News: Strong 2021 performance and plans for growth in 2022.

Essential Advice for Insuring Your Private Whisky Collection

04 January 2022

If you are fortunate enough to have a sizeable distinguished private whisky collection, you may want to consider insuring your investment.

The valuation of premium whisky has been on the increase in recent years. According to the 2020 Knight Frank Wealth Report, the value of whisky has risen by 564 percent over the last decade. On October 2021, a cask of Macallan 1991 Scotch sold at auction, setting a new record for a whisky cask with a price tag of £1.7 million ($2.33m)

Many might assume that their whisky collection will be insured under their general home contents policy. However, many household policies have low single article limits, meaning that they will not pay any claim for a single item that is worth more than on average, £2,000 in value. Even then, the cover might not recognise the insurance needs that a collection warrants.

Bruce Stevenson are specialists in private client insurance with access to household policies that happily accommodate high-value wine and whisky collections, or insurers who offer wine and whisky insurance in isolation with a specialist policy wording. Below, we detail some private whisky collection insurance advice that you need to consider:


Get Your Collection Valued


The first and most important thing to do is to get your whisky collection valued by a specialist. A good specialist will create a detailed inventory for you with photographs of every bottle. Keep this inventory up to date, being sure to amend it when you buy or sell or even drink the contents! This valuation will help you establish the amount you should be insuring your collection for. Depending on the value of any individual bottle, the valuation may be needed in the event of loss or damage to quickly substantiate and evidence the value of those bottles that may be subject to a claim, enabling a quick, un-quibbled settlement.


a whisky collection on dsiplay with a whisky cask and whisky glasses


Store Your Whisky Safely


To ensure the protection and preservation of any type of collection, be it artworks, clocks, stamps or whisky, you need to look after it properly. Store your bottles of whisky out of the sunlight and in a cool and dry place, up off the floor.

Storing whisky in direct sunlight can result in the whisky lightening in colour and the labels fading. Many people store their wine and whisky collection together, often in a basement or cellar. These can be prone to flooding which is why the collection must be raised from floor level. A flooded cellar will make the labels come off the bottles (the most important single element of identification of a whisky bottle), diminishing their value. However, with the correct insurance provision, the cost to restore the label, plus any subsequent depreciation in value of the bottle(s) of whisky would be met.

One insurer dealt with a claim where wine labels (although the same could apply to whisky) were eaten by snails that had crawled into the cellar. A standard household policy would not have paid out, since technically the product, the wine, wasn’t damaged.


Get Worldwide Cover


A specialist policy would ensure that your whisky is covered, no matter where it is. You could have your collection at home or in a bonded warehouse. If you are buying from an auction or direct from a distillery, upon purchase, the whisky is automatically insured for up to 60 or 90 days as long you tell your insurance broker within that timescale and the appropriate additional premium is charged if applicable.


Be Aware of What is Not Covered


Always read the policy wording carefully. There will be exclusions. Typically for whisky or wine collections, as soon as a bottle is opened cover in respect of that bottle ceases. Also, loss or damage caused by an inherent defect, wear and tear, gradual deterioration, insects, vermin, rust, corrosion, mildew, fungus, atmospheric or climatic conditions, or the action of light would not be covered.

However, if the damage was caused by extremes of temperature directly resulting from mechanical failure or breakdown of climate control units damaged by fire, lightning, a windstorm or an explosion, the cover would apply.

Alexandra Richards, Private Clients Development Executive at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers

Alexandra Richards

Private Clients Development Executive



Contact Us