Re: Collection appraisal for insurance

Jim Scholtz (
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 12:17:43 -0700 (PDT)

Hi - here's my experience with insurance for AV collections - specifically
video -

first, you must ask your insurance carrier if they are figuring for
depreciation or for replacement value at the time of loss. Replacement
value insurance is more expensive and that is the type that our city
purchased. For books as well as AV materials. This policy does not cover
replacement for a video title no longer available in video but available in
a differenet format. At our library system, we actually got to use this
policy as we had extensive water damage - we had 16mm films also. To our
dismay, many titles were actually much less expensive than when originally
purchased - even independent, public performance titles! Depreciation is
pretty hard to measure - you can use time and circulation. At another
library where I was AV Dept. Head, we instituted a depreciated damage/lost
replacement policy based on circulation (1983-86 that was when videos were
sooo outrageously priced) but this formula had no actuary basis. As far as
I know, no one uses a depreciated value for insuring a book collection;
there should be now difference in insuring AV materials. Basically, we are
saying that the item was good enough to be selected for our collection once
and it should be repurchased at point of loss. Check to see how your
library's book collection is insured - For exact value, for budget divided
by number of books purchased during the year, yearly ave. of cost (kept
yearly - then you would have to know exactly how many volumes you purchased
in specific years).
I would insure for exact cost determinable by adding all shelflist $$$
together - reporting total $$ and number of titles/volumes and updating
this figure on a quarterly basis to keep your insurance current.
Hope this helps. Jim Scholtz, Yankton Community Library.

At 08:51 AM 6/14/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear Videolibbers,
>What has been your experience in collection appraisal for insurance
>purposes? My institution is asking that everything from armchairs to videos
>be inventoried and appraised. There are a number of questions I have about
>this process which I will address to the appropriate persons on my end, but
>was hoping that some of you may have gone through a similar process and
>have some advice.
>The issues that concern me relate to replacement cost and depreciated
>values. Clearly any item (from computer to telephone) depreciates in value
>with use (unless it becomes a collector's item and that's another
>headache)and 5 years tends to be the standard time for depreciation. But
>does that apply to media collections? A $100 media item used continuously
>may be "worth" $2 after just 2 years because it has been rendered
>unwatchable, but if it is not heavily used, it may be "worth" $75 (or even
>$175) after 10 years, assuming it was properly housed. However, if this
>same item were lost or stolen, how much would it cost to replace it? Well,
>if it's still in print and distributed, the bets are that it will be the
>same as the original cost or less, depending on format, but if it's out of
>print, we're in the stratosphere.
>It's easy to say that an average replacement value should be x for videos,
>y for laserdiscs, z for DVDs etc, when in fact, if you lose your entire
>laserdisc collection, for instance, you may have to pay up to 10 times y
>for those titles not found in another format and only available on the used
>market. If it's specific educational titles on film or video, chances are
>they cannot be found on the used market and CANNOT be replaced at all.
>Any thoughts?
>Oksana Dykyj voice: 514-848-3443
>Head, Visual Media Resources fax: 514-848-3441
>Instructional & Information Technology Services
>Concordia University
>H-342, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W,
>Montreal, Quebec
>Canada H3G 1M8