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#2672091 - 09/01/17 01:51 PM Piano Insurance - how to determine value?  
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twocats Offline
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Time to revisit piano insurance!

I had asked my insurance agent (with AAA) about insuring my piano when I had purchased my Petrof grand, and after looking into ridiculously expensive riders he suggested keeping it under my personal property coverage-- no need to itemize it. He said that the only difference compared to a rider was that a deductible would apply. [I realize that every insurance company has different policies, and that many people get specialized piano insurance through a different company.]

I just checked back in with him to make sure that all of the above is still true, especially since my current piano is worth far more than the Petrof, and he said that their underwriting hasn't changed. My concern now is more with how they would determine the value of the piano in the case of a catastrophic loss. I have an appraisal from the previous owner's tech at the time of sale, but the value would of course change over time. I asked him if I should get an updated appraisal every year from my tech, but he didn't think that was necessary: "An insurance company will either replace your piano with a like and kind one, or give you a market value financial settlement".

How is market value determined in an insurance settlement, especially when you have an uncommon piano like mine? Would appreciate any insights!


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
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#2672129 - 09/01/17 04:55 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Dear twocats,

I have been recommending Heritage Musical Instrument Insurance for many years. Although they are located near me they serve professional musicians and premium instrument owners worldwide.

They understand musical instruments and they do not treat a piano like any other household good.

Heritage

To be clear, I have no affiliation with this company, but I do highly recommend them.

Good luck,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#2672147 - 09/01/17 06:05 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I have been recommending Heritage Musical Instrument Insurance for many years. Although they are located near me they serve professional musicians and premium instrument owners worldwide.

Rich, thanks for the recommendation! I did see them highly recommended in older threads. However, as the risk of catastrophic damage is low, I don't think it's worth the extra cost if my piano is already covered under my home insurance. I'd just feel a lot better if I understood how insurance companies determine value for uncommon used pianos.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672148 - 09/01/17 06:06 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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My insurance agent (Countrywide) said a piano rider was absolutely necessary. I had to provide the bill of sale, then the agent took lots of pictures. The actual rider was not as expensive as I thought--not nearly as expensive as jewelry riders. Makes sense, a piano probably will not be stolen or lost. You are insuring against disaster.

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#2672153 - 09/01/17 06:20 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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nancyde, looks like it varies per company. My agent has told me multiple times that I don't need to schedule the piano (get a rider).

"Nothing has changed for underwriting purposes as far as needing to schedule your piano as it is going to be covered under the personal property portion of your home policy or your flood insurance policy. Your appraisal will be helpful if a claim ever needs to be made."

If there was any catastrophic damage, I suppose it would be very easy for them to confirm that I do, indeed, own a very expensive piano, whereas jewelry and such might be harder to prove.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672168 - 09/01/17 08:01 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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I always advise people to insure for new replacement value (assuming the make and model is still in production). I believe yours is a Bosendorfer. True, it is more expensive, but when the time comes to do it, there will be no question as to how much. Just get a new one.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
#2672170 - 09/01/17 08:12 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: P W Grey]  
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I always advise people to insure for new replacement value (assuming the make and model is still in production). I believe yours is a Bosendorfer. True, it is more expensive, but when the time comes to do it, there will be no question as to how much. Just get a new one.

In my case, since it's just covered as part of "personal property" it's not being insured for a specific value. Since we have umbrella coverage, our minimum personal property coverage requirement is already much higher than the value of everything we own, so I'm not worried about being underinsured. However, I'm wondering how "fair market value" is typically determined in insurance claims.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672173 - 09/01/17 08:25 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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My experience has been that they will figure out some way to justify giving you as little as possible when the time comes. They are experts (as they should be) at determining these things, and they have mountains of data at their disposal (which you do not). They have no emotional attachment to it (as they shouldn't). They will look at it as "a piano", whereas you look at it as "my piano". Unfortunately there is a difference. Unless you insure it for full replacement value (for which there is no argumentation), you will come out the loser, especially If the piano is more than 20 years old.

You will never win if your opinion is different from theirs. They are in the driver's seat. Don't ask me how I know this.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 09/01/17 08:26 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
#2672191 - 09/01/17 10:20 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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I deal with damaged pianos often. I always advise my clients that their agent, as much as you may trust him/her, has little influence when it comes time to collect on a claim.

I realize there are many ways to write a policy, but as a general rider, unless you are specifying replacement value for all of your possessions you are giving up a lot of control.

One last thing that I believe. When given an option to pay less, an insurance company will attempt to do that.

Cheers,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#2672215 - 09/02/17 01:01 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Allow me to put an exclamation point on the observations made by PW and Rich. With the disclaimer that I don't have personal experience with marking insurance claims over damaged pianos. I have had some experience, however, with people who have totaled my cars (three times!), and practicing law -- though not in the field of insurance claims for damaged personal property. Nor am I anyone's lawyer here; just some guy on the internet. That out of the way...

While I'm sure your insurance agent is a great person who you may even spend Sundays golfing with, I strongly suspect there is a clause somewhere in your WRITTEN policy that says something like "[w]e don't care what our agent promised you orally, the extent of our coverage and liability is limited to what is contained within the four corners of this document." So get a written copy of your policy and study it. That's likely what's going to happen.

As an aside, next time anyone is shopping for insurance ask to see a copy of the written policy BEFORE you buy it. I bet at least one agency will tell you you have to buy the policy before you get a written copy. Though I hope I'm wrong.

As for valuation, you might have a mint, I mean perfect, condition Bosendorfer made in 2016. I wouldn't be surprised if a typical insurance company looked on some piano auctions, and perhaps generally online. Declared there weren't any 2016s of your model, so they compiled a list of three they could find -- a 1901 beater the seller described as excellent; a 1962 basket case the seller described as great condition; and a 1974 formerly flood damaged project of an inept tinker described as "fully restored", and concluded, by averaging the three that your market value is $4,287.

Again, check the written policy. But while the above example may be a little extreme and pessimistic, I'm sure there's a reason some folks sleep better with an agreed value policy. YMMV.

#2672232 - 09/02/17 02:52 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Thanks for all of your thoughts-- currently where I'm at is that my piano is already insured even if they try to lowball the payout in the event of a disaster. I don't think it would be anywhere as drastic as what Agent88 is suggesting though! If I wanted to ensure that I painlessly get the full value, there's the option of a separate policy from Heritage. Going to have to evaluate my risk tolerance...

I found a very interesting thread on Reddit this evening and am planning to video-document everything I own again-- did it a couple of years ago but it's time for a refresh.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672390 - 09/02/17 07:54 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Agent88]  
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Originally Posted by Agent88


As for valuation, you might have a mint, I mean perfect, condition Bosendorfer made in 2016. I wouldn't be surprised if a typical insurance company looked on some piano auctions, and perhaps generally online. Declared there weren't any 2016s of your model, so they compiled a list of three they could find -- a 1901 beater the seller described as excellent; a 1962 basket case the seller described as great condition; and a 1974 formerly flood damaged project of an inept tinker described as "fully restored", and concluded, by averaging the three that your market value is $4,287.

Again, check the written policy. But while the above example may be a little extreme and pessimistic, I'm sure there's a reason some folks sleep better with an agreed value policy. YMMV.


Bösendorfer 170
#2672393 - 09/02/17 08:04 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Thank you, I hadn't realized that is how an insurance carrier may value a piano as you discuss.

Bösendorfer's for example have many options available within the same model. These include several types of expensive veneers (on the inside of the casing for example), and several exterior finishes that vary widely in price. These options could significantly affect a Bösendor's valuation. Other manufacturers probably have options.

I would hope the claims adjuster would take the cost of the options into consideration!

Steve
Bösendorfer 170


Bösendorfer 170
#2672408 - 09/02/17 08:53 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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This comment may not be specific to insuring a piano, or filing a claim for damage or loss, but a co-worker and friend just lost his home due to a fire, and is having difficulty with the insurance company because he owned some valuable old antiques he and his wife had acquired over the years.

Also, he said he had to document every single item they lost in the fire, and come up with an estimated value of the item. Of course, it is difficult to place a value on an old antique. I would imagine most of the folks who take their family heirloom antique to the Antiques Road Show, and have it appraised by a professional, on TV, rarely sell their antique for what it appraises for... perhaps some do.

Hopefully, if an individual were to be so unfortunate as to lose their piano in a fire, flood, or tornado, the insurance company would treat them fairly. The thing about insurance companies is that they look after their company's best interest more so than the insured's best interest. Capitalism at its best...

Good luck.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2672434 - 09/03/17 02:43 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Rick, so sorry to hear of your friend's loss. If you read the Reddit thread, they recommend that you hire a reputable public adjuster to advocate and help to come up with the list of items. The key is "reputable" as apparently one can get a certification in a day! I think the key for antiques is proving the value of similar items, which can be quite challenging.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672610 - 09/03/17 08:45 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Twocats,

Have you actually read through your entire policy lately? If not I suggest you do. Forget ANYTHING you may have been told by anyone anywhere. Read EXACTLY what it says and look up any "legalese" terms you don't clearly understand and make the translation. I have had some experience here and know that whatever you were "told" by anyone is absolutely IRRELEVANT! What matters is (as was mentioned) what is WRITTEN in the document and nothing else. AND on top of that, if there is to be any INTERPRETATION of the written document it will be the interpretation of the writer if the document, not yours. You have zero input (sorry to say).

This is not pessimism...but REALITY. If you question anything at the time (of unfortunate events) they will point to the phrase(s) that legally support their position (which is why it is there in writing...for THEM not you). They outweigh you legally many times over. You cannot win...unless you pay for total new identical replacement value (or closest possible current production model).

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
(Best way to contact me privately)
#2672641 - 09/03/17 11:25 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: P W Grey]  
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PWG, you're absolutely right. I went and dug around in my papers but I can't find the actual policy, just the coverage and addendums. Will ask my agent to send it to me.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672850 - 09/04/17 09:43 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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In my inexpert opinion, if you have a very expensive piano you should have it insured either on a separate policy or specifically listed and covered (scheduled) in your homeowner's policy. This is true of art and antiques as well, by the way.

Insuring pianos is not that expensive, as was pointed out earlier, because a thief is very unlikely to steal your piano. Jewelry is very expensive to insure because people wear it and lose it, or have stones fall out of it, etc. Unlike pianos, jewelry is not always in one place.

I don't care what your agent tells you, in my opinion if you want to collect the full value of your piano in the event of catastrophe, you should have it separately listed and insured. As was also pointed out earlier, insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims, and separate coverage for your piano will avoid a multitude of hassles should catastrophe occur.

I am not sure why you are so reluctant to do this. Getting a letter stating its value from your piano dealer and getting it covered is not a big hassle. Even if the piano is valuable, the insurance will not be expensive, and should clearly be affordable for you.

As far as I can tell, every single person, expert (like some of the dealers) and inexpert (like me) who has responded to you has told you to get separate insurance or coverage for your piano. I am not sure why you are so resistant, but there we are.

#2672857 - 09/04/17 10:12 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Rank Piano Amateur]  
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Originally Posted by Rank Piano Amateur
I don't care what your agent tells you, in my opinion if you want to collect the full value of your piano in the event of catastrophe, you should have it separately listed and insured. As was also pointed out earlier, insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims, and separate coverage for your piano will avoid a multitude of hassles should catastrophe occur.

I am not sure why you are so reluctant to do this. Getting a letter stating its value from your piano dealer and getting it covered is not a big hassle. Even if the piano is valuable, the insurance will not be expensive, and should clearly be affordable for you.

As far as I can tell, every single person, expert (like some of the dealers) and inexpert (like me) who has responded to you has told you to get separate insurance or coverage for your piano. I am not sure why you are so resistant, but there we are.

Because a catastrophe is very unlikely. I'm already paying separately for flood and earthquake insurance because I've decided that it's worth it for peace of mind-- if we didn't have it, we'd have zero coverage for our home and possessions if a flood or earthquake causes damage. And if the piano is already covered by my existing insurance (even if I don't end up getting paid the full value), maybe that's a risk I'm willing to take.

From an older thread, at that time Heritage charged $350/year for $100k coverage, not sure if it's gone up now. Yes, I can afford that, but I'm not made of money. Over ten years, that amount could buy me a set of new hammers.

I've asked my agent for a PDF of my policy and will read through it to make sure that it doesn't have to be scheduled. If it turns out that it's not automatically covered, I plan to purchase separate insurance.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2672953 - 09/05/17 12:55 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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I have State Farm homeowners insurance. The policy is for "replacement value" of
the contents of my home. My policy does have a nominal face value, but that
nominal value is not the maximum limit...the limit is what it takes to replace a loss.

When I bought my Steinway, State Farm said that this would still be covered simply
as part of the contents of my home. There was no need to separately itemize it.
I did go ahead and increase the policy's nominal face value.

As for how to estimate loss... Steinway & Sons (the company, not the dealer)
will issue at no charge a "To whom it may concern" letter, which states the
replacement value of an equivalent new version of whatever Steinway piano you
have. Although my piano is a vintage one, it had just been restored, thus it was
effectively brand new and that is the basis from which the insurance company
valued it. My expectation should a fire occur and destroy my pride and joy,
State Farm is on the hook to replace it with an equivalent instrument.

John


1922 Steinway Model O
#2672961 - 09/05/17 01:23 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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I talked to my agent, and he forwarded me the original note from the underwriter suggesting that the best thing for the client (me) would be to increase my coverage limits if needed, as scheduling only reduces the deductible from $1000 to $250 and adds coverage for the peril of Mysterious Disappearance. If my piano should go missing, that would be mysterious indeed!

And at my request, he sent me the PDF of my policy documents, which turns out to be exactly what I already have at home. It's pretty much blanket coverage with pages for exclusions such as liability for dog bites and damage caused by mold.

They've been good to me thus far, and my agent is proud that his company takes good care of their clients. The one time I had to make a claim when my Corolla was totalled, they gave me a couple thousand more than I had expected (though I was not at fault, so they did get the money back from the other party's insurance). I feel comfortable not paying for separate coverage. If a catastrophe should occur, I'll be hiring a public adjuster to advocate for me and determine fair market value for everything I own, in return for a cut of the payout.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2674902 - 09/13/17 04:28 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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All is well that ends well, twocats. Let's hope you never need to use your insurance. Your piano is one of the most beautiful that Bösendorfer offers, IMHO.

Cheers.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#2674936 - 09/13/17 09:34 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
All is well that ends well, twocats. Let's hope you never need to use your insurance. Your piano is one of the most beautiful that Bösendorfer offers, IMHO.

Thanks Rich. Agree with all of your sentiments smile


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2674951 - 09/13/17 10:40 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: jcgee88]  
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Originally Posted by jcgee88
When I bought my Steinway, State Farm said that this would still be covered simply
as part of the contents of my home. There was no need to separately itemize it.
I did go ahead and increase the policy's nominal face value.


Same here (except Knabe instead of Steinway), State Farm, my agent suggested increasing the value, which we did.

If you have a large difference of opinion on the value at the time of a claim -- you say $100k, they say $4k -- there are lawyers who specialize in such cases. Tell the insurance company that you disagree, and go look for one.


-- J.S.

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#2674966 - 09/13/17 11:13 AM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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As a 3rd-generation piano dealer and the lead appraiser for Piano Buyer's Seller Advisory Service,I deal with insurance claims relatively often.

Without going into details I strongly suggest that you get the most reasonably price Replacement Value insurance on your piano. I have only very rarely had a problem with claims under replacement value policies.

In those cases where the insured has a general policy the insurance company will often low-ball the claim.


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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#2675000 - 09/13/17 01:23 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
As a 3rd-generation piano dealer and the lead appraiser for Piano Buyer's Seller Advisory Service,I deal with insurance claims relatively often.

Without going into details I strongly suggest that you get the most reasonably price Replacement Value insurance on your piano. I have only very rarely had a problem with claims under replacement value policies.

In those cases where the insured has a general policy the insurance company will often low-ball the claim.


Hi Steve
If you don't mind a question about replacement value? If we have a preowned piano that was bought for Xxx, is the replacement value for like price and age, or should it be based on replacement with a new piano of that same make and model? In my particular case, I bought a vintage grand at an outstanding price which would be a small fraction of the price of like new


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
#2675003 - 09/13/17 01:27 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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Steve Cohen Offline
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Steve Cohen  Offline
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Generally, replacement value is the cost of the same model or the most similar model, NEW. Not used nor depreciated.

Individual policies may vary, but that is the general rule.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#2675006 - 09/13/17 01:41 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: Steve Cohen]  
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dogperson Offline
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Florida
Thanks so much Steve for the information


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
#2675008 - 09/13/17 01:56 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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twocats Offline
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Portland, OR
I just checked my homeowner's insurance again and I'm only paying an extra $50/year for replacement cost coverage. I remember my agent telling me a long time ago that it's worth getting because you get a new replacement of the item.

PERS PROP REPLACEMENT COST COV $49


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
#2675014 - 09/13/17 02:35 PM Re: Piano Insurance - how to determine value? [Re: twocats]  
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twocats Offline
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And thanks Steve for chiming in! That answers my initial market value question if my coverage is for replacement value.


2001 Petrof 125 -> 2002 Petrof IV -> 1999 Bosendorfer 225 (meow!) 🐱
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