How to choose the perfect appraiser for your property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other valuables

appraiserIf you have highly valuable, treasured property or possessions, you may need to get them appraised for insurance purposes. Many insurance carriers will insist on accurate valuation of property, art, antiques, jewelry, and other items so they can ensure the correct level of coverage and premium payment.

When you’re seeking out a good appraiser, here are some areas to consider:

Talk to your friends and colleagues

If you know other people who need to insure high-value items, talk to them about their experiences. Get recommendations on good appraisers and create a shortlist.

Look at professional qualifications

There are a variety of professional accreditations and qualifications depending on the fields an appraiser trains in. These include:

  • International Society of Appraiser’s credentials for fine art, antiques, and personal property.
  • A diploma in gemology for jewelry appraisal.
  • Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice exam for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Principles of Valuation courses for members of the American Society of Appraisers.
  • Property appraisers should have one of the following designations from the Appraisal Institute — MAI Designation, SRPA Designation, SRA Designation, AI-GRS Designation, AI-RRS Designation.

There are various other exams and certifications available. Always check an appraiser’s qualifications to ensure they’re qualified to provide expert advice.

Check if they’re members of professional appraiser organizations

There are several industry bodies for appraisers. They include:

Many of these websites have membership directories for their appraisers.

Professional appraisers are required to uphold a strong code of ethics, including:

  • Providing truly independent valuation services, with no external influences.
  • Have no outside interest in the valued item, other than as providing a professional service.
  • Only carry out appraisal work in their area of expertise.
  • Consider all relevant factors when arriving at a valuation.
  • Treat and document property with the right level of care and respect.
  • Ensure personal remuneration and pay is independent of the value of property being appraised.

Interview your shortlist

When you have a shortlist of appraisers, call each one and ask questions about their area of expertise, qualifications, professional standards, and membership of industry bodies. Get a feel for what each appraiser is like and use that to decide which one would be right for your needs.

Remember that valuations change with time, many carriers will require updated valuations on a regular basis.

As always, if you have any questions about your scheduled property or how to get your property appraised, we are a phone call away!

Mary McGrath
Personal Lines Manager


Are You Protecting Your Invaluable Collections?

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreOver the years, you may have developed a knowledge and love of wine and picked up a few special bottles, which turned into a few more and, before you knew it, you had an extensive – and expensive – wine collection.  What would happen if there was a flood in your home or you experienced a power outage that impacted your temperature-controlled cedar wine cellar? 

From wine to art to fine jewelry to exotic cars and yachts, many people fail to recognize these items that they enjoy for their aesthetic or leisurely qualities as the valuable investments they truly are and therefore, don’t properly protect them.   

Additionally, as people do estate planning, they also often overlook outlining their plans for these non-traditional valuables, like an antique jewelry collection or Bentley.

Here are five tips to ensure you properly protect your collections:

  • Secure Specialized and Periodic Appraisals: Make sure the person appraising your items has   expertise in your type of collectible so you get the most accurate appraisalRe-appraise your collectibles every two to three years and make sure you share them with your financial advisor, insurance company, tax attorney and estate planner so they can understand the value of your collection and the potential risks and benefits within your overall portfolio as well as any implications to your charitable giving wishes or estate planning.
  • Keep a Detailed Inventory: Document your collectibles, where and when they were purchased and for how much.  Update every time a new item is added to the collection and ensure there’s a complete, properly appraised inventory at all times as well as information on where certificates of authenticity are housed.
  • Assemble a Smart and Specialized Advisory Team Early: Work with an insurance firm, financial planner, tax attorney and estate planner who have expertise protecting and planning for the issues associated with these non-traditional investments.  It’s important to do this early, as your collection could have implications on your overall wealth, taxes and estate plans as it grows or diminishes in value.
  • Properly Insure your Collectibles: Make sure you choose an insurance company with expertise in providing coverage for your unique collection and coverage options that would truly account for their value.   These prized collections often mistakenly get tacked onto an existing homeowner’s insurance policy with very limited coverage that would never provide the value they truly hold if they needed to be replaced.
  • Make an Early Succession Plan: Whether you want to hand down your fine art collection to your son, donate it to a museum or have it auctioned off for charity, be sure to work with your team to detail your plans and to get their input on how to properly include them in your estate planning. 

By treating your collectibles like your other assets, you can enjoy your passions and ensure their potential returns and risks are managed and that they’re properly protected.  This will allow you – and your loved ones –to enjoy your collections now and in the future.

Mary McGrath

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management

Mary McGrath

Tips on Protecting Your Wine Collection

Tips on Protecting Your Wine CollectionTips on Protecting your Wine Collection

A common mistake of port lovers is not properly protecting their collection. Whether you’re collecting antique cars, jewelry, fine art, or wine; it’s pertinent that these investments are covered with insurance.

When you’ve invested a large sum of money into a wine collection, a standard homeowner insurance policy will not suffice. More often than not, standard policies cap itemized coverage. This means that only a fraction of your ports will be protect from unforeseen events. Although many wine collectors go through excessive measures of collecting their ports (e.g. temperature controlled storage, security systems, and back-up power sources), events out of your control do happen.

Tips on Protecting your Wine Collection:

Tip #1: Hire an appraiser to evaluate the value of your wine collection. Then, create an inventory with up-to-date values on each wine. This will speed up the claims process, in the event that the wine bottles are damaged or destroyed by a fire, theft, etc.

Tip #2: Store your wine collection in a temperature controlled area. If you plan to store your port in a cellar or storage facility, ensure that it meets the following requirements:

  • Consistent temperature of 55 to 60 degrees
  • Away from light
  • Connected to a powerful generator
  • Humidity levels should be between 60% to 80% (high humidity may cause mold and low humidity can cause dry corks and air seepage
  • Constructed of materials that are resistant to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
  • Bottles should be laid on their side to ensure that oxygen does not enter the bottle

Tip #3: Insure your wine collection with an agency that specializes in high value items. SRFM’s wine collection program insures collections worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, their programs cover a wide spectrum of perils, including coverage for losses due to power outage or mechanical breakdown of heating, cooling, and humidity control equipment and more.

Sinclair’s Private Client Group division works with several clients who have an extensive wine collection in their home. We understand the value of such a collection and the need for specialized insurance to protect against fire, theft, flood, and breakage in addition to unique exposures that can cause a significant loss. Give one of Sinclair’s professionals a call at 203.265.0996.

Source: Wine Mag

High-End Home Insurance: Re-examine Your Coverage After Moving

High-End Home Insurance Re-examine Your Coverage After MovingHigh-End Home Insurance: Re-examine Your Coverage After Moving

Moving homes is an exciting and also highly stressful time. It requires a lot of work, planning and organization. Not to mention years and months of planning and preparation. As you upgrade to your new, beautiful home, make sure you take the time to have it fully assessed to get the best insurance protection possible.

High-end homes require highly specialized insurance not available in the usual standard policy. Sprawling penthouses, estates, ranches, coastal retreats all require high-end insurance to protect its valuable assets. Here are few other policies to keep in mind when moving into your new high-end abode.

Fine art insurance. Over the years, you may have amassed a beautiful collection of art that now graces your home. While your homeowners insurance may include a limited amount of coverage for fine art, it most likely will not be enough in the event your collection is damaged or stolen. A fine arts floater is a crucial aspect of an over high end home insurance program. It is also an aspect that can be easily overlooked.

Wine collection insurance. The same principles of insuring fine art apply to a high end wine collection. There are a number of mishaps that can occur, including losses due to a mechanical breakdown of heating, cooling or humidity control equipment or fire, theft flood and breakage.

Jewelry insurance. Jewelry is another overlooked item that is often inadequately insured in high end homes. What began as a few heirloom pieces has slowly increased in value over the years to be a beautiful, sentimental and substantial collection.

Fine art, jewelry and wine collections also must be periodically assessed to insure they are sufficiently insured to cover their current value. Insuring your gold jewelry for example, on a price assess 10 years ago, wouldn’t cover replacement costs in the market today.

Sinclair Risk & Financial Management offers selected programs designed exclusively for our affluent clientele and their high value homes. These homeowners programs provide higher limits and broader coverage than standard policies and are designed for houses worth millions that often include expensive furnishings and cutting edge technology and equipment. Contact us today for more information. (877) 602-2305

How to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

How to Insure Valuables Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & MoreHow to Insure Valuables: Fine Art, Wine, Jewelry & More

As Hurricane Sandy rolls past the east coast, residents are grieving over the loss of their valuable possessions. Even as families pack up their luggage and travel to different destinations, they often leave their home and their valuables susceptible to theft. Although your home is covered by homeowners insurance, your valuable possessions inside may only be covered by a small amount. Valuables may mean many different things to many different individuals, some find the value in sentimental objects and some find it in monetary objects. However regardless of your definition of valuable, you need to be aware and educated with the best ways to insure your valuables.

Nobody wants to see their fine art, wine, jewelry, exotic car, or silverware stolen only to find out that it cannot be replaced. Because general homeowners insurance does not cover very much of these valuables, you will need to speak with an agent and purchase additional coverage. The most common policy on how to insure valuables is the personal articles floater (PAF). Although PAF varies with every carrier, it generally means it is a separate or supplemental policy added to your homeowner policy in order to protect your valuables against theft or damages.

When purchasing a PAF you will need to create an inventory which includes the name of the item, a picture and its monetary worth. In order to compute the item’s value you may have an appraiser look and examine it. Although this may seem costly, it will ultimately it will be very beneficial in the event of a loss. This will ensure you scheduled value of the possession when filing a claim.

There is also blanket coverage which is often recommended for smaller possession, such as a less valuable piece of jewelry. If you do decide to purchase blanket coverage instead you do not need your possessions to be appraised. However, blanket coverage does not guarantee that you will be covered for the full amount you purchased the item for.

Sinclair Insurance welcomes the opportunity to sit down with you and tell you more about the special programs we can develop just for you. At your convenience, please feel free to call us at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page.

High-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your Lifestyle

High-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your LifestyleHigh-Value Insurance: Match Your Coverage with Your Lifestyle

When you sit down to assess your finances, file tax returns, or examine your retirement fund, take a moment to look at your lifestyle. The lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to provide is a huge luxury. But high end luxury lifestyles also come with risk too. In risk assessments it is essential to examine your lifestyle, from your classic car, your exotic auto to your wine collection, yacht & any other hobbies you enjoy. Ensure you are properly protected with our high-value insurance.

Own an exotic or classic car? Purchasing an exotic or collector car can be a fulfillment of a dream for many. Whether you are looking for a restoration project or to speed down the highway, classic and exotic cars require significant dollar investments. And because of the high end luxury design of the car, its unique qualities also requires specialized exotic car insurance.

Art collector? Your existing coverage might include some coverage- however it is almost certain that as an art collector you will need supplemental art insurance to protect your investment. Make sure to get your art regularly appraised so you know their financial value and the amount of coverage you’ll need.

Diamonds & pearls? Jewelry insurance is an often overlooked item- sadly, many do not think to insure it until it is lost or stolen. The price of gold changes constantly, and your antique ring or necklace may be worth a lot more than it was 20 years ago. That would mean it’s more expensive to replace as well. That is why jewelry insurance is crucial.

Yacht owner? Among watercraft, yachts are a high end, distinctive type of private vessel that requires detailed knowledge and specialized coverage. Yachts need specific coverage that standard marine policies don’t always offer. When your vessel is a motor yacht, mega yacht, or something in between, it is essential to get specific Yacht Insurance coverage that provides you with full coverage of your vehicle.

For more than four decades, Sinclair Risk & Financial Management has forged relationships with insurance providers that specialize in providing high-end coverage. We have access to particular markets that enable us to craft custom homeowners and auto insurance programs that reflect the true value of your property, your risk profile, and your personal circumstances throughout the world. Contact us today for more information about our high-value insurance programs. 


What Is Wine Collection Insurance & Why Do I Need it?

What Is Wine Collection Insurance & Why Do I Need it?What is Wine Collection Insurance & Why Do I Need it?

You come home from a vacation to find your climate-controlled wine cellar has malfunctioned. Wine bottles are uncorked from the extreme heat and fine wine is spilling all over the floor. Or you may come home to find your house has been vandalized or ransacked. Hopefully you have insurance to protect you against such risks to your home- but what about your wine collection?

Your collection faces many risks and exposures that a homeowner’s policy doesn’t always cover. Breakage is the most common liability for wine collections. Fire, flood, theft, and in-transit (the shipping of wine from place to place) are other sources of liability.

A lesser known area of specialty coverage, wine collection insurance is essential to protecting your investment, especially large collections. Ideally, a wine collection, like fine art and jewelry, should be separately insured against mishaps such as fire, breakage and theft.

There are several options available to insure you get the best protection possible for your collection. Most policies limit values for temperature change and other losses to $10,000. At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we have programs that can insure collections worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In insuring your collection, it is important to get coverage that covers a wide number of perils. You can choose a blanket coverage option to cover your entire collection under one limit, itemized coverage for your more valuable wines, or a combination of the two options.

Sinclair’s Private Client Group division works with several clients who have an extensive wine collection in their home. We understand the value of such a collection and the need for specialized insurance. We also work with insurance companies and wine experts to offer comprehensive wine protection insurance programs that include not only securing the proper insurance coverages but also implementing effective loss control services and inventory systems. Contact us today for more information.