Beyond Basics: Insuring and Protecting Your Collection

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by Superquad7, Nov 19, 2009.

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  1. Superquad7

    Superquad7 OCP Police Crime Prevention Unit 001 Super Content Contributor

    May 19, 2003
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    (original source: Energon Pub • View topic - Terrorists are coming for your toys! (I ain't scared...).

    @CounterPunch writes:

    "Are you a responsible collector?

    Well, probably not…


    Let’s consider.

    First off, we have to clear some people out of the room. Anyone who’s collection is just a bunch of things that they have, anyone who doesn’t mind losing a piece or part, and anyone who doesn’t plan to keep and maintain a collection over a period of 5+ years should just go back to complaining.

    Now that they’re out of here, we’ve got a lot of stuff to cover. Everything in existence is looking to destroy your toys. Sunlight, smoke, fire, theft, terrorists, oils from your hands, children, cats, dogs, and your mom are all conspiring somewhere on the best ways to destroy your impressive collection.



    This guy hates you and your toys. Sunlight is known to cause yellowing, plastic degradation, and overall fading. If your toys receive direct sunlight you are damaging them, period. Test this. Get a figure you don’t care about, put him in a window for a month. After that time, take a look, the sun facing side will be noticeable lighter.

    • This happens quickly when it happens.
    • Plastic is the determining factor. Some plastics will fade/yellow quickly. Some will go slowly. Some will break down entirely and crack.
    • Heat and direct lamp light will cause the same things only at a slower rate. UV is destructive in any form.
    • Combined with oils from your hands, the process can happen more quickly or more seriously.
    • Oils from your hands alone on white plastic can cause this to happen.

    What can you do?
    • Simply, keep your figures out of direct light, especially sun light.
    • Avoid other lighting for the toys when you aren’t around.



    • Very destructive to plastic and shows its effect in a short period of time
    What can you do?
    • Don't smoke or smoke somewhere else.


    Fire, theft, terrorists, children, cats, dogs, and your mom

    • You’re in trouble.

    What can you do?
    • Insure that collection! Do it now!
    • Total up what you’ve spent in toys.
    • Ask yourself if you could throw that much money in the garbage. If not?
    • Insure your collection!

    The main point of this article is to serve as a primer for insuring your collection. This is all coming from experience at this point, so take it for what it is and add your stories to the mix.

    3 Important points:
    GET RENTER’S INSURANCE: (or homeowner’s, but you should have that if you own a home anyway…)! Renter’s insurance is CHEAP. Like about 100 bucks a year for $30,000+ in coverage.

    READ YOUR POLICY: Understand your coverage. Is it categorized? Are you limited to $1000 of collectable loss? What’s your deductible? Can your deductible be absorbed if you exceed categorical loss? How will you be paid?

    YOUR TOYS ARE TOYS! Listen and listen good. Your toys are NOT collectables. Want to get taken for a ride? Call them collectables. Learn about how you’re exceeding your collection limit with Brave Maximus alone.

    That being said, there is a lot more to cover and it is all important. You may be thinking at this point, “This is dumb. It’s unnecessary and ridiculous to insure a collection.” Well, a complete Alternator collection costs about $600 give or take for retail value. Given that most Alts have doubled or in most cases tripled in value, it would cost you about $2000 to replace them all. Alts have been out around 4 years. An investment that triples in value over 3-4 years is a good investment. At least understand this before you dismiss the need to protect your money.

    Insurance companies don’t want anything bad to happen to you (or your stuff). They also sincerely hope you’re stupid. Stupid people aren’t aware of what they have, what they will have, and the time/value of money. Insurance companies are placing bets that you are stupid, and low-risk anyway.

    Receipts. Receipts are good for ensuring that you get back the bare minimum value of your toys. Receipts are “Proof” that you made a purchase. Start saving them. They’re helpful (though, they are NOT as helpful as you might think).
    Pictures. Take lots of pictures. Put yourself in pictures with your collection. Go shelf by shelf, figure by figure if you like. Digital cameras are a blessing. Now, store those pictures in 3 separate places
    Document everything. Create an excel sheet listing your toys and their value.

    Let’s talk about value for a moment. This is something we argue about all the time here. Let’s use the 07’ Botcon box set as an example. Let’s say you bought your set at the con for $279. Let’s now say that you lost your set due to fire or theft. If you wanted to get the toys back…what is it going to cost you?

    • $250 Thundercracker
    • $225 Thrust
    • $200 Dirge
    • $75 Dreadwind
    • $50 Bugbite

    That $279 set just became $775 worth of toys. Your poopy $279 is going to net you 2 figures out of the set. Congrats on being stupid.

    Know what your toys are worth.

    Know what your toys are worth because the insurance companies aren’t going to.

    Listen to this important piece of information now: Make sure your policy covers replacement value.

    Listen to this important piece of information now: Make sure your policy covers replacement value.

    Listen to this important piece of information now: Make sure your policy covers replacement value.

    This is repeated for emphasis.

    Without replacement value for your toys, you’re going to get retail value or worse. The one problem with replacement value is this: If the insurance company can not determine the value of an item (and they won’t be able to do so for Transformers toys, especially vintage), they are going to accept your pricing and give you HALF of what you claim.

    HALF. Got it?

    The catch is, with your half of the money, you have to buy and replace the item, and then they pay you the difference. It’s their way of making sure that you aren’t scamming and that you are replacing your property (the point of insurance). Receipts are important here.


    This is the evil dirty word. The insurance company is going to ask how old your stuff is. They want to know so that they can devalue it. This will vary from company to company, policy to policy. Be careful with this. There is no sound advice to give other than to be smart. Find out what the depreciation time is for toys and make your determinations appropriately.


    You might already know this stuff. You really should know all this stuff already if you have a large collection. Really though, behind a house and car, it is entirely feasible for your toy collection to rival the dollar worth of your wife/girlfriend’s jewelry. You don’t have to plan to keep your toys forever, but an asset is an asset. Properly value yours and one day if you decide to leave the hobby, you might have a small pile of money with which to walk out with.

    If your collection is worth more than $100, insure it. Most likely, you’re covered under an existing policy. The point as a responsible collector is to know and always be informed. It’s just as important to know how to make your claim and how to get your money as it is to know that you are insured.

    My apartment was burglarized in November, and $20k in stuff was stolen from me. Thankfully, none of my Transformers were taken or destroyed. I did lose an entire Marvel Legends X-Men collection (literally ALL of them, from the beginning). Thankfully it was those figures that went and not my TFs. I learned all this from experience though. I admit that I did NOT know enough ahead of time.

    I was lucky that my policy worked to my favor. Here’s your opportunity to be smart. Make sure your toys are covered so that when something poopy and unexpected happens, you don’t even have to bat an eye in worry.

    I know some folks on here who work for some of these companies and hopefully they can confirm or correct some of my statements."
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
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