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May the Force of a Personal Articles Floater Be With You

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According to studio estimates, the second installment in the third Star Wars trilogy reached a debut of $220 million. That gives “The Last Jedi” the second-best opening weekend ever, behind “The Force Awakens.1 

Whether a collection of Star Wars memorabilia, jewelry, guns, fine art, wine or antiques, retail brokers and agents should discuss the value of a Personal Articles Floater.

Star Wars fans, critics and movie enthusiasts are reflecting on the saga’s history, its staying power and the fandom it creates. Consumers continue to purchase figurines and toys from the latest movie to keep as collectibles and seek out auctions for the chance to bid on pieces of the Stars Wars history.

“I’ve been in the market of collectibles for over 20 years, and we’re still noting serious appreciation for Star Wars memorabilia,” said Craig Dennis, Fine Art and Collectibles Underwriter for Brit Insurance, a global specialty insurer and reinsurer. “We’re likely to see collectors buying pieces from the most recent movie to preserve as investments.”

Before “The Force Awakens” released, 55+ Star Wars items were sold as part of a highly anticipated multimillion dollar auction, with Princess Leia’s “Slave Bikini”–a slinky costume originally worn by Carrie Fisher in 1983’s “The Return of the Jedi”–selling for a whopping $96,000. The highest grossing item from the auction was a miniature model of Princess Leia’s “Blockade Runner,” selling for an astonishing $450,000–more than double its opening bid.

But when the lucky bidders walked away with a piece of Star Wars history, they likely did not consider how to protect the value of their newest prized possession.

Collectors are often unaware their homeowners policy offers limited coverage for valuables. Whether we are talking about a collection of Star Wars memorabilia, jewelry, guns, fine art, wine or antiques, retail brokers and agents should discuss the value of a Personal Articles Floater to supplement their client’s homeowners policy and protect any specialty item with significant monetary or sentimental value.

“Investments are meant to be preserved,” said Bill Gatewood, Vice President and Director, Personal Insurance at Burns & Wilcox, North America’s leading specialty insurance wholesaler. “Personal Articles Floaters offer collectors just that–the ability to preserve, catalog and protect their investments.”

Under a Personal Articles Floater, homeowners can itemize any and all valuables and establish an exact, or “agreed value” for each item in the event one or more items are lost, stolen or damaged by fire, wind, hail, etc. For example, the owner of Princess Leia’s costume could take out a Personal Articles Floater in the amount of $96,000 to account for total loss.

“The best advice I could ever give to a consumer would be to ensure accurate valuations on your collectibles,” said Dennis. “We suggest having items reevaluated by an expert every three years to ensure their value is moving with the market.”

Whether clients are Star Wars fans or have a particular affinity for collecting coins, sports memorabilia or comic books, it is important retail brokers and agents make them aware of the risks and limits that exist with homeowners policies and offer the best solutions for protecting their home and what is in it. “A Personal Articles Floater is the best way to guarantee that your clients’ most valued, prized possessions are fully protected,” said Gatewood.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published November 12, 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 


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