The Hot Wheels Garage: 20 April 2011

April 20, 2011.--Saturday, 16 April 2011 is going to go down in history for Central North Carolina. Unfortunately, not for any good reasons. In case you're not "in the know" about what took place here recently, we were hit by an absolutely vicious storm cell that produced a record number of tornadoes (63+), lightning strikes, hail and just general chaos. I literally watched a black funnel cloud form, zip down to the ground and back into the sky, then touch down once a full-blown tornado. This took place LESS than 3/4 of a mile from my back yard.

A day later, I toured the affected areas here where I live, and in the state's capital of Raleigh. The damage to some neighborhoods just absolutely left my jaw hanging. Entire houses were lifted off their foundations and blown into timbers, and the family's possessions with it. Mobile home parks were destroyed, with a truly saddening loss of life. Trees and power lines were effortlessly ripped down. Even houses that may have survived the blow are going to be unlivable, due to the damage. They'll have to be torn down and rebuilt.

So, where am I going with all of this? Insurance. Does your homeowner's insurance cover your diecast or collectibles collection? Have you had it appraised and valued? Do you have a photographic record of it? If the answer to the previous questions are "no", or "I'm not sure", then I highly recommend you find out as soon as you can. My point is, you simply never know when the unthinkable can happen. Most homeowner's insurance policies will cover your collection, but you NEED TO MAKE SURE, and find out HOW MUCH they'll cover! If it's not enough to cover the value, then I highly recommend you take out an additional policy to ensure you get back what you've put into it. Renter's insurance falls under the same guidelines: You need to FIND OUT and be sure of what's covered, what's not, how much you'll get back, and what kinds of losses are applicable.

Too many times, we tend to get caught up in the seriousness of life itself, and we forget to cover all the bases. And, that's ok...that's called priorities. But, I also know that I've put a lot of money and time into my Redline collection (and my newer stuff as well), and I'd hate to know that there's nothing backing it up in the event of a natural disaster, or otherwise. I'd like to know that I'm at least covered for the majority of the collection, in case we go through something like this again.

Where do you start? Contact your homeowner's insurance company and ask the questions that need to be asked. Find out for sure, so you can have that peace of mind. The same goes for those with Renter's Insurance: ASK THE QUESTIONS! If you're just renting without insurance (which I don't recommend at all, but it is what it is!), then you can simply Google "Collectibles Insurance" and see a host of reputable companies that will accommodate your insurance needs. HOWEVER: do your homework, and investigate the company before you start writing checks! Google their name and see what comes up. Call the Better Business Bureau in the state in which they operate from, or even the Chamber of Commerce. If they have no information on the company you're considering, find one that IS affiliated with them!

The bottom line is, we all work hard, so we can play hard. We're sinking some pretty good money into these collections of ours, and it only makes sense to protect our investment. In today's economy, it can be a struggle for some to continue collecting, as disposable income is at a historically low level across the country. Can you imagine having to start over after losing it all? Could you even afford to? Would you even WANT to? Think about it.

Until next month...

~Neal Giordano Founder/Editor

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