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Thread: Outreach telescope insurance

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    Default Outreach telescope insurance



    In the past couple of years, I've really been stepping up my outreach, both personally and as part of my local astronomy club. This has lead me to start wondering what I would do if something catastrophic happened to my equipment while on one of these public outings.

    So far, I've been extremely lucky, but not without a few close calls. Last summer, I took a telescope to a science fair at an elementary school. I had my 12" dob pointed at the filtered sun (it was a daytime event) and turned my back for just a few seconds to answer a parent's question. I turned back around just in time to hear a loud *snap* as a youngster unsuccessfully tried to use my empty eyepiece rack as a stepladder. With Bryan's help (bladekeeper), I was able to repair the damage very cheaply, but I may not be so lucky next time. My mind imagines a kid picking up a rock and chucking it down my scope tube and smashing my mirror.

    To ease my mind, I've been speaking with my local insurance agent about my telescope outreach. He says my equipment is covered under my homeowner's policy, but since I have a $3000 deductible, it won't really do me much good. He offered to add a rider to my house insurance that would cover the scopes and eyepieces separately with no deductible, but couldn't make a policy until he had an expert appraisal of their individual values.

    Our town doesn't have a telescope shop or even a camera shop, really. The insurance agent suggested I find an antiques appraiser or jewelry appraiser, but I really don't think they'd be able to help me. I did offer to send him new or used quotes from multiple sources and average them into an appraised value, but he said that wasn't good enough for their company.

    Now that I've started thinking about how many things can go wrong at an outreach, I'm getting afraid to do any more sidewalk astronomy until I get everything insured properly. Does anyone have any experience with this? Should I shop around and try to find a different insurance company that will do it without all this fuss, or do you know of a good way to get appraisal documents for used (but far from antique) telescope equipment?
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    Tom Campbell (astro.tomandjul.com)

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    Default Re: Outreach telescope insurance

    The insurance company I use at home just needed copies of receipts and photographs of all equipment.
    I would email or call a few and see what their policy is.
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    Default Re: Outreach telescope insurance

    I've made photos of my equipment and submitted them to my insurance company - they are covered under my homeowner's policy. Just finished having the house re-appraised by a realtor which will impact my premiums (the insurance company has upped the rate) but I needed to do it so that the replacement cost was re-estimated in the event of fire or other catastrophe. And that is a severe risk in the September/October fire season in these parts. Anyway, I'm less worried about the scopes then fire/earthquake. I already have a plan to evacuate my scopes into the SUV if I have sufficient notice of what is coming.
    Michael
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