You’ve spent countless hours building a collection of stamps, ceramic figurines or vintage tractors, taking great pride in searching out the perfect items, displaying and enjoying them. But without a proper insurance coverage, your collection might be at risk.

An insurance policy that covers your collectibles provides essential protection. Before you purchase a policy, there are five things you need to know about insuring collectibles:

1. Homeowners insurance may be inadequate:

Most standard homeowners insurance policies provide limited coverage for collectibles. You may need to add a special endorsement to your homeowners policy or purchase separate personal property coverage.

2. An appraisal may be required:

Before an insurance company will cover your collectibles, an independent appraiser might need to assess your collection to determine its value.

3. There are coverage limits:

Before purchasing a policy, ask about the coverage limits. Make sure you’re purchasing enough insurance to cover your collection. 

4. Keep your insurer in the loop:

As you add new items to your collection, remember to update your insurance company. You might need to have new items appraised before they can be included in your policy. The extra effort is worth it: Unless new items are reported to your insurer, you may not have the coverage you need.

5. Insurance is not enough:

Personal property coverage provides peace of mind that your cherished collection is covered if something happens — but it is just one element of protecting your collection. Consider storing valuables in a safe deposit box or secure home safe and installing an alarm system in your home. These moves not only reduce the risk of theft, they may also help you get a discount on personal property coverage.