. . . and Old-Iron Insurance


| April/May 2004


SmokStak, By Harry Matthews

I recently spoke to my insurance agent concerning insurance on my engines and tractors, and - as I understand it - if you think your homeowners insurance will cover them, you're probably wrong. My agent said since they're antiques and can't be easily replaced, they're not insured under my homeowner's policy. In order to protect them, she must secure a policy with an underwriter who specializes in heirlooms, wine collections and other irreplaceable personal keepsakes.

I got to thinking about this is not so much from the standpoint of fire or theft, but what happens if I'm in a traffic accident and lose or severely damage an engine or tractor?

A few years ago, a guy lost his beautiful Rumely 30-60E Heavyweight when the tractor slid off the hauler's trailer. Almost every casting on the tractor was broken or cracked, and insurance didn't cover anything. A hired hauler must have special insurance added to his policy since normal cargo insurance won't cover antique equipment. It would be a good idea to check your club's haulers' insurance because most insurance policies state that antique equipment will not be covered. What have others done to protect their collection against a worst-case scenario, or do you all not worry about it? - Mark

That type of coverage is called 'inland marine' and costs a fortune! Half the insured value of your homeowner's policy will cover the contents. Raise the insurance on your house or out buildings as high as your agent will allow and take pictures so you have proof of your collection. - Craig

As far as my steam engines and tractors go, I have the high-value ones listed at only partial value on my farm policy. Anything of much value has to be listed on the policy. As far as gas engines go, I don't have much insurance on them. After all, if you insure all this stuff at full value, it'll cost a small fortune.

All insurance companies are in business to make money, it's just a matter of your personal risk and how much of it you are willing to take. We've probably stumbled onto the reason many nice items aren't seen at shows any more. -Ken