Safes, Security & Insurance for Coin Collections
Although nobody wants to think about it, the inevitable may happen, and your prized coin collection could be lost. Follow these simple steps to maximize the protection of your coin collection.
No coin collector wants to think about what would happen to their valued coin collection if their home is burglarized or burnt to the ground. Unfortunately, reality dictates that we need to deal with an uncertain future. Protecting your coin collection from fire and thieves is a priority for any serious coin collector. Investing in the correct amount of insurance, security equipment, and systems, coupled with common sense, will ensure that your coin collection will be there when you need it in retirement or that your heirs will be able to enjoy your coin collection for generations to come.
Buying the right safe for your coin collection can be a simple and easy process if you know where to begin. A safe provides essential protection from two threats: fire and burglary. Fireproof safes are constructed to provide the maximum protection for its contents in the case that your home goes up in flames. Unfortunately, they are not designed to withstand the threats that a burglar may impose.
Conversely, burglar-resistant safes are designed to protect your coin collection from thieves. Most models of burglar-resistant safes also offer some degree of fire protection. Odds have it that your coin collection will most likely encounter a threat from a burglar than from fire. Therefore, a burglar-resistant safe is your best bet.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent organization that conducts unbiased tests on consumer products. According to the UL website, they rate burglar resistance of safes as follows:
- TOOL-RESISTANT SAFE TL-15 BURGLARY: Withstands a 15 min. frontal attack with common motorized devices and hand tools.
- TOOL-RESISTANT SAFE TL-30 BURGLARY: Withstands a 30 min. frontal attack with a broader variety of tools
- TORCH AND TOOL RESISTANT SAFE TRTL-30X6 BURGLARY: Withstands a 30 min. attack on all sides using a wide variety of tools and cutting torches.
The better the burglar-resistant rating on the safe, the more you will pay for it. Remember to bolt your safe to the floor since a few guys with a moving dolly can easily remove a safe weighing over 1,000 pounds and then open it back at their hide-out.
Lastly, there are two types of locks available on safes today: the standard mechanical combination lock and the modern electronic lock. Although the contemporary electronic lock will add about $150 to the cost of the safe, it is well worth the investment given that it is more difficult to pick, and you can change the combination yourself without calling a locksmith.
The first line of security will be a home alarm system that is monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by the alarm service company. Many people have home security alarm systems, and therefore placing the security company's sign in front of your house is another deterrent to would-be intruders. Also, include the fire detection package in your home security system. The sooner the fire company is alerted to a fire in your house, the quicker it will be put out, and the safer your coins will be.
Make sure you spend the extra money on a security system that uses the cellular telephone network in case the attackers cut your cable TV or telephone line in an effort to disarm the security system. Some expensive and more sophisticated safes include sensors that can be connected to your home alarm system in case an intruder eludes the other security sensors in your home.
A safe deposit box at a bank is the ultimate protection for your most valuable coins. Although more expensive than a home safe, the annual rental fee will be more than offset for the peace of mind you will have to know your best and most expensive coins are experiencing the ultimate protection. Rates vary from bank to bank, and sometimes discounts are provided for existing customers.
Depending upon your level of coin collecting, do not have coin magazines, coin newspapers, and coins themselves delivered to your home address. Rent a post office box at your local post office so that your letter carrier does not know that you are a coin collector. Additionally, if you ever leave to go out of town and a neighbor retrieves your mail for you, they will not know that you are a coin collector either.
Be careful who you tell that you are a coin collector. Do not talk to strangers about your coin collecting hobby. Keep your coin collecting books and materials out of common sight in your house so that friends and visitors are not aware of your coin collecting hobby. Additionally, do not make any indication on your house or car that you are a coin collector. For example, a vanity license plate that reads "ILUVCOINS" is not a good idea.
Finally, be careful what you post, like, and follow on social media. Nothing is secret on the Internet, and these actions will be linked to your social media accounts. If you want to participate in coin collecting groups on social media, create a second account with a pseudo name for that purpose. For example, a Facebook account with the name of "BobsCoins" will help hide your identity.
Most basic homeowner insurance policies will not cover the loss of a coin collection due to fire or burglary. In order to protect your coin collection from loss due to fire or burglary, additional insurance will be needed. There are two ways to insure your coin collection. The first is to add an insurance rider to your homeowner's insurance policy. The second, and usually cheaper, is to buy a separate insurance policy from a company specializing in insuring collections. Members of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) enjoy discounted insurance rates from an insurance company that specializes in insuring coin collections.
Finally, catalog your collection, and keep detailed records and receipts of your coin purchases. Do not store your documents in your safe with your collection. If the entire safe is taken, so will your records. You will need these to make an insurance claim.
Another way to protect your records is to scan and store them on a different computer that is located outside your home or purchase encrypted online storage on the Internet. Conversely, you can email your scanned files to your own email account and then move them to a saved folder. That way, they will be stored in the cloud and protected from a catastrophic loss.
Author: James M Bucki