As the proud owner of an antique or collectable, you will want to enjoy the item for as long as possible. Unfortunately it is necessary to prevent the item from being taken from you unlawfully – stolen.
It is both sensible and prudent to consider the various ways in which valuables can be protected, and in this article we look at three important areas namely Prevention, Insurance and Retrieval.
Beware there is a thief about
Whilst no system or advice is 100% reliable, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the chances of burglary happening to you and to convince the criminals to look for easier pickings elsewhere. So whether you are a major collector or a part time enthusiast security should be a priority.
Do not be afraid to ask your local police force for advice on how to protect your property. Many security firms today employ ex-cons to provide insight into the criminal mind, and how they choose which victim to target. Try to imagine what the criminals are thinking about when they are deciding how to part you from your belongings.
See The Light
Security lights that are sensitive to human presence have proven to deter the opportunist nighttime thief. Lights on timer switches are also a good deterrent.
It was once said that an Englishman’s house is his castle. Most modern houses preclude the use of moats and draw bridges, but some form of obstacle is a good idea. Barbed wire fences or even thorny hedges will make many criminals think twice before targeting your property. Do not rely too much on walls for security, because many burglars are fairly young and agile, and can scale walls with ease and then use them to provide cover.
Remember we live in a crazy world and if barbed wire fences or similar do not carry a warning notice, the prospective criminal could end up taking legal action against you if they cut themselves trying to steal from you. It may go against all your instincts, but don’t give these unscrupulous rats any opportunity of benefiting at your expense.
A burglar alarm is not just for the benefit of your insurance premiums. Investing in a good system can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful attempt on your property. Developments in technology have seen many alarm systems being twinned with CCTV systems, which are no longer, the preserve of commercial premises. Cameras and technology continue to advance and now cameras are small and practically invisible, though you may decide that there is little point in having a deterrent that is invisible!
Keep An Inventory
Keep an inventory of your collection. A detailed description and photograph of the item will help the police ten-fold if the worst does happen and your antique or collectable item goes missing. It will also convince your insurance company that this is a legitimate claim worthy of their full attention.
Digital photography downloaded to a computer or CD disk avoids the need to keep a lot of photograph albums. Also you do not have to be David Bailey either, a clear shot of the item is all that is necessary. If you don’t have a photo of the item try to provide police with a detailed description of the piece.
Rarity4u keep and store digitised information about all the items we sell, so we may be able to provide the necessary information to you, the police or your insurance company.
We can offer no advice on which insurance company you should choose. Instead we highlight what you should look for in the premium small print to make sure that you are adequately covered if the unspeakable should happen.
International tension, combined with an unpredictable stock market has resulted in the insurance companies (who cannot compensate their losses with the stock market) to increase their fees. Shop around for the best deal for you. Don’t always go for the lowest price, but always read the small print. Ask your insurance company about anything you are not sure about and if necessary ask them to put their explanation in writing. Do all this before you sign on the dotted line.
Make sure you would be reimbursed at the right rate should anything happen.
Double-check your existing policies to make sure you are properly covered.
Are you still liable for compensation, even if you are not adequately insured? Some insurance companies may refuse to pay out anything at all if they can argue that the insurance fee was even just a couple of percent lower than the appropriate rate.
Did you know that most people do not know the exact limitations of their coverage?
Did you know that your insurance policy might cover you only enough to replace an antique with a new version of the same item? Should someone damage a very expensive antique piece of furniture for instance, some policies provide that it may be replaced with a new replica worth a fraction of the cost of the original.
Did you know that if you loose some very expensive jewel some insurance policies do not include ‘mysterious disappearance’?
Did you know that the same applies for the case of accidentally breaking a cameo for example or other stones in jewellery?
When you buy new valuables, do not hesitate to contact your insurance company and ask them to explain the following points:
- The full scope of the insurance coverage
- Whether there are limitations of any kind to the coverage
- On what basis a claim will be paid
Above all make sure that you are offered a policy that will cover you for the full value of the piece you own. Although you will never find the same piece again, at least be fully compensated.
But what happens when, even after all these steps have been taken, the goods are stolen? How can items be retrieved and how will the police correctly identify your property. Many stolen pieces do turn up, but not always in the country where they were stolen. Returning them to their original owners can be a complicated process. There are many firms offering solutions to this problem. These include one company wanting to drill a small hole in items to implant a receiver, which is hardly practical in the art and antiques field.
There are also credible firms who use the placing of microdot on the item which do not harm or detract from the beauty of it.
The technology they provide has been proven throughout the trade. They started Initially in the early 1990’s to counteract the theft of performance motorbikes. The introduction of their system resulted in a sharp fall in the theft rate, which then helped protect an endangered industry. This is a virtually invisible secure tagging system that provides unique identification. Using a datadot, the item is permanently marked and, even if the thieves are aware the item is protected, the mark cannot be removed. Each individual piece is tagged with a datatag microchip in an unseen part of the item. The information is stored on a database, which is available only to police, the company’s staff and insurance companies. If you have undertaken the process and then decide to sell the item, the registration is transferable. Owners using the system have enjoyed reduced insurance premiums as theft rates have dropped.