If you have some family heirlooms that are also antiques, it is possible that they are worth more than you think. In the event of a fire, flood or tornado, you could lose these items, and then what? Your homeowner's insurance would only pay you the assumed present price for similar objects. You need to find the value of your family heirlooms and antiques and declare them on your home insurance policy. Here is why, as well as how to do this.
Regaining the True Value--It Is Better Than Nothing at All
Losing family heirlooms and antiques of value can be emotionally devastating. You can never get those items back, nor can you find perfect replacements for them. However, if you declare their full and true value on your home insurance, you can at least be adequately compensated for their loss. There is a vast difference between the money you would receive for your great grandmother's favorite chair when it is valued at a few thousand versus a modern replacement worth only a few hundred. That declaration is worth so much more, and it may be of value to you to get all of that money for your great-grandma's chair rather than get almost nothing at all.
In the event that the damage to your heirlooms and antiques is minimal, the money paid for their loss could help restore these items. For example, go back to your great grandma's favorite chair. If it sustains some water damage but not fire or wind damage, a historical restoration expert may be able to restore the chair to its original glory and prevent mold and mildew from destroying it. The declared value for its loss could be the chair's saving grace. This is vastly different from the money you would receive otherwise (i.e., typically in the form of a lump sum for all of the losses your home sustained).
How to Make These Declarations
First and foremost, have every heirloom and antique item assessed by experts. Make sure to get a certificate of assessment for the value of each item separately. Then take these certificates to your home insurance agent's office and request that you make some adjustments to the policy so that these items are listed and fully covered for their full value. Your insurance agent will have to enter each of these items separately, and make copies of the assessment/valuation certificates. (Be sure to place the originals in a safe or safe deposit box to protect them and preserve them for later/in the event of a disaster.) Then sign the new policy with the itemized items and their values and your heirlooms and antiques are now protected to their fullest value.