Insurance and Documenting your weapons


October 18, 2006, 11:38 PM
I have a fireproof safe. I have a lot of firearms now and I was wondering if you guys document your firearms or insure them. I know it puts them on the grid more but if some type of harm were to come to them I may not be able to replace them. I have pictures of my weapons contained in several locations including a safe so that if there is ever a need for them I can get them at a moments notice. Do you guys do this at all? Or do you think its a good idea?

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October 19, 2006, 12:01 AM
I think it would be a good idea to photograph your weapons. I know some people even videotape them (or maybe DVD these days).
You might also consider keeping a record of each weapon's serial number. If stolen, you stand a better chance of assuring you get back your 1894 Winchester (for example) than someone else's. Makes it easier for the police that way.

Bob R
October 19, 2006, 12:08 AM
I have a CD with pictures labeled with make, model, caliber, serial number. I have one in my safe and one with a trusted friend in his safe.


October 19, 2006, 12:11 AM
Case in point, my roommate and I just spent a recent Saturday afternoon photographing our guns precisely because of insurance reasons. If you have a digital camera, it is easy, and cheap to do. All we did was snap the photos, write down the Make, Model and Serial Number, then we went to Wally-World, printed out the pictures on their in-store digital camera processor (52 pics @ $.13/pic = 6.76, which was way cheaper than a conventional roll of film) and then wrapped the pics in thier description sheets, put them in an envelope and put that in his safety deposit box. Easy, and useful if they ever get stolen.

10 Ring Tao
October 19, 2006, 03:48 AM
I went through my house and did a walking/talking tour of everything of value, getting 360 degree shots and talking briefly about each item. Purchase price, features, accessories, etc. That and close up pictures got burned to a DVD and is in the fireproof safe with the other important documents.

October 19, 2006, 03:56 AM
The best thing to do is take digital photos of yourself with each weapon in hand (that removes doubt that you actually owned them and didn't just download the pics from the internet) and then make a digital record of the serial numbers and values. Then upload all this info to an online storage site (like you storage space you get with your AOL account). They are not visible to anyone and even if your whole house and everything in it burns to the ground you can retrieve this info from any computer anywhere as long as you know your account name and passwod.

Maybe even encrypt the information onto a CD that you keep in your car or in a safe deposit box.

October 19, 2006, 09:29 AM
I take photos of the transaction forms, receipts, the gun from several angles including a close-up of the serial number and other info stamped/printed on the gun itself. Then I burn them to a CD, keep one copy in a safe and leave another copy with a family member.

I figure the forms combined with the photos back up the purchase and ownership.

As far as insurance goes they're listed as a combined value like jewelry.

October 19, 2006, 09:47 AM
I went the digital camera route. Photographed and described each gun, with serial number. Burned the information to 3 CDROM's and kept one at home, one at work and left one with my parents.

Big Calhoun
October 19, 2006, 10:00 AM
I've documented my weapons just for legal purchases. Basically just took pictures of each firearm, watermarked it with their serial number, and I also have scanned copies of the original purchase reciepts with the serial numbers on there also. If they got stolen, the monetary issue isn't that great. I'm more worried about them being used in a crime and me getting a visit from the local PD.

October 19, 2006, 10:03 AM
I have an Excel spreadsheet with details on each weapon and an inserted digital picture or 2 of each item.

This is on a couple of CD ROMs at the bank, along with a copy of my NRA Arms Care insurance policy and I update them every time I add or delete a gun from the collection.

The NRA insurance is probably not the cheapest out there, but I've never heard any complaints about getting a claim paid and that's worth some to me.

Big Calhoun
October 19, 2006, 11:25 AM
Something else I forgot to mention. If anyone uses a PDA, there are good apps like E-Wallet that allow you to save 'virtual' copies of card numbers, medications, flights, lists of all sorts. I also keep a copy of the serial numbers there. Just another idea for documentation.

M2 Carbine
October 19, 2006, 11:58 AM
I keep several copies of a Excell spread sheet on all the guns.
I also have .jpg pictures of the guns including close ups of the serial numbers.

My home owner's insurance is replacement cost, the only way to go.
In 95 I lost 7 guns in a fire along with about $25,000 in other gun stuff. It was all covered at the current replacement cost.

Matter of fact a $150 building was replaced with a $5,000 building.:)

Take photos of EVERYTHING you own, whether you think you need it or not.
That $150 building was paneled, carpeted and insulated but from the outside it just looked like a old tin building that need a paint job. But because of a couple interior photos showing that it was fixed up a little, the insurance company bought me a nice new paneled, insulated and carpeted Morgan building.

October 19, 2006, 02:35 PM
yeah, Dad and I have a record of all of the guns on an Excel spreadsheet with serials and identifiers for all of them, the insurance company didn't want one, just said to keep a couple of them in safe places. Can't count on a safe, the Oklahoma National Stockyards exchange building burned years ago, and when they opened one of the vaults (two days later) it all went up due to the oxygen hitting the still hot materials...another company waited a week to open theirs so it would be went up too. These were vaults, not safes, and even the ones that waited a month found much of the material somewhat charred.


October 19, 2006, 03:29 PM
My home owner's insurance is replacement cost, the only way to go.

Be careful with that however. In Texas for example the replacement cost coverage for contents is 60% of the value of the dwelling.

If you have a 100k house then you get 60k contents coverage.

In a total loss of your home (fire for example) would $60,000 replace all your towels, clothes, TVs, couches, AND firearms?

For most people it would not. Go around and add up the replacement cost for every plate, fork, pot, couch, towel etc and you will be shocked.

M2 Carbine
October 19, 2006, 05:17 PM
But how would that compare to the other methods of the insurance company figuring what your stuff is worth?
If they depreciate much of my stuff I doubt I'd get anywhere near 60% of what new stuff would cost.

Thankfully my 4 losses weren't total losses but like house, barn and shop roof, odds and end stuff and the fire. All were replacement cost (minus detectable).

I would guess that the insurance company wouldn't have given me much money for 15-20 year old reloading equipment but instead they paid for all new goodies.:)

In any case I couldn't afford enough insurance to cover a total loss.

October 19, 2006, 05:49 PM
Make sure you have coverage for replacement cost and have them listed on a fine arts or valuables rider.

October 19, 2006, 08:48 PM
Warning - most homeowner's policies have a firearms/jewelry/cash/valuables exclusion such that the coverage for these items is minimal at best, probably only a couple of thousand $.

October 19, 2006, 09:12 PM
Make sure you have coverage for replacement cost and have them listed on a fine arts or valuables rider.

Well it sounds good but there are just some things you'll never get on a policy like that. Also to put high value items on a rider means you have to turn over the serial number, and I'm not crazy about that either.

And keep in mind that homeowners policies and the options available vary wildly from state to state. Also most of these policies limit the coverage ifthe item is not at the residence. What if you are at the range or a shooting competition away from home and something happens?

I have a 1918A2 BAR I paid $2800 for, you think they will insure me for replacement cost at a price I can afford? (Hint, they wouldn't even consider it).

You can't get replacement cost insurance on a car, motorcycle, boat, or any other non-real property (outside of Lloyds type policies, with the corresponding premiums) why would you expect to be able to get it on a firearm? It is extremely difficult to do, and very expensive.

M2 Carbine
October 19, 2006, 09:17 PM
I've heard that but I haven't seen a firearms exclusion. Mine (with different companies) have all had a $500-$1,000 limit on jewelry but nothing about firearms.
When I lost 7 guns in my shop fire the insurance company just took my word for what it would cost to replace them.

In any case it's a good idea to know what the exclusions on your policy are.
I just recently found out that flying machines aren't considered personal property.
So if my ultralight plane or parachute burns up in the barn it's not covered.:(

October 19, 2006, 09:19 PM

I have an additional $10,000 rider to cover my firearms and I never turned over any serial numbers. My agent said to just keep digital records and if my collection ever grew beyond $10,000 we would have to rewrite the rider. I also have a $200,000 rider for fine art and collectibles. The bad thing is the riders cause my insurance to go from $45 and month to $80 a month. Almost double.

October 19, 2006, 09:21 PM

October 19, 2006, 09:22 PM
The bad thing is the riders cause my insurance to go from $45 and month to $80 a month. Almost double.

That's very cool though. In Texas the standard homeowners policy that is approved by the State Board of Insurance (basically all HO policies sold here are exactly the same) is not so kind. You're lucky. It's costing me close to $600 a year for the coverage I need since I had to get a stand alone firearm policy.

Most Texas insurers don't offer riders for guns, and those that do have lots of restrictions.

October 19, 2006, 09:27 PM

$600 sounds good to me since I pay closer to $1000 but then property values are different here. My 1750 sq ft home is $325,000 here.

October 19, 2006, 09:29 PM
$600 sounds good to me since I pay closer to $1000

That $600 just for the $40,0000 NRA firearm policy :eek:

My homeowners is quite a bit higher since I live in "Tornado Alley".

October 19, 2006, 09:39 PM
Around here replacement value doesn't necassarily mean that...Oklahoma Farm Bureau paid about 20,000 on a house that cost about 80,000 to rebuild (only half blew away) and didn't cover but about half of the vehicle damage on comp. That was the case with our neighbor about 4 years ago when a tornado hit his house, he got a lawyer that was pretty sure he could get more out of them, don't know what ever came of it though for sure, but from what I've heard, he ended up eating most of it.


October 19, 2006, 10:00 PM
My USAA policy, including guns and all, replacement cost, etc., comes to less than $300/year. Odd.

October 21, 2006, 06:23 PM
Thanks for all the feedback guys, you have definetly given me some great ideas for documentation. I usually take pictures and make backup copies of all the pictures and documents and put them in my safe deposit box and keep the orignals at home with me.

October 23, 2006, 08:59 AM
My friend who I go shooting with is in the insurance business, and he said that most basic Homeowners policies have a certain limit for firearms. I check my policy and it is only $2,000. My collection is just under that level, so I am OK for now, but soon to go over that amount;) . Anybody with a significant collection should not just assume everything will be covered. Check with your insurance agent.

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