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Is your rocketry/auto parts collection insured?

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Peartree

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This is long and I apologize for that , but I think that the message is important.

Through our Yahoo! group, I received a message about one of our local flyers losing his home and everything in it including decades of rocket and rare auto parts collecting. In his message are some very important warnings to make sure that the contents of our homes/apartments as well as our special collections are adequately insured. I asked and received permission from him to recopy his message here in order to pass along his warning to a national/international audience. I have Joe's full address and phone if anyone needs/want it just PM me.

Hello Everyone,

I am writing to say hello, and let everyone know of what has recently happened to myself, and my wife (Jackie).

Some of you will know/remember me from some of the launches I have been at with my twin Brother (Mike), in the past years, along with my wife and some friends we have brought with us. I am the one who always brought vintage Estes rockets from the 70's, as well as many of my own designs from the past 35 years of my model rocketing. I have been into the hobby since I was 8 years old (currently 44 years old), and was an Estes EAC member with several designs that were published in their news letter, back in the day.

Just before this past Christmas, Jackie and I got a phone call while we were at a friends house for dinner, saying our house was totally consumed with fire. After we realized this was not a joke, we flew home as fast as I could make the car drive there. We got there too late to save anything, and the fire department was not able to put the fire out, in time to save much of anything; our house burned from the basement, to/thru the attic (this story was on all the news channels for 2 days).

Jackie and I lost every single thing we owned, except for the clothes on our backs. We have no children, but did have 12 cats, which we loved as our children (it was a good size house, and we kept meticulas care of them and their care). Along with losing everything, we later found out that NONE of our belongings are covered by the insurance company, as the house was in my fathers name, and we should have had "renters insurance" (which we did not have, since we didn't know about this till after the fire. The insurance company is not paying us a single dime, for anything, and so far, hasn't even agreed to rebuild the house, as they still investigating us for arson (which we did not, and would never even think about doing).

My house was PACKED full of collectibles from the basement thru the attic!! On top of losing a fortune in Mopar muscle car parts (many of which were NOS), my entire hobby room burned from wall to wall. The hobby/rocket room was PACKED to the brim with mostly model rockets, along with a Marklin model train collection. The HUGE model rocket collection consisted of close to 200 vintage (built and unbuilt) Estes kits from the late 60's thru the early 80's. I had at least a dozen vintage Maxi-brute rockets/kits, along with 6 of the new Maxi (E-powered V-2 kits). I had a few LOC kits and a few Areotech kits, along with some Centuri and Quest stuff. I also had an enormous collection of rocketry building supplies, consisting of 1000's of pieces/parts; much of which was vintage, and enough to build 100's of rockets. There were around 300 rocket engines, of all sizes, and 8 different launch systems for every size and shape of rocket you could fly. To round off the rocketry/hobby part of my losses, was all of my vintage memorabilia, spanning the last 40 years of rocketry, and also my original design booklet from the 70's, which had all my designs and my award winning stuff that Estes published when I was a kid.

I have no words to describe our losses, both in sentimental and monitary terms. Since the insurance company is not paying for anything we had/owned, we have had to spend our little bit of savings to just get some basic needs/items, such a small wardrobe for each of us, and some of the everyday things that most of us take for granted (everything from toothpaste, to aspirin to a hair dryer). My wife and I are now living at my moms house, where I grew up in the '70's.

Sorry to write to all of you with a kinda long email, but if the only thing that comes out of our terrible situation, is to help others, then it was worth my time to let others know how to better look out for themselves, especially when it comes to having proper/correct insurance coverage. I was the guy who thought I took every precaution when it comes to fire, and thought I would never be one of those "stories" you only "hear" about. As for insurance coverage... it also turns out that NONE of my car parts would have been covered, even if the house had been in my name, as "no motorized vehicle parts" are covered on home owners insurance. Auto and Motorcycle parts HAVE to have a seperate "rider" policy, and that policy is usually to be put onto your AUTO insurance.

This has been a devastating "eye-opener" for both of us, and we have learned a lot during this difficult time. I hope this email will save someone the kind of losses we have just sustained, and will get most (if not all of you) to read over your insurance policies VERY closely!! The insurance company has people employed, whos ONLY purpose is to find ways NOT TO PAY ON CLAIMS, AND/OR PAY LESS ON CLAIMS! ...

Any and All of your collectibles, need to be stated, and have "rider" policies, or they do not have to pay you for them. You should have pictures (and/or video) of all your valuables and collectibles, and make sure you have the proper coverage and documentation, and the documentation needs to be stored at a seperate location, or in a "fire box".... If our stuff had been coverable by the insurance company ("renters insurance" in our case), we would have still needed to provide PROOF of anything/everything we had, and PROOF and DOCUMENTATION of pre-fire VALUE.

Hope all this helps all and/or some of you...Thanks for your time. If you have any questions, my contact info is below.

Joe Angelucci
South Euclid, Oh 44121
After I emailed him I received this reply:

Hello John,

Thank you for the reply. Yes, you have my permission to post my email anywhere you see fit. With all of the negative things that have come out of this situation, the only positive thing I can see, is the posibility of helping someone else, by sharing this information. If I had the "proper/correct" insurance, it would not have prevented the fire, but it woiuld have provided some sort of recovery situation for some of our things. Right now, we are basically trying/able to get by, day by day.

The cats were our biggest sentimental loss, and the parts were by far my biggest financial loss. I had been laid off from work last july, but was not too worried about it, since I had been saving a bunch of money, and was in the process of starting my own business. I had just spent a bunch of money (about 40G) on this specialty business venture, in hopes of being able to double or triple my money with-in the next year. All of the items I bought, also burned with my car parts. I also had been colllecting very rare Mopar car parts since I was 14 years old. I spent almost every penny I ever made, buying Mopar cars and parts, and hoarding them; I had enough stuff to retire 2 times over. I am now totally broke, and have nothing to really fall back on, and all my lifes interests and hobbies went up in flames. I don't have the money to replace any of the stuff (not to mention the days of finding that stuff are long gone), and my wifes job is what's getting us by for every day living expenses. We are still having to make house payments, even though we do not have a house.

Anyway, sorry to be so long winded... As for anything you (or anyone) can do to help. I feel very bad even asking about things like that, because I have always been very self sufficient.

Jackie and I could use help in about any way you could think of right now, but I have been too uncomfortable to ask anyone. If I were to ask any fellow club members, or fellow rocketry hobbyists, I would just ask if anyone had any any rocketry items they may want to donate. My rocketry hobby is completely gone, and the chance of my being able to replace any of it, any time soon, are slim to none. It makes me sick to think about any/all of this, and knowing I cannot replace any of it, makes it even harder. Please let me know if you have any ideas, or suggestions; I am always open for input. Thanks for your prayers and help. Joe Angelucci
One of our local scout leaders (and a friend) also lost his home recently to a house fire but he used to sell insurance and was well covered. Many things aren't replaceable (of course) but they're doing far better than Joe and will likely come out of the whole experience pretty well - all things considered.

Make sure you're properly covered (and no I get no kickbacks from your insurance agent). The twenty minutes you spend talking to your insurance agent is time well spent and could save your butt in the long run.
 

rocketdad0934

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as a marine I learned this lesson the same way. the house I was renting burnt to the ground. it was determined to be the outlet that the refrigerator was plugged into was the cause. as the four of us that shared the house stood in the drive looking at shat was our house we got word that we had a uniform inspection in a week. with nothing but the uniform on our back it was rather devastating and later discovered the insurance company was covered but we were not. further about four years ago the oil tank used for heating oil fell over the fire dept called the EPA I called my insurance company. guess what? yup the insurance company was covered from paying the claim. I was not covered as it is a "waste oil" once it left the oil tank. I do not have much good to say for insurance.
 

powderburner

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In order to get "specialty" collections (of ANYTHING) insured, you will have to get an appraisal from at least one certified appraiser. This is to establish value for the insurance company.

I have never seen or heard of a professional model rocket appraiser.

Failing that, your other recourse would be to produce a list of receipts showing what you paid for the items and materials to be insured. And you would then be insured for the purchase price, not the replacement value.

In short, I have found no practical means of obtaining insurance for things like model rocket collections.

We seem to be too small of a niche, within a niche, within a niche---
 

Uncrichie

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I have always been a curious person so I have a few questons. Why would the insurance company entertain the issue of arson and on the same note what was the official cause of the fire?

Reference to the house fire in the rented home. If the official cause was a faulty outlet why didn't you go after the owner for electrical violations? Or did you?

Maybe you guys have sought other avenues that certainly exist? Did you pursue this further in the courts? Like I said I am a curious person. Uncrichie.
 

Ford Prefect

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Do you have his actual address? I have some kits lying around (im sure it's the last thing he "needs" but it might brighten his day).

Thanks
Cj
 

rstaff3

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I don't think this will help when it comes to collectibles, but if you ever have big problems in getting a large claim covered, then it might pay to consider hiring an independent insurance adjuster. I had never heard of these but when we were having problems with a house insurance claim, a friend told us of them. We hired them, they got the claim paid, and since we used their preferred contractor we didn't even owe our deductible. Might be worth a few phone calls.
 

Peartree

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Everyone,

I have not met this person but he does belong to the Yahoo group for two of our local clubs. There are still a lot of club members I don't know and even more who are nonmembers (like me) that belong to the Yahoo group and fly occasionally.

I felt the message was important and so I passed it along.

I am not aware of a collection for him.

I DO have his address, phone number and email address but removed them from my post for his privacy. If you email or PM me I will share them with you.
 

Swampworks

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I have always been a curious person so I have a few questons. Why would the insurance company entertain the issue of arson and on the same note what was the official cause of the fire?

Reference to the house fire in the rented home. If the official cause was a faulty outlet why didn't you go after the owner for electrical violations? Or did you?

Maybe you guys have sought other avenues that certainly exist? Did you pursue this further in the courts? Like I said I am a curious person. Uncrichie.
I am a curious one also.....1. Did the owner (father) not have insurance on HIS house? 2. Why are they still paying a house note on a house that is not in their name?
 

RimfireJim

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I have always been a curious person so I have a few questons. Why would the insurance company entertain the issue of arson and on the same note what was the official cause of the fire?

Reference to the house fire in the rented home. If the official cause was a faulty outlet why didn't you go after the owner for electrical violations? Or did you?

Maybe you guys have sought other avenues that certainly exist? Did you pursue this further in the courts? Like I said I am a curious person. Uncrichie.
A fire that has no determined cause is automatically "of suspicious origin". If the investigator(s) in the case in question couldn't determine a probable cause, it is natural, and appropriate, for the insurance company to entertain the idea of arson. BTW, arson can be deliberate or unintentional (by fire service definition).

A faulty outlet does not equal an electrical code violation.
 

RimfireJim

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In order to get "specialty" collections (of ANYTHING) insured, you will have to get an appraisal from at least one certified appraiser. This is to establish value for the insurance company.

I have never seen or heard of a professional model rocket appraiser.

Failing that, your other recourse would be to produce a list of receipts showing what you paid for the items and materials to be insured. And you would then be insured for the purchase price, not the replacement value.

In short, I have found no practical means of obtaining insurance for things like model rocket collections.

We seem to be too small of a niche, within a niche, within a niche---
That's pretty much what our insurance agent said when I asked about coverage of our collectibles, most of which aren't as niche (nichey?) as model rockets. I could pay for an appraiser if I wanted to, but the main thing is to document, document, document. Lists, photos, receipts, notes, etc. all stored off-site. This applies not only to collectibles but to all your household goods of value. The test: if you don't care about getting them replaced or compensated for them, don't bother to document them. Otherwise, you bear the burden of proof that they were lost. Don't forget mundane things like clothes, appliances, dishes, etc.

One thing to check on your policy is the "contents" value limit, which may be a fixed amount or a percentage of the real property coverage. Compare that amount with your total estimate of value. And make sure your real property coverage is current - some people who have lived in their houses for a long time have coverage values that are out-of-date and don't discover it until it is too late.
 

Uncrichie

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A fire that has no determined cause is automatically "of suspicious origin". If the investigator(s) in the case in question couldn't determine a probable cause, it is natural, and appropriate, for the insurance company to entertain the idea of arson. BTW, arson can be deliberate or unintentional (by fire service definition).

A faulty outlet does not equal an electrical code violation.
They should try to fight this somehow? Maybe talk to an attorney. I'd hate to see this just be another sad story with no ending.
 

luke strawwalker

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as a marine I learned this lesson the same way. the house I was renting burnt to the ground. it was determined to be the outlet that the refrigerator was plugged into was the cause. as the four of us that shared the house stood in the drive looking at shat was our house we got word that we had a uniform inspection in a week. with nothing but the uniform on our back it was rather devastating and later discovered the insurance company was covered but we were not. further about four years ago the oil tank used for heating oil fell over the fire dept called the EPA I called my insurance company. guess what? yup the insurance company was covered from paying the claim. I was not covered as it is a "waste oil" once it left the oil tank. I do not have much good to say for insurance.
One thing I've learned over the years is that insurance isn't worth the paper it's written on. It's a scheme concocted to collect money, nothing more.

I've had legitimate problems in the past, and gotten nothing, or next to nothing, and had to fight an insurance company for nearly a YEAR to get a measly $2000 they owed me when a teenage girl slammed into the back of my pickup while I was sitting at a redlight. They were refusing to pay me for my truck unless I took it to THEIR shop for repairs, despite me ocwning the truck outright, which is against the law. Then, they wanted to send me a pittance check for my neck doctor bills and force ME to settle with the doctor, instead of them. I finally threatened to sue them for every penny I could possibly get out of them if they didn't pay what they owed, which was the $2000 on my truck and whatever the doctor had been billing them for the past year. They finally got the message.

I've had many other instances, and as far as I'm concerned, the only good insurance agency/company is a dead insurance agency/company. Crooks and thieves, every single one.

Yall have a good one! OL JR :)
 

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