Article: Why purchase wine insurance coverage for your wine collection?
If you are a wine collector, you likely know that drinking
a wine the same night you purchase it sacrifices a
great deal of the pleasure in wine. There are a number
of reasons for planning your wine purchases, besides
having stock on hand. Wine enthusiasts know the
rewards of owning a collection: nurturing a bottle for
years, anticipating its peak, and, at last, savoring the
fruit of the vine. Properly aged vintages can be hard to
find, thus the reason why so many collectors prefer to
buy younger wines, and keep it until the wine is at its
Most fine wine collectors tend to be immensely proud of their liquid assets. If you
are a serious collector, you may see wine as an investment that can be sold at
an appreciated value in the future. Or you may see the value in having a far
better wine to drink. Either way, you’ve likely spent years, if not decades,
building a cellar and searching the world’s wineries for the finest vintages.
When you consider the value contained within the walls of your cellar, surely
you’ve wondered, “Should I insure my wine collection? Do I have any
coverage under my current homeowner’s policy?”
These are some good questions to consider. Think about it this way: Suppose
you are decanting a bottle of Château Lafite-Rothschild, 1982, and your hand
slips sending the bottle and its contents, crashing to the floor. Or perhaps you
return from vacation to find your state-of-the-art, custom built vault has flooded,
destroying several cases or perhaps you notice your cellar has been broken into
and several cases are missing.
A homeowner’s policy protects your home and its contents. You may be thinking
“wine is content; it should be covered by my homeowner’s policy”.
An average wine drinker’s small wine “stash” may be covered under a
homeowner’s policy if they have a claim BUT an avid collector, whose cellar may
contain $25,000 to $25 million worth of wine, will not have coverage under their
homeowner’s policy. Even specialty markets for high value homes limit wine
coverage to $2,500, often times with a deductible and exclusions for flood,
windstorm, earthquake, breakage, spoilage and electrical malfunction (i.e. power
outages or malfunctioning heating/cooling systems) as well as per bottle dollar
What types of claims could befall a collection? The Chartis Private Client Group
compiled data for the cost of wine/cellar related claims. Mechanical breakdown
(temperature control) and water damage were the most frequent and costly
claims seen, but theft/disappearance and bottle breakage also landed in the top
5. If these types of claims are excluded by your current homeowner’s policy, can
you afford to replace all the wines in your collection should they be
If the answer to that question is NO, you should seriously consider purchasing
wine coverage, which can be packaged with your existing homeowner’s policy.
This coverage can be packaged onto your existing homeowner’s policy in a
couple ways: by adding a blanket limit or by itemizing each bottle.
- If you have a large number of bottles valued under $1000 each, these
bottles would be best covered under a blanket limit. This type of coverage
insures your collection for a lump-sum value.
- If your collection includes bottles valued over $1000 each, these bottles
would be insured by listing them individually with their values.
- Most wine collections include bottles with a wide range of values, which
would require a specially tailored combination of both coverage’s.
It is also recommended to keep a current inventory of your collection and the
original purchase amount of the insured bottles.
Insuring your wine collection will protect your wine, regardless of location, in the
event of damage due to fire, theft, earthquake, flood, breakage and spoilage due
to mechanical breakdown. If you ever have a claim, some insurance companies
will pay up to 150% of the original purchase amount. New acquisitions are
immediately covered from the time of purchase and for 90 days, giving you time
to add them to your policy. Bottles are also covered while in transit. Companies
that insure wine collections even offer a team of collection management
professionals, who can help coordinate appraisals and inventories, facilitate
packing and transportation and conduct vulnerability assessments on your home.
KRG Insurance Brokers brings expertise and unparalleled service to our high
net worth clients, and have been insuring fine homes and their belongings for
over 30 years. At KRG we can customize any insurance package for your home,
auto, wine or fine art collection. If you would like to learn more about insuring
your valuables, call us today and ask to speak with Jennifer James, 416-636-
4544 or 1-888-888-6667.
For more information on Wine Insurance, visit the Wine Insurance Product Page.