Wine, Wine, Wine!

So, you say that some of your liquid assets are really liquid, as in bottles of fine Bordeaux or that case of Leonetti you have laid away in the cellar. If you are an oenophile or even just someone who has managed to squirrel away a few bottles of expensive wine, you’ll be happy to know that you can purchase a standalone wine insurance policy to manage some of the risks associated with an interest that can be both pleasant and expensive.

If you don’t know how expensive wine can get, take a look at this article on the “12 Most Expensive Wines Ever” from the Huffington Post.  It pictures wines ranging from $24,000 to $304,000 a bottle. Clearly, your Washington homeowners policy is not going to cover your risk here and if you have an expensive collection it may be worth your looking into a policy. 

The experts say that anyone with a collection worth more than $25,000 or having single bottles valued over $1,000 is probably a candidate for wine insurance.  The general figures for premiums run from a high of $.70 per $100 worth of value to a low of $.20 per $100 – depending on factors such as the size of the collection, security and quality of storage.  

What are the risks?  It turns out that the majority of claims for wine come about through storage failures – refrigeration generally.  Theft and water damage are also significant sources of claims; perhaps it is not surprising that breakage is a relatively infrequent event accounting for less than 5% of claims. 

A wine insurance policy should cover accidental breakage (but maybe not the accidental breakage that occurs if your teenage throws a party in your wine cellar) theft, fire, and water-related damage and particularly and loss or damage caused by mechanical breakdowns of refrigeration equipment or power outages.  Nice to have features include coverage for wines stored off-site, damage to wine in transit, immediate coverage for new purchases and blanket, rather than itemized, coverage..  You can obtain policies with or without deductibles and, as you would expect you can adjust your premiums some by selecting a level of deductible.  

Coverage is pretty affordable given the costs of the wine.  Based on a midrange estimate of $.50 per $1000 of coverage, a collection insured at $250,000 would cost roughly $1,250 a year to insure

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