Has anyone had problems with their house insurance because they bought a piece of machinery? Specifically mills/lathes? Is there a size limit of any kind where the insurance company may begin to take interest as to what you are running in your garage/basement?
This is a huge problem. Insurance companies (at least the ones I have asked) will not insure these or the tools that go with them as a part of home insurance. They will gladly sell you a separate policy that will insure, but these polices are designed for businesses, not the hobbyist. Consequently you end up paying for risks that do not exist and the policies are way too expensive. I haven't given up yet though. What I now must do is a complete accurate inventory complete with photos, new costs, estimated current value and your loss value if different. Have that certified by an adjuster. Then state the risks you wish to be covered for and then ask for a quote. We may very well find that the risk may have to be assumed yourself, because of cost. Anything less will open the door for subjective loss analysis by an adjuster after loss. This is exactly what you must avoid.. Steve
In the US, I'm pretty sure this will vary quite a bit between companies, between states and even in different areas within states. Folks in rural areas will probably be more likely to have large tools covered by default as they would be considered normal for the area.
Beyond that, homeowner's policies cover "personal property", so unless you are operating a business, your tools no matter how large are "personal property". You may have to argue that a metalworking hobby isn't any different than a woodworking hobby or a ceramics hobby, but you should ultimately prevail since your tax records will show your tools aren't part of a business. Insurance companies wouldn't likely argue about covering the loss of a $2,500 table saw, so a $2,500 mill shouldn't be any different.
My policy lists some $120k coverage for "personal property", plus additional coverages for computer equipment and "teleworker" coverage. If we don't count vehicles since they have separate policies, the coverage should be adequate to replace my stuff if it were all destroyed by a tornado or the like. Since the shop is 80' from the house, the chances of a loss on both at the same time is fairly low. The shop building itself should fall under the "dwelling extension" coverage and the $16k there should be enough to replace the 20'x32' building.
All policies have exclusions for "hazardous materials", but the fine print in the exclusions excludes small quantities of such materials that would be considered "normal", which should include the gas can for the mower, paint thinner and the like.
If you are doing work for hire or work to sell with your machines, I suspect your insurance company isn't going to cover your machines from fire or theft if they can find evidence of such.
The exclusions pages are what you need to read. You can also ask your insurance dealer about this and demand your question be answered in writing. If your insurance dealer refuses, time to look for another policy.
Both, really. I cannot see them worrying about a X2 mill (they don't, I discussed it with them). I can see raised eyebrows at a 20x60 lathe in the spare bedroom. I wondered what the general experience was and if there was any sense of a cut-off in these matters. At what point will the machine becomes uninsurable under the ordinary household policy and at what point it might be construed as a hazard to the rest of the dwelling.
Asking the insurance company is not always the best policy.
I know that I am not allowed to weld within 25 feet of the buildings. OTOH I am allowed to solder.
I am not allowed to have a web site - this would make me into a *business*.
Wow, this is funny! I asked about getting just casualty insurance on my machines some years ago. For $25,000 in machine tools, tooling, etc. they wanted fully as much as the entire house and contents for all sorts of casualty situations, including the umbrella policy for persons injured on my property. Needless to say, I didn't buy this insurance. So, would having your own web site on a computer in your home invalidate your homeowner's insurance?
That is the way it was interpreted to me by the broker. Whether it would have invalidated the *whole* policy or just the parts related to the "business" is not clear and I did not pursue it as it was somewhat irrelevant - I wanted all my tools etc. insured which they are now. I was not going to pay an exorbitant price for a business policy to cover what generates a pitiful income if any.
OK, well, I have a web STORE on a web server located in my house, manufacture motion control hardware using the machines in my shop and sell them through the web store. I have a fictitious name registration through the state. So, it is clearly a business, in every way. I even had a part time employee for a while, but moving over to surface mount electronics and getting a pick and place machine got me to where I didn't need him anymore.
I will have to look at my latest policy, and make sure that I don't have a problem. Last time I read through it, it seemed that having a business was not a problem, but the business equipment was not covered above a very small amount that might cover a laptop and a printer.
I have a HUGE TIG welder, but use it so RARELY for the business that it might be considered a hobby machine on that accord.
I have a Bridgeport converted to CNC and a Sheldon 15" lathe, those are the big machines. I also have a 1600 Lb pick and place machine that I was INCREDIBLY lucky to pick up at a very low price, I'd like to get that insured for what it is worth, not what I paid for it. (Humpf, fat chance!)
Well, my insurance is coming up for renewal, I can inquire again and see what is available.
Most of the time you'd do better to put the equivalent of the premiums for said insurance into the "buy the next one" fund, as they are often rather steep, especially for replacement cost (and then they weasel out of replacement cost anyway when you need to file a claim.)
For all the things you can control, do so - ie, fireproofing, alarms, what is stored where (such as flammable liquids, etc) while it "should" save you money on premiums, more importantly it can save you ever having to hire a lawyer to beat what's owed to you out of your insurance company in the first place. Prevention is cheaper than replacement.