Philatelists know only too well the amount of effort that goes into building a great stamp collection. It takes time and patience, as well as money.

They also know the importance of preserving and protecting their collections, in archive-quality sleeves and albums and in low-humidity rooms where they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

But whether your collection holds high monetary value or simply high personal value, you also want to make sure it's properly insured against theft or damage.

You probably take excellent care of your collection under normal circumstances, but what would happen if your house was damaged in a fire, a gale or a flood? What if your home was burgled and your albums were stolen?

No amount of archive-quality plastic sleeves can protect your collection from unexpected perils like these. And without an adequate insurance policy, it could be very expensive to replace it.

Do’s and don’ts

In order to be sure your collection is fully protected, follow this simple checklist:

  • Don't assume your collection is covered by your existing home insurance policy. It might be partly covered, but its full value is unlikely to be protected.
  • Do review your home insurance policy to see what your limits are for contents coverage, specifically for collectables.
  • Do enquire about ‘personal possessions cover’, which can extend the standard protection offered by your policy up to clearly stated limits. It can also protect your collection outside of your home, for example in transit to an exhibition.
  • Don’t rule out taking out a special ‘all risks’ insurance policy that is designed to protect your stamp collection. It may come with a slightly higher price tag, but it will also offer the largest blanket of protection available.
  • Do have your collection professionally appraised, to find out how much it is worth. If you are trying to obtain a policy to cover its full value, your insurance provider will ask for documentation like this as evidence.
  • Do make an inventory of your collection. If you maintain a comprehensive list of every item, you have precise evidence of ownership in the event of a loss.
  • Don’t forget to tell your insurer if you keep your stamp albums in a fireproof and waterproof safe. It should reduce your premiums.
  • Do shop around to compare insurance quotes and level of cover, to ensure you are getting the best deal. Speaking to an insurance broker can be a very helpful when comparing quotes.
  • Do revisit your policy on a regular basis. Your collection's value is likely to increase over time, so you may need to upgrade your coverage to ensure that your investment is fully protected.

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The authors are contributors to the Amercian-based homeownersinsurance.com blog, which serves as a resource center for insurance consumers and home buyers