it was covered.
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  19. #14
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    The inland marine policy will cover performing and anything, anywhere your instrument goes. Unless you leave it in a car and don't lock it. If it is locked it's covered. This is a special rider to your insurance listing everything you want to insure and an appraisal of each piece. Used to cost me $.07 per $100.
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  20. #15
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    I wouldn't be without my Heritage policy, or something similar. To be clear, Heritage is the agent/broker, and they work with a number of underwriters. My policy is with Travelers. Regardless, all my routine interaction is with Heritage. In the event of a claim, they'd connect me with an adjuster at Travelers but they'd be there to assist if needed. I have personally never made a claim, but I know dealers, repairman, and individuals who have. Not one ever had any problem getting paid 100% and in a timely fashion. What else do you know of that has a 100% success rate?

    Something to consider, especially with very valuable instruments is diminished value. It is possible to have damage that is fairly inexpensive to repair, but greatly affects the value. A headstock break is one example. It may only cost $500 to repair a clean break on an old Martin guitar, but it will knock approximately one third off the value. So a $20k guitar is now worth $12k. Heritage would pay the $500 repair, plus the shipping to and from the repairman, plus the $8k in lost value. No homeowners policy will come close to that.

    I have a number of five figure instruments, both vintage and modern builders. Heritage has never asked me for an appraisal, but the values I've insured are reasonable based on the well defined current market for similar instruments. A couple of things are more rare and difficult to find comparable sales, so I've had those appraised. Otherwise I have good photos and notes. So, in the event of the loss of my '36 000-18 for example, it wouldn't be hard for me to demonstrate through photos and repair notes that it's worth exactly what I said it was. Again though, that's never been required by anyone I know personally who's made a claim. But those are all reasonable people. If someone tried to insure a 70's Ibanez mandolin for $10k and then make a claim that it was stolen, I suspect they wouldn't get very far.

    For a typical risk user with enough instruments to beat the minimum premium, I'd expect it cost around $0.50 per $100 in total value. So a $100k collection would end up with a $500 premium. That could vary either way I suppose, but I think it's going to be fairly close for the typical collector/player here in the US.
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  22. #16

    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    You can have it appraised by Carter in Nashville TN

  23. #17
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Back to the insurance thing. My insurance rider, that I mentioned above, would cover None of my instruments if I played out with any of my instruments. I believe the reasoning was that if you go out in public with one of your instruments, and perform, paid or not, then people will know you have instruments worth stealing. So that would be their "out". OTOH, when I first talked to Heritage, they basically said that I was covered unless I leave the car door open and walk away. I believe they know that people that buy good instrument insurance are the last people that want to have a claim. Once again, NFI. Clarion is another reputable company.

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  25. #18
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    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    .....what Dale said.... plus Anderson Insurance Group....who will insure in Canada for reasonable fees compared to Heritage and unlike Clarion who declined

  26. #19

    Default Re: Instrument Appraisals

    Back to actual appraisals, I have had mandolin appraisals from both Gruhn in Nashville and Greg Boyd's (Montana). Both were "remote", whereby I sent photos and descriptive information only. As I recall, Greg Boyd's appraisals were less-expensive, were quicker, and were a little easier in terms of the information that I provided to Greg. That said, both companies provided professional-looking and thorough appraisals, and each of the appraisals had the appearance that you could hang your hat on them, if you ever needed to.

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