Sports Memorabilia Insurance: A Guide for Collectors

Sports memorabilia are hot ticket items and collectibles. Memorabilia of true legends in their sport increase in value over time. A Mickey Mantle baseball card in pristine condition can sell for more than $10 million. In 2020, a 110-year-old photo of legendary baseball player Ty Cobb sold for $390,000. And, in February 2024, Sotheby’s fetched a record $8 million for a collection of sneakers Michael Jordan wore as he and the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships back in the 1990s.

The market for sports memorabilia took off during COVID. It’s a nostalgic collectible for passionate collectors who grew up and understand collecting cards. While trading cards are the backbone of sports collectibles, other memorabilia include hats and caps, jerseys, balls, bats, vintage photos, prints and posters, autograph cards, and sneakers. Auction houses like Robert Edward, Heritage, Lelands, and even eBay routinely facilitate trades of sports images for tens of thousands of dollars each.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what sports memorabilia insurance covers, who needs it, what it can cost, and why you would benefit from partnering with Distinguished when selling insurance to sports memorabilia aficionados. Let’s get started!

Insuring Sports Memorabilia with Distinguished Programs: Cover the Bases

Collectibles aren’t just about being old, rare, or expensive. It’s also about the items’ stories, history, or sentimental value. Working with specialists who understand what it means to be a collector is important when insuring these prized items. That’s where Distinguished Programs comes in. We offer you and your clients years of experience and expertise in the collectibles industry. Our team is passionate about what your clients collect and is ready to go the extra mile to ensure their sports memorabilia gets the necessary coverage. 

Our Private Collectible insurance program for sports memorabilia provides the right mix of coverages to protect your clients’ collections against the following hazards:

  • Accidental Breakage and Damage, Including During Transit
  • Fire, Smoke
  • Natural Disasters (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes)
  • Theft
  • Water Damage
  • Mischief

Our specialty policy will cover the loss if a trading card is lost in the mail. We offer worldwide protection for the insured item. We can write coverage on a schedule basis, determining the values based on the purchase price or appraisals. We also offer coverage on a blanket basis. For blanket limits, we’ll typically assign the current market value to those items at the time of loss, with a maximum per-item limit.

We will look at how the memorabilia is stored and inventoried during our underwriting process. Some insureds will store their trading cards in safety boxes or bank vaults because they are small, fragile, and high-value. Some companies provide vaults for trading cards, emphasizing the importance of having insurance for baseball cards.

Isn’t Homeowners or Renters Insurance Good Enough to Cover Sports Memorabilia?

Homeowners insurance would cover an insured up to the amount of the contents coverage only. If there is a total loss, this may not be adequate when you include all the items lost or damaged in the home due to a covered loss. Renters insurance typically does not provide high-value coverage for contents. Our policy limits are up to $100 million for a single risk. We can write collections of both small and large sports memorabilia.

We offer broader coverage, including agreed-value protection. We offer a low or no deductible with our program, unlike what will be available with a homeowners policy. There is also automatic coverage for newly acquired property.

Clients benefit from specialized claims service, with adjusters knowledgeable about the sports memorabilia market.

In addition, today’s homeowners market is challenging in many areas across the country, with many homeowners carriers exiting or scaling back their appetite in catastrophe-prone areas. As sports memorabilia tends to be small and portable, most individuals will pack up their collections and leave with them if there is a hurricane warning. This allows us to be more flexible and provide our stand-alone collectibles policy, including sports collectibles insurance, in areas where individuals are struggling to get homeowners coverage in the standard market. You are spreading the risk by having separate policies – one for the home and another for sports memorabilia through a niche provider like Distinguished.

If there is a claim with our Private Collectibles program, the insured’s homeowners policy will not be impacted by the loss.

What Is the Cost of Sports Memorabilia Insurance?

Various factors go into the cost of insurance for sports memorabilia, including:

  • Type of Collection
  • Size, Scope, Value
  • Hazards
  • Coverage Amount
  • Deductible

Get Started with Distinguished Today 

To access our insurance program for sports memorabilia, just register with us and then fill in and submit an application form. With the application, please try to include a schedule of covered property and any appraisals or invoices that you may have.

If you have specific questions about our policies, please feel free to reach out to our support team or explore our Private Collection Insurance program page for more details. 

About Distinguished Programs

Distinguished Programs is a leading national insurance Program Manager providing specialized insurance programs to brokers and agents with specific expertise in Fine Art and Collectibles, Environmental and Construction Professional, Executive Lines, Inland Marine, Real Estate & Builder’s Risk, Community Associations, Hotels, and Restaurants. Property and Liability products are distributed through a national network of agents and brokers. Serving the same core markets and partnering with the most stable and reputable carriers, Distinguished’s high-limit Umbrella programs remain the clear choice in its area of specialty for superior coverage, competitive pricing, and attentive service. Through thoughtful innovation, stemming back to 1995, Distinguished Programs fosters growth and opportunities for its brokers, carriers, and employees.

View a full list of our programs and submit business with Distinguished.

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