Insuring non-valuable books?

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Insuring non-valuable books?

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Feb 11, 2015, 11:35am

I thought this thread would be better here as, for all I know, insurance works differently in other countries.

Time to renew my insurance is coming round again, and it's dawned on my that I've never made any particular provision for my books.

Most of my books are not at all valuable - probably (having been owned and used) not worth the cover price - I got quite a number of them second-hand in the first place, anyway. The problem is that there's a thousand-odd of them: if the place burned down and I wanted to replace them all, I'd be looking at several thousand pounds.

How are insurers liable to look at this? Anyone have any experience of making such claims? Or of specifically insuring non-valuable books (when I search online I just get hits for valuable books)?

And the elephant in the room - do I really have to go through a thousand-odd books and work out individual replacement values?

Editado: Feb 11, 2015, 12:16pm

They should be covered by your household contents insurance, as long as the amount of your contents insurance covers the replacement cost of your books along with all your other stuff. You could always increase the cover amount when you renew if you don't think it's sufficient. You shouldn't need itemized cover unless you have specific pieces of great value. (FWIW, my household contents insurance is £25,000 and I decided that adequately covered my books.)

Feb 11, 2015, 12:38pm

You should check your policy. Some insurers exclude 'collections' unless they have been drawn to the insurer's attention. Given that the harshest interpretation that I have seen of this is a 'set of more than three related items', it is unwise to assume that your books are covered by default. Most contents policies do, however, take a sensible view of low value items and ask only that you list individual items of over a specified value (often of thousands of pounds). At a minimum, I would advise you to estimate the cost of all your possessions. Most people do this most effectively by assessing each room separately using very broad averages. I work on an average book value of £4.50, for instance.

Editado: Feb 11, 2015, 2:37pm

I have the same problem with quite a large number of books. I do have an inventory of sorts (I'm a bit of a list person) so I know more or less what they cost at the time I bought them (some still in old £sd currency). For older purchases the cost of a new replacement would be quite a lot more. Not sure how much it would cost to replace them and what the insurance company's view would be. And in the event of a fire would I have the computer files/inventory backups available? Could I get them to believe I really had that many books bearing in mind most households have far less?

>3 TheoClarke:: I think an average value of £4.50 is way too low if we are thinking of replacement costs. Most books, even standard 'thrillers', cost at least £7.99 judging from my last Waterstone trip.

Feb 11, 2015, 4:09pm

At one stage I explicitly excluded "paperback fiction" from our insurance, because otherwise the "replace as new" cost dominated our valuation (thousands of paperbacks bought second hand for pennies, but new paperbacks cost pounds) and I would never try to replace them as a batch, just keep buying books to read. A subsequent insurer would not accept that exclusion.

Feb 12, 2015, 5:05am

Mine are just part of my general contents. It does get surprisingly large, but is still under the minimum most insurers have. I haven't ever tried to claim on it though, so I've no idea how well a claim for 1000x£8 books would go through.

Feb 12, 2015, 6:26am

>4 PossMan: I am assuming that very many of these books are second hand mass market paperbacks.

Editado: Feb 13, 2015, 8:23am

>4 PossMan: - Not sure how much it would cost to replace them and what the insurance company's view would be ... Could I get them to believe I really had that many books bearing in mind most households have far less?

Exactly what's worrying me. I've let my insurance to be renewed by standing order for years (stupidly!) and I've never given any thought to books. Now I've finally started thinking seriously about my house contents, it's my books that are looming really large.

Feb 13, 2015, 8:35am

And, of course, if all my books burnt tomorrow, there are quite a few I probably wouldn't bother to replace - something else to puzzle over?

Feb 13, 2015, 11:09am

That was one (of many) motivators for starting to catalogue my books here.

Feb 13, 2015, 11:27am

A large number of my books could not be replaced. They are out of print and scouring second hand book sellers for replacements would be a daunting task. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Feb 17, 2015, 1:54pm

I may be slightly heretical here but... they're only books. If my house burned down tomorrow I wouldn't feel the need to replace any book. They've been read (some many times) and that's it. If I felt the need to reread then probably I go the e-book route.

Feb 17, 2015, 2:03pm

Feb 18, 2015, 5:57am

>12 UncleMort: - you pay pretty much the same for an ebook as it's pbook equivalent. Still looking at 5k plus to replace a good collection of favourites.

Feb 18, 2015, 1:01pm

>14 reading_fox: Didn't realise that ~ gulp!

Feb 18, 2015, 7:13pm

>15 UncleMort: Mind you, your Kindle books are safe(?) in a cloud where moth and rust can't corrupt and you won't arrive home to find that they have burned to ashes.

Editado: Feb 21, 2015, 6:54am

I've long since given up trying to work out why I'm so attached to my books - it's probably more to do with the collector gene than being a reader. Perhaps the majority I haven't opened in years - decades, even - but if ninety-per-cent were suddenly taken away I suspect I'd either fall into terminal existential angst or take the term 'retail therapy' to truly insane heights.

ETA - Which all reminds me that I still haven't sorted my insurance - I'd completely forgotten till I spotted the new posts on this thread.

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