One simple question at the beginning: Did you get your record collection insured? Especially in these times when even new limited edition releases are offered for three-digit sums on Discogs, it can quickly acquire a considerable value. I am aware that no one can replace the sentimental value, the years of work and the search for that sought-after LPs at markets and stores. Not even a financial compensation in form of an insurance. But imagine if your record collection gets destroyed or stolen, and you are left completely empty-handed financially… a nightmare!
More than 8,000 vinyl records destroyed
After recently reporting on the theft of an immensely valuable record collection, this article is about a completely destroyed record collection. The unfortunate person in this case is Paul Pledger from the county of Surrey in England. Over 40 years ago (in 1979 to be exact), he received his first record player along with his first single. Since then, he was hooked. Not only did he work in record stores for 35 years, but he continuously expanded his collection to a total of nearly 8,000 vinyl records, along with thousands of CDs and books. During a fire on Ascension Day all of these items were destroyed.
Paul had stored his collection in a self-storage unit in Byfleet. For me, it’s an absolute nightmare not being able to keep the records at home in one’s own four walls, but rather at a location with limited access. The reason why Paul Pledger had to store his records in Byfleet was due to a move in 2012 when he relocated from an apartment in London to a smaller house in Surrey, where there simply wasn’t enough space.
Vinyl recording of his own mother falls victim to flames
The self-storage unit has been completely destroyed by the major fire, along with numerous rooms containing the stored belongings of the tenants. Paul writes on a dedicated fundraising page, where £2,360 out of the £3,000 goal has been raised so far: “I have lost valuable box-sets and far less valuable dance, disco and reggae singles that were personal favourites, along with my XTC, Factory, 4AD, Crepuscule, Greensleeves, New Order, Magazine, Durutti Column, Talk talk etc etc. It’s only stuff. But it was my stuff and it cost a small fortune over the years. The picture doesn’t show the true extent of the collection (basically 20 boxes of CDs and 8 full racks of 12″ and rack and a half of 7″. ” He estimates the value of his collection to be nearly £100,000!
The sad irony is that he was planning to move his collection closer to his current home in Surrey in the coming months. What’s particularly heartbreaking is that he lost a recording of his late mum in the flames. She had it pressed on vinyl at the Southend Pier in the late 1940s. No insurance in the world will be able to bring back that memory for him.
How do I insure my record collection?
To insure your record collection, the most straightforward and sensible option is to include it in your home contents insurance. Home contents insurance typically provides coverage against risks such as fire, water damage, burglary, theft, vandalism or natural disasters. If you have more than a handful of records in your living room, it is worth considering contacting your insurance company to discuss the inclusion of your collection.
I will address the topic of “insurance” in a separate article in the Vinyl Guide in the near future. Until then, I hope that your record collection remains intact and that you never have to file a claim with your insurance company.