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As I am considering getting new contents insurance, specifically with respect to the growing amount of Astro gear, I thought it might be a good idea to ask if anyone has had any good experiences with any insurance companies? I can find loads of negative comments, even here on this forum, but find no good reports. Surely there must be some good companies out there? In particular the companies that say they cover outbuildings and contents thereof, indeed that make it a prime selling point for their policies.

It would also be good to get advice about insurance in general, regarding expensive gear. I know that items above a certain amount in value, need to be openly declared, but what pitfalls are there to avoid? Should you overvalue the value, knowing that they will not pay out 100% anyway? I know this level of value where declaration needs to be made varies too, but which company offers the best, or at least most decent policy? I mean I have been advised to not bother with a burglar alarm, it just advertises there is something to steal and in fact in at least one case, put the premium up! There must be at least one reasonable insurance company, surely? 🤔

( I suspect the advice will be none other that: don't bother! 😝 )

 

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I use LV Insurance, they allow you to "specify" all your contents items "that you take away from the house" with a value greater than £2000 so that they are covered.

https://help.lv.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/203/~/how-do-i-cover-any-items-i-take-away-from-the-home%3F

I have all my scopes and Night Vision gear listed as separate line items. It added around £50-£75 to the yearly premium but I least I know they are covered should an accident happen.

I also find LV very easy to deal with.

HTH,Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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I went to a local insurance broker with specific requirements - I wanted to confirm about outbuildings, etc. I was previously with Nationwide with named items, but they suggested AXA Extra (which was a fair bit cheaper than the policy I had). 

As always, you don't know until you actually claim... (though the broker will also assist with that if necessary). 

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I assume neither of you had to make a claim? As said it is only then you find out how good the customer service is.

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Hi

 

I recently had a burglary  see my post here 

The bottom line with regard to the insurance company concerned (Admiral) despite me having listed the items Telescopes, mounts and cameras etc in the outbuilding and the security measures in place 5 point locks, alarms etc when i took the policy out still wriggled alot.  They said that the items listed were considered 'High Risk' and if I read their very very small print these are not covered in outbuildings, I had to make them go and listen to the recording of the converstaion when I took out the policy where the lady on the phone said they would be covered, they replied that she had made a mistake and that they were not paying out.  Only when I asked for a copy of the recording to pass to the Ombudsman and my solicitor did they change their minds, but I still came up about £500.00 short on the pay out.

The moral here is to get your business they may tell you you are covered but the reality may be very different.  My suggestion would be to make sure you fully list all of you items, the locations you want them covered and for what i.e. accidental damage / theft and get a copy from the company in writing.

 

Good Luck

 

Martin

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I did in fact see that thread, but thought two things. One, it was mostly negative, which is not helpful really ( though still a very valid warning ) and two, it is in the wrong place. I would assume that I am not the only one considering insurance for astro stuff and the beginner section seemed like the obvious place for such questions, so beginners get the idea. Your answer above though is very helpful, thank you. 🙂

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18 minutes ago, Greymouser said:

I did in fact see that thread, but thought two things. One, it was mostly negative, which is not helpful really ( though still a very valid warning ) and two, it is in the wrong place. I would assume that I am not the only one considering insurance for astro stuff and the beginner section seemed like the obvious place for such questions, so beginners get the idea. Your answer above though is very helpful, thank you. 🙂

Hi

You are probably right wrt the post may be better in the beginners section somewhere.  Since then I have found out that when pressed most insurance companies, having made a few enquiries,  despite their initial 'of course you are covered' statements when pressed you are not, you could try specialist photography and astronomy insurance but compared to 'normal' household insurance you can expect to pay some very high premiums.

It is also worth considering that now due to the increase in my future premiums I will end up paying back the insurance company the settlement figure over the next few years.  So as some on here have suggested instead of paying a high premium are you better of putting some money aside each month into a separate account / savings / shares etc just in case you ever do have a problem?

With regard to the negativity of the post, I agree it was, as a result of both the Police and Insurance companies not being interested and me doing everything I could to protect my kit, apart from sleeping with it.

 

Martin

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My experiences with insurers (home and work 40+ years) have led me to the conclusion that Grimbles advice (above) is sound.
I won't go into these as it will make a big 'moan' post.

I only insure when there is the possibility of a big hit against me (examples being 3rd party injury claims from motoring and overseas holiday illness) or the item is more than I can afford to replace (like the house).

If you do negotiate specific item & location cover with an insurer, what happens when you buy a new eyepiece, camera, scope etc and it is not on the list?
Do they charge for amending the list mid term?

David.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Grimbles said:

Hi

You are probably right wrt the post may be better in the beginners section somewhere.  Since then I have found out that when pressed most insurance companies, having made a few enquiries,  despite their initial 'of course you are covered' statements when pressed you are not, you could try specialist photography and astronomy insurance but compared to 'normal' household insurance you can expect to pay some very high premiums.

It is also worth considering that now due to the increase in my future premiums I will end up paying back the insurance company the settlement figure over the next few years.  So as some on here have suggested instead of paying a high premium are you better of putting some money aside each month into a separate account / savings / shares etc just in case you ever do have a problem?

With regard to the negativity of the post, I agree it was, as a result of both the Police and Insurance companies not being interested and me doing everything I could to protect my kit, apart from sleeping with it.

 

Martin

I am sorry but you misunderstand me. I think the thread you started and some of the advice there was in fact very good, but much of the response from others was both negative and only useful in what to avoid. I was in no way intending to imply your first post above was negative, it offers very good advice. The thing is that even though someone in your thread asked which was a good insurer, I don't think anyone answered.

The thing is we are all in the same boat here, with lots of expensive gear in our homes and I cannot speak for others, but I would be gutted to lose mine. I unlike some in your thread, could not just go out and replace it, it would take me years of frustration. Life is just too short, so insurance seems like a very good idea, but which company and which policy? Which is why I started this thread, here so it can help other beginners. I am shocked to find from my family, that many do not even know you have to tell the insurer about expensive items, or risk not getting payment for them. They do not tell you of this as far as I know from my experience, without quite some digging. It is plain wrong, even immoral in my opinion.  It is not helped by the fact that different companies have different thresholds either for what is considered an expensive item. Nor that they seem to have different standards as to what is in fact covered in their policies. I would not be at all surprised to find that the majority are in fact under insured, or worse still, some stuff is not insured at all.

I had hoped to find such a thread in the stickies here, it made sense. If it is not considered by all beginners, it should at least be pointed out to them, shouldn't it? I mean if everyone has the spare cash to just replace, without worry, then good for everyone. Except me of course, who in now way can. 🙄 ( Not helped by the fact that I live in a toilet of a town and theft is a real risk! 🤬 )

Yes Carbon Brush, you have to keep updating the policy. I have even been told by someone who got the whole policy refused/cancelled, because he did not keep it up to date. I do not know if true, but it is very worrying if so. In the past they have not charged for any changes to policy, at least not the TSB. What about others though? All the small print is annoying too, intentionally so I suspect.

I mean lets start with the questions that we need answering.

1) Which companies have a decent record of customer service? Some claim no quibble, but are they?

2) Which companies are offering policies with minimal small print? Straightforward you know? ( Little chance here I know... 🙄 )

3) Is it better to choose a specialist company? If so, which ones are they? I know of non.

4) Who will insure outbuildings, even with expensive kit in them, without looking for loopholes to avoid paying out?

I am sure there are more questions that would be useful to have answered, please add them if they occur to you. 🙂

 

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I have my equipment declared on my house contents insurance

Had a win a while ago with insurance company, using away from home

Insurance company tried classifying astro equipment as sporting equipment, and they claimed not covered while using away from home

Had a bit of think about them, and came back to them, and said astro equipment is not sporting equipment, rather scientific instruments, same as mobile device is covered away from home theft or loss

They agreed, and cost me an extra $30 a year on my premium

With club belong to, go into schools, scout/guide groups, why wanted covered by insurance, in case the ED80 on EQ5 mount was knocked over by a 6yo, or foreign object dropped down tube of dob, and damaged primary mirror

 I think most insurance companies these days are global, and I am with Allianz , who are also UK based

Secret word with using scopes away from home with insurance companies, is scientific instrument, not sporting equipment

John

  

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I always go by the insurer’s defaqto star rating. Can never be certain but a 5 star policy should be comprehensive with a better chance of delivering the cover you think you’ve bought :) It will of course be more expensive.

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16 hours ago, Greymouser said:

3) Is it better to choose a specialist company? If so, which ones are they? I know of non.

I'm in the same dilemma. I came across this insurer, but I have no experience of it

https://www.gloverhowe.co.uk/astronomy-insurance/

Adrian

Edited by microbe
typo error
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I keep all my astro gear inside, so they are covered under general house contents. 

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2 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

I keep all my astro gear inside, so they are covered under general house contents. 

So do I so far, but I do not at the moment have contents insurance, just building insurance. I will remedy that soon I think and will make sure it is all covered wherever I may wish to take it, ( I hope, ) by running a very fine tooth comb through the small print and getting things in writing. 🙂 In particular I will be checking out microbes link.

Edit: I presume you have listed them all and adequately covered? ( only asking for confirmation for the benefit of browsers. 😉 )

Edited by Greymouser

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