Insure Your Vinyl Records With Help From The Discogs Collection

Look, I don’t want to fear monger here, but with this climate change thing crashing down around us we need to have a talk. Typhoons in Asia, fires in Europe and Western America, massive hurricanes in the Atlantic; these and other catastrophes are all enemies of your beloved music collection. So, let’s chat now to make sure we’re not kicking ourselves later. If a disaster hits, what’s the best way to ensure your entire collection is covered? If you read the title of this post, then you may already know; the Discogs Collection. Nowhere else can you have the most complete repository, including release variant, of what is in your collection.

flooding during hurricane katrina

You may be asking, why does information like the release variant matter? Well, my friend, because insurance companies will “…use the information you provided, and give the lowest damn value we can possibly justify for your item,” according to this Reddit post from a former insurance claim adjuster. Yeah, a little disheartening, I know. There’s a catch though if you’re diligent enough to take advantage of it. Take their toaster example:

  • If you said “toaster – $25”, we would have to be within -20% of that… so, we would find something that’s pretty much dead-on $20.01.
  • If you said “toaster- $200”, we’d kick it back and say NEED MORE INFO, because that’s a ridiculous price for a toaster (with no other information given.)
  • If you said “toaster, from Walmart”, you’re getting that $4.88 one.
  • If you said “toaster”, and all your other kitchen appliances were Jenn Air / Kitchenaid / etc., you would probably get a matching one.
  • If you said “Proctor Silex 42888 2-Slice Toaster from Walmart, $9”, you just got yourself $9.
  • If you said “High-end Toaster, Stainless Steel, Blue glowing power button” … you might get $35-50 instead. We had to match all the features that were listed.

Now we’re talking! If you’re able to provide more precise notes, you’ll get a more precise reimbursement without having to worry about getting short-changed.

Considering a vinyl record collection, an insurance adjuster could look at your notes this way:

  • If you said “Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – $10”, we’d give you about $8
  • If you said “Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – $100”, we’d say NEED MORE INFO, because that seems incredibly high for a vinyl record (remember that the adjuster is trying to get as low a reimbursement as possible)
  • If you said “Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon used”, we’d give you about $10 because that’s what it’s frequently sold for in record shops
  • If you said “Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon”, and all your other records were used/vintage you’d see about $10
  • If you said “Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – Harvest ‎– SHVL 804. Original form of the release, it has solid light blue prism LP picture labels with silver lettering, later forms have an empty prism. It has a gatefold sleeve, and there are three known variations of the original blue-tinged sleeve. Originally delivered with 2 posters and 2 stickers.”, we’d give you the median value of $151.

As long as you’re keeping your Discogs Collection up to date, you’ll be covering the most accurate index of your collection. To make this process even easier we have an export to CSV tool built in. If your insurance company needs a full list of the items in your collection, you can simply download the data and send it over.

I know collectors with collections worth a pretty nice used car. You wouldn’t want all that value to just disappear, or be woefully under-reimbursed. It would be adding insult to injury. Take the time to make sure your collection is an accurate and up-to-date index and if you don’t already, consider getting some insurance for that beautiful treasure of yours.

Get Started

Disclaimer: Always check with your insurance company to get the scoop on your policy details. Some policies require additional fees for collectible or rare collections. Many will require more than just the Discogs Collection data, such as timestamped pictures, though the Collection is a great index to have regardless.

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Steven Williams
Steven is a Discogs content strategist and indie radio host residing in Portland, OR. Formerly a member of P.H.C., a found-object free jazz collective, he now spends his spare time learning bluegrass tunes on the mandolin.
  • Jan 25,2020 at 22:04

    Climate change is going to cause the loss? Yeah okay…

  • Oct 1,2018 at 02:43

    I have my collection secured. It grows day by day. The problem with this is that not everything in discogs has a value, so the value of our collections is always less than the real one.

  • Sep 27,2018 at 08:59

    Hey Al_E_Kat:

    I think your throwing money away if you choose to insure. Just view my points in the prior posts. The original post states that the insurance will only give you 80% value. To repurchase, you’d need to factor in tax and shipping which could easily be 10-75% depending on variable factors. My average is around 30% of the cost as shipping.

  • Sep 27,2018 at 08:54

    Hey Steve:

    The only issue with the Min/Med/Max estimate is that many Discogs listings and thus subsequent sales include incomplete items (ie box sets where seller is just selling Disc 1). That will skew value as I’ve seen many listings for Mosaic boxes like that. Princeton record exchange actually bought an entire collection of Mosaic boxes where the owner tossed the box and the booklet for all items.

  • Sep 26,2018 at 22:24

    Could you suggest some Property and Casualty insurers that would insure record collections. I have found that I have no coverage for my vinyl, CDs or tapes!

  • Sep 26,2018 at 01:56

    Furthermore, make sure you get a rider for flood insurance and water damage like from a hose during a fire.

  • Sep 26,2018 at 01:54

    Wait till they factor in depreciation on that 50 year old record. Collectors would say it would be non-applicable but I’m sure the insurance company would see otherwise.

    I don’t know if they can structure a policy around ‘replacement cost’ because it may cost just as much to ship certain items especially if it’s coming from overseas which of course you’d want to buy more insurance.

    Automobile insurance is typically 4% of the cost of the vehicle annually. In 25 years, you would have bought another vehicle in the time you’ve probably used 2.5 vehicles through their effective 10 year life. Don’t be poor from insurance especially when in that 10th year, they may only pay you 5K but you still pay 1K in premiums.

    My advice is to pay in cash and take that 4% and invest especially if insurance is going to dicker on the payout if something happens. For the collector, by on the high side of the road and not in a flood plain; keep a fire extinguisher in all rooms; don’t put a bathroom over a collection; and build redundancies into your security system, and don’t call attention to yourself or whereabouts.

  • Sep 26,2018 at 00:22

    Any update on being able to download the prices (Min / Med / Max) when you export the file? I recently tried this and the info exports but not the prices unfortunately – which you need to provide to insurance.

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