insuring your record collection

Insuring Your Record Collection


Every now and then you hear about an extensive record collection being damaged by flooding or fire. Who doesn’t remember Q-Tip‘s unreleased songs and record collection going up in flames in a 1998 house fire? It was all over the news.
And only last year, Wellington DJ Danny Lemon‘s extensive record collection was completely destroyed after an arsonist set fire to the storing facility where he stored a life time of collecting: about 8500 records, collected over 35 years, and boxes and boxes of cassette tapes with compilations and radio shows waiting to be archived.

Of course there are worse things that can happen, but losing the collection you have built up over so many years can be devastating. It is obvious that it will be nearly impossible to replace rare items, and those not so rare items which have special memories attached to them, because they were given to you by someone special, can possibly not be replaced at all.
Insuring your record collection will not get back the items lost, but it could give you some means to start rebuilding it.

But how do you go about insuring your record collection? And what does an insurer need from you?

To keep it simple, we’ll refer to household insurance in this article. (By household insurance, we mean the standard insurance that covers ‘personal property and contents’. Depending on your country of residence it could also be called home owners/renters insurance etc).

There are two things to start with:

  1. Check if your current household insurance covers the value of your collection.
    Usually, a record collection is covered by your household insurance, as long as it doesn’t exceed a certain value. Especially when you started out with a small collection, but now have a bigger collection, you’d want to check if everything is still covered. If not, you could either get extended coverage on your household insurance, or consider a different type of insurance.
  2. Find out exactly what your existing insurance is covering. Standard household insurance usually covers a standard amount per record (which might be lower than you’d expect!), regardless whether you purchased it for next to nothing or whether it cost you a small fortune. Sometimes if they do not cover a flat rate per item, they cover up to a maximum amount per item. So double check if that covers the value of the valuable items in your collection.

If you have a large collection and/or many valuable records, it could be a better option to get a separate policy, specifically for your collection. Shop around a bit: Talk to your insurance provider and get quotes from insurers specialized in collections to find one suitable for your needs.

insuring your record collection insuring your record collection

Once you have figured out what kind of insurance is suitable for your collection, you will need to find out what the insurance needs from you: Do they accept an estimate of the value of your collection? Do they need photos? Or a video of you flipping through your records? Will they send a surveyor to your house? Some insurers will accept an itemized list as ‘proof’ of the contents and value of your collection. Some will ask for it up front, some will only need to see it when a claim is made.

Now here’s where we might be able to help:
By documenting your collection online, you can access your collection from any computer or mobile device. If you have documented your collection on Discogs, you can export a file with all the items in your collection. Currently, the value fields themselves are not (yet) exported in the collection file, but by logging into your account and clicking the Text With Statistics button enter image description here you can always see the current estimated value of your collection (based on the last 10 sales on Discogs – using the Marketplace Sales History. If no sales history is available, then those items are not included in the estimated value). Check with your insurer if that is sufficient for them.

Of course we all hope that you will never need to use any of this information. It’s still worth registering your collection on Discogs though, as it allows you to check your collection on the go. I should check it myself the next time I go digging, as it will surely prevent me from accidentally bringing home the 3rd copy of The Way It Is. :)

Find more information on how to document your collection on Discogs here.

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  • Jul 21,2020 at 13:45

    The detriment is for very rare records that have not been sold (from Andre & Zero Plus to Watsky’s x-finity red vinyl), it adds only a big fat ‘0’ to your collection value and you would be “out” those monies. Any suggestions on how to fix that.

  • Oct 12,2019 at 10:50

    Maybe Universal Music Group should take this advice…

  • […] a price on something that is invaluable like music, but this feature can be handy. Especially for insurance reasons, as you will always be able to download a file with all items in your collection. Or in my […]

  • […] a price on something that is invaluable like music, but this feature can be handy. Especially for insurance reasons, as you will always be able to download a file with all items in your collection. Or in my […]

  • […] are many more benefits beyond being able to determine collection value. The collection is one of the key features of discogs that doesn’t get much recognition. A well […]

  • Sep 27,2015 at 18:52

    @SoLil thanks. I also passed on the feature request after writing the article. Hopefully they’ll get around devs will get around to it soon.

  • Sep 17,2015 at 19:53

    I asked about getting my collection insured and was told they needed a list. I started working on one. Spent TEN YEARS typing in MS Excel before I discovered this place. A much better list in my opinion!

    Slowly moving my collection over but, my point is, with a sizable collection this takes a lot of time. A lot of stuff can happen to a collection if I have to wait another 10 years.

    I think it’s the insurance company’s way of avoiding coverage while placing the burden of proof on the collector.

    Some form of ‘turbo listing’ would be really cool. Can’t wait to submit my list to the insurance agent and watch their eyes pop? Ha!

  • Sep 16,2015 at 15:10

    In The Netherlands OHRA insurance offer insurance policies for music collections. I have such an insurance, never needed luckily…; )))

  • Sep 15,2015 at 15:15

    Food for thought, as a budding collector I only have about 70 and I never even considered getting them insured. Thanks for the great advice.

  • Sep 15,2015 at 05:04

    Would it be possible to add functionality to include the min, median & max values in the export spreadsheet (along with possibly a percentage rating to indicate how likely it would be that the item would achieve its median value (in cases, for example, whereby the item originally sold for £100 but has since reduced over time and now trades for closer to £25).

    It would also be really useful if an option were to be made available to indicate which items in my collection are most in demand – i.e. I may own an item which 38 people have in their ‘want list’ – but the item has never previously sold on Discogs and therefore has a zero value. In cases such as this, Discogs, could apply an ‘estimated value’ to indicate the likely value the item might achieve on listing.

  • Sep 14,2015 at 23:10

    @imocd When I set out to write an article to make more people aware of the collection feature and how it can be used for insurance purposes, I read a lot of articles about insuring collections to find out what people around the world come across when they are trying to insure their collection. I read information in Discogs groups, collector’s websites and insurance companies’ sites and contacted insurers. I did indeed come across your article as well, and at that time I made note of mentioning that values are currently not included in the exported collection file as that is quite important for users to be aware of, (I also passed that on to Management again as I agree a feature like that would be very useful), and to mention the term Homeowners/Renters insurance along with Household insurance as that term was not familiar to me, being European. Any other similarities are unintentional, but I do see what you mean!

  • Sep 14,2015 at 18:05

    Previously wrote an [url=]article[/url], fairly similar to this one?, based on the same subject using Discogs as a tool to assist with the process.

  • Sep 14,2015 at 13:19

    @2tec You are correct, it only shows the estimated value based on Marketplace history. If there is no Marketplace history the value is not showing. This is explained further in the help document that I’m referring to in the last sentence, but I have edited the blog to avoid confusion. Thanks!

  • Sep 14,2015 at 11:35

    “clicking the Text With Statistics button you can always see the current estimated value of your collection”

    Isn’t this only true for items that have a market history? Does Discogs estimate the value of items with no sales history?

  • Sep 14,2015 at 11:02

    When I tried to insure my record collection, I let it slip that I am very-occasionally paid to play records out-and-about. Insurance company told me they can’t do home insurance in that case, that I’d need a special business-insurance setup (more expensive, naturally)…

  • Sep 14,2015 at 07:51

    Some insurance companies consider vinyls and CD’s / DVD’s as software! They will not accept including them in an ordinary household insurance. What to do?

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