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Reloading:Ensure You’re Insured

Reloading:Ensure You’re Insured

The demand for my household contents insurance arrived a few weeks ago. Rather than simply accepting the details listed on the renewal, I rashly decided to compile a total contents valuation. Working room by room through the house, as well as my workshops and garage, I arrived at a grand total. Taking account of single item household valuations for jewellery (wife’s), firearms (mine), the vinyl record collection (both) and a few other specifics, as well as all the usual contents, the total was huge. Scary stuff, the figure was almost twice what we had been paying for. I called our broker and went through my valuation. She seemed totally unfazed by my revelations. ‘You and most other people’ was the distilled version of her response. Even worse, she then explained that my policy had a MAX valuation limit of £3000 for the contents of each outbuilding. I was stunned. Just one of my Cannondale bikes cost that much! And in the workshop, the reloading presses alone blew that figure out of the water. Time to regroup.

Are all your possessions covered?

It seems that most, if not all regular insurance companies assume that we don’t own ‘machinery’ with which we make stuff. Furthermore, they assume that we all ride bikes that cost less than £250, as that’s the most many of them will cover by default. Indeed, unless you’ve declared the individual value of your carbon racers or trick golf bats, it seems that they may actually be excluded! Thereafter, you pay up to a stunning 10% of the value of the bike or bikes per annum. Including third party liability that would put my annual pedal power premium ALONE at well over £1200! Sod that, they now share the lounge, study and dining room with us.

What about my reloading workshop? I asked. She sucked through her teeth. We need a specific policy she said. My wife owns kitchen machinery and makes food stuff I argued. Nope, for the purposes of adequate insurance, it seems that I now own a ‘hobby’ factory! The detailed inventory had to be submitted to an underwriter for valuation – not that they would have understood much, if any of it! I now have the value of my reloading workshop contents covered for an eye watering premium. It was made clear that I should retain all my invoices (which I do) and keep a photo record of the equipment (which I will start). Surfing the web, I discovered that around a third of UK sheds house specialist tools and equipment, with 7% being the subject of a hobby; so, perhaps all their owners are uninsured? The experience started a new train of thought.

Going home?

I wondered, what would be the smallest budget that would provide me with the minimum kit required to do all my current handloading activities within the confines of the house? Would it fit into a cupboard? Could I get by with just a small workbench or a Workmate in the corner of a spare room? I started a list;-

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Manuals must include data that spans my diverse range of bullets and propellants, that means at least half a dozen printed examples. Some others are available as Interweb freebies but the Lee II, Lyman, Hornady 10, Barnes, Hodgdon, Speer, Sierra, ATK, Lapua and others are essential. That’s at least £200 for starters! Primary case prep must include a trimmer with pilots, tumbler and ultrasonic cleaner with media; a minimum of £315. One press that could span all my needs would have to be something like an Ultramag at £370. Dies are a real issue; I load over 30 calibres, so the budget will exceed £2000, including shellholders. Priming demands at least a primer pocket prep kit and a Lee AutoPrime with lots of shellholders for £200. (I’m ignoring the special needs of .50 BMG!).

Powder handling will include a trickler, measure and scales for at least £160. Cheapest chronograph will be around £150. Not for use in the spare room, bullet casting sizing and lubing from ProMelt to moulds, dipper and PPE adds up to £820.

And finally, odds and sods must include a vernier calliper, micrometres, case lube & pad, deburr tool, reloading trays, funnels, kinetic bullet puller, MTM ammo boxes, neck turning kit, general PPE and scale weight check kit for about £450. That’s about £5k to include a Workmate and sturdy cupboard! And then there are the consumables. About a third of the current inventory and leaving an empty building and a potentially significant insurance reduction. Must talk to the wife!

My surfing results probably apply to many of you, so here they are:-

UK shed contents In Gocompare.com’s survey, the contents of the nation’s sheds were broken down as follows:

  • Specialist tools and equipment (33%)
  • Expensive garden equipment (28%)
  • Expensive lawnmower (23%)
  • Bicycles (22%)
  • Fridge or freezer (11%)
  • Gym or sports equipment (5%)
  • TV or audio equipment (4%)
  • Expensive furniture (3%)
  • IT equipment, laptops or PCs (2%)
  • Musical instruments (2%)
  • Motorbike (2%)
  • A treasured collection (2%)

Did you know…?

  • 7% of men used their sheds to carry out a hobby, but just 3% of women
  • 3% of those surveyed saw their sheds as ‘man caves’
  • 5% head for the shed when they ‘just want to be alone’

It’s your loss!

What’s the moral of this piece? Money. Or rather, the risk of losing a lot of it. Whilst the extent, value and location of my reloading kit was at the centre of this article, the lessons apply to rather a lot of us. I have many friends and contacts who have sheds in which they have plant and equipment for a multitude of purposes, from carpentry and metalworking, to kart and car restoration. I’ll bet that most of them are not fully covered. Read the small print and then the even smaller print in your policy; as you may not have the cover you thought you did. Regular readers will know of my contempt for insurance companies. I regard them as flaky bookmakers, who find any excuse to fiddle the odds. Break out the magnifying glass and get reading. And finally, consider using a real broker rather than relying on a ‘one size fits (screws) all’ application form on the Interweb.