insuring tools

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Forum topic by yrob posted 10-27-2012 06:35 PM 1381 views 1 time favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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340 posts in 3651 days

10-27-2012 06:35 PM

i am starting to accumulate quite a bit of expensive tools.
i am a hobbyist so my shop is not insured separately. What do you guys do ? Do you take pics and write down serial # and
provide your insurer with that ?

-- Yves

18 replies so far

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2200 days

#1 posted 10-27-2012 09:14 PM

Best to get with your agent, had a policy in place with 600k for household contents and that did include my tools. I had pics, serial numbers, and the policy was written as replacement cost…. That is important… replacement cost…..... so you do not get wrapped up in the famous depreciation game…... How many times you hear half of what it was when new…....... Point being is I have a Weining Rondomat 960c profile grinder with all the bells and whistles, cost me 38k… 3 years ago…. find me one 3 years old for 16k good luck…..

I had the info in a safe deposit box and the agent had a cd to cover my butt….. Best to get with your agent and get it done.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2284 days

#2 posted 10-27-2012 10:33 PM

Yep, my homeowners policy has a contents replacement clause that goes up to 75% of the value of the house, and it covers my tools as well. I do have lots of pictures saved to the “cloud”, as well.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2200 days

#3 posted 10-27-2012 11:04 PM

This is a good Topic, it sure does not take long to aquire a small fortune in tools…. Especially if you buy top quality stuff. Then most of us at one time or another, things we forget about cause we just think tools, upgraded the electric, lights, added cabinets, benches, put in the ceiling ladder it goes on and on.

Seriously though, just sit in your garage and write down on paper what you have, then look at the tooling, drill bits, router bits, saw blades, sand paper, finishing supplies, tape, roller stands, electric cords, any improvements then when your all done you better add about 20-30% more cause you will be buying more stuff and remember to update your list. Now imagine how much of this stuff you bought local vs internet, shipping cost, insurance ect ect… Keep it as current as possible. You protect your house,car ect….. why not your tools cause you may find out you have the whole cost of a car sitting in drawers and cabinets in your own garage…... Pretty easy to walk out of Woodcraft with a grand worth of stuff in one bag…..

Plus if your ever broke into and items are stolen the Police will have something to check pawn shops for example with what to be looking for and have serial numbers or some odd identification to look for and even the impound lot as well…... So if something does not have a Serial number put a mark on it that is hidden from sight and keep that same mark on all of your stuff you can…....

Example, I had a small trailer loaded with tons of tools…. Two of those Bosch 12 in sliders come to mind, I had nothing on it so really hard to catch someone, 2 Different Pawn shops recently got one but nothing ties it to me. but now…. The ones I have I took off the side plate on the blade and put my mark on them…. Table Saw, the back of the clean out plate, Routers, take the base plate off and make a mark… I got real creative after I had to replace about 20k worth of tools, now I have that warm and fuzzy feeling….... Granted not everything you have will have a mark like most hand tools ect ect…

Of course nothing at that time was insured that it was my own darn fault….. Cover your butts with both hands….. It be interesting what the average hobby woodworker has invested, I bet we would be shocked…...

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2038 days

#4 posted 10-27-2012 11:09 PM

I used to be an insurance adjuster and I never heard of a homeowners policy that had an exclusion or a special limit for tools. The are special limits for things like Jewelry, Firearms, and cash. A standard exclusion is a homeowners policy may have a limit of $1500 on Jewelry. To get around that, they require you to get an appraisal and submit photos of individual expensive items. We had to do that with my wife’s wedding ring so now it’s covered and at no extra cost.

There will be an exclusion for tools if you use them for a business, even if they are in your home. So if you’re selling things you have to get a seperate business policy to cover your tools.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2485 days

#5 posted 10-28-2012 12:06 AM

Not to hijack the thread, but where I live we also work. Our house is included in the salary.
Do we do renters insurance for my shop or exactly what would I need?

Maybe some of our insurance oriented members could chime in.

Also, we manage a campground and cater to oil field and pipeline workers many of whom own nothing but their campers, tools and trucks. How do they insure against theft, flood, fire or government edict?

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

#6 posted 10-28-2012 12:23 AM

Gshepherd makes a great point. You really need to take the time and inventory everything in your shop. You’ll be shocked when you tally up what you have invested in clamps, drill bits, router bits chisels, hand tools, small power tools and the list will go on and on. Most woodworkers will have as much invested in small stuff as they do in their large stationary tools….......and if a thief visits you, he is more likely to haul off a truck load of small stuff instead of trying to wrestle your table saw, jointer or dust collector. Fire; you can lose it all in a flash…..oops! maybe a bad choice of words.

As a business, even if I had some of my tools at the house, they were not covered with my homeowners policy, they had to be covered with my business policy.

-- John @

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2108 days

#7 posted 10-28-2012 12:59 AM

Read your policy, and go from there.

An insurance policy is a written, legal contract. As a contract, it supercedes verbal comments from agents or people who answer 800 numbers in call centers.

If there is an exclusion or limit for tools, or commercial use items, it’ll be clearly spelled out in the declarations. If there are no special limits or exclusions for hobby tools, or commercial (business) property, it’s subject to your total home contents limits.

I am always amazed at the number of folks who have not read the policy they’ve paid for, regardless if it’s homeowners, auto, or commercial insurance.

BTW… My policy DID include a limit for tools, as well as bicycles and electronics. I bought inexpensive riders to cover my tools and bicycles. Most of the time, insurance is state regulated and varies by locale. Start by reading YOUR policy.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3674 days

#8 posted 10-28-2012 01:32 AM

If you make money with the tools, they may be considered tools of the trade which home owners will not cover.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View greg48's profile


601 posts in 2756 days

#9 posted 10-28-2012 02:36 AM

I bought one of those cheap electric engravers and scribed my DL number into the tool bodies. The engraving is tough to erase. Also took pics of every tool, bit, part, and jig in the shop along with a spreadsheet of tool type, make, model, and serial number. I copied it onto a cheap thumb drive and threw it into the safety deposit box (off site) in case the whole shebang goes up in flames. It is amazing how fast the value of your tools mount up when you start adding them up.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2255 days

#10 posted 10-28-2012 02:46 AM

I am not an insurance expert, but I read that if you have an owners manual for an item, include that in your pix as well. I don’t know the rationale, perhaps other than prove that you didn’t steal the item, but ask your agent about that as well.

-- Art

View MrRon's profile


4769 posts in 3242 days

#11 posted 10-28-2012 05:51 PM

How do you place a replacement value on a tool that is no longer made? I have a machine that cost maybe $1500 new 70 years ago and is still in perfect condition. The closest equivalent would be around $5000 taking into account country of origin (USA vs Chinese). If the machine was still available and made in the USA, I would expect it to cost today, easily $10000.

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2038 days

#12 posted 10-29-2012 01:10 AM

MrRon, you would have to check with your insurance company to see how they would work that out. But the reason you have replacement cost coverage is so you can replace your item, even if it has gone up in price. So unless you have some type of specific exclusion in your policy, they you may very well be entitled to that $10000 piece of equipment. I have my shop insured and one of my tools is a Shopsmith that I bought in 1984. I think I paid $900 for it. I think a new one is close to $5000 now. I don’t know for sure how my policy would treat that, but I have replacement cost coverage. I think I get a new machine.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2674 days

#13 posted 10-29-2012 02:23 AM

I think you need to talk to your agent. Where I live and the company I use I do know that Topomax is correct. If you are a professional (make money with your tools) then the homeowners policy does not cover them nor will it cover the building you use for a shop.

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2375 days

#14 posted 10-29-2012 03:38 AM

Lots of good info to think about.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2038 days

#15 posted 10-29-2012 04:24 AM

Back to yrob, I notice you asked about taking pictures and making a list. Regardless of whether you give this to your insurance agent or not, it’s a good idea to do. One thing you’ll find if you ever have to make a insurance claim is you have to list everything you want to be compensated for. If somebody comes in and steals everything in your shop, you can’t simply ask for $20k to replace everything. You have to list every single item on a list to submit to them. They will want you to list what is it, when you bought it, and how much you paid for it. If you don’t already have it written down you’ll have to have a really good memory. It’s a good idea to put all that information on your list. My shop is a business so I have already made this list for tax purposes so that will double as my insurance list.

Also on the replacement cost coverage issue we have talked about, many people don’t realize that you only get the replacement cost if you actually replace the item. So for example I mentioned I have a Shopsmith. If somebody stole it it would cost $5,000 to replace it. I have no desire to have another one so if I don’t replace it my insurance company is going to give me a depriciated value which will likely be just a couple of hundred dollars. So in reality I’d probably replace it and then turn right around and sell it.

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