We were talking about whisky, as you do to lighten up a training session when Ross Macpherson of QuestGates Loss Adjusters mentioned they were recently appointed to investigate the theft of a private whisky collection. “Tell me more,” I said, always interested to hear about the risks to whisky collections. And so, the training session was on hold for a few minutes.
The whisky collection, acquired by a private collector over 7 years, was valued at around £100,000. Due to capacity issues at the collector’s home, it resided in a unit at a large storage facility. This unit also contained an associate’s collection too, valued at approximate £50,000. The associate had arranged the insurance for both collections, which must have caused an insurable interest argument.
It transpired an intruder burgled the facility using a fake ID to gain access to the floor of the storage unit in which the Insured’s unit resided. It was then targeted amongst other units, by the intruder being able to overcome a flimsy lock on the door. Apparently, this type of lock is easy pickings for thieves. “What happened?” I asked. “Did the thief get away with it?” To date, the whisky, which ran to over 600 bottles, has never been recovered. But the insurers did pay out, of course.
This brings to light a couple of key points:
First, private collections of whisky are getting sizeable, both the number of bottles and their values. Often, people don’t have enough room in their home to house all the bottles, so they use a storage facility. Yet, access to the collection remains key. Whilst the facility may have intruder alarms, it is important to establish who has access to the unit and how. Ask your storage facility for the measures they have in place to ensure that people who shouldn’t have access, don’t have access to your collection. So that way it doesn’t mysteriously disappear (which isn’t covered by insurance by the way).
Second, ensure you have an up to date inventory of your collection with accompanying evidence or a professional valuation. It is up to you to give a description of the items involved in a loss along with evidence of their value, how, when and where the loss or damage occurred.
We’re always happy to discuss your insurance needs or review your current cover. Discover more about the specialist services we offer.
By Alexandra Richards, Private Clients Development Executive