Insuring & Caring For Your Collection
Louise Tillotson has written a useful guide for the site with some tips on what to look for when insuring your Record and CD collection. Whilst primarily aimed at UK readers, there are some common sense items for everyone here. Please bear in mind that this is for information & guidance only and this site is making no recommendation on specific insurers. Also note that I can't be held responsible for the contents of external sites or links.
CLEANING, STORING AND INSURING YOUR RECORD COLLECTION
A well-kept record collection can be something to enjoy for many years. This guide tells you what you need to know so you can keep your collection in pristine condition, with tips on cleaning and storing the records.
Insurance and valuations
As with any valuable and potentially sought-after collection, you should consider insurance. If you have a standard home insurance policy, you may find that your collection is not covered. Some providers will allow you to insure a collection up to a certain value, but if you think this may not be enough you can also look at speciality insurance. Having both standard home insurance and speciality insurance is important, as the former will cover you in case your home is damaged as a result of someone breaking in to steal your collection, while the latter will cover the cost of the records themselves. Before you get your collection insured however, you’ll need to know how much it’s worth. Although you can value your records yourself, it’s better to get a specialist to do so. There may be slight defects in the sleeve or the vinyl which you miss, but a specialist is experienced in picking up even the most minor mark which could affect the value. Rest assured that if you do have to make a claim, the insurer will be more likely to pay out based on a valuation done by an expert than one you did yourself.
One more thing: If you plan on covering your collection using your standard contents insurance, it may be worth checking the small print with your provider. Some companies consider the collection a single item, whereas others see it as a collection of separate items. More Than offer very good single item cover for often just a few pounds a month, as do LV - although it’s always worth checking with your provider, as they may offer you a discount for being an existing customer. Obviously, if your provider considers it one single item, you need to make sure it is covered by their single item limit, but if your provider counts each individual record individually you will need a comprehensive record of each LP before most will pay out.
Storage and cleaning
How you store your records is extremely important as it dictates how well they keep their condition. Damp is a killer, as is heat or direct sunlight, so make sure you keep your collections away from extreme temperatures. The best position is on a shelf above the floor, against an internal wall, and away from windows, radiators and artificial lights. And make sure your records are stacked vertically to avoid any pressure on the discs. Laying them flat or on an angle will cause warping and, over time, breaking. If your records are wrapped in thin plastic when you buy them, it’s advisable to remove this as it can actually shrink over the years, causing warping. You can buy robust plastic sleeves specifically for records which will stand the test of time much better. It’s worth replacing the paper inner sleeve every so often (if it’s plain), as well as the outer plastic sleeve. This will ensure your record remains as pristine as the day it was pressed.
You should dust your collection regularly as dirt and dust can eventually corrode plastic sleeves and the record jackets themselves. If you don’t intend to play your records then a light dusting of the sleeves should be enough but if you take your records out, you should clean those too, using a soft cloth and, for dustier vinyl, distilled water. Finally, if you add to your collection over time, keep the receipts. You will need to inform your insurance provider if you buy anything of significant value for your collection. If you have speciality insurance as well as standard home insurance, both providers will need to be informed.
Louise Tillotson has written articles on many subjects within personal finance and insurance.